Published June 28, 2019
By Molly Chan
On June 18, 2019, Civilian Intelligence Network (CIN) published an article about the Aga Khan’s grip on Canada and the importance of stopping him from continuing to push his Mughal ideals on the Canadian public (1). In one of the first tweets promoting the article, CIN got a huge, obvious shadowban right off the bat! Twitter removed the only conversation from the tweet! This is a blatant display of their shadowbanning practices and can be used as an example of what Twitter is continuing to do today to stifle free speech.
First of all, what is shadowbanning? Basically, it means that someone or something is censoring you and trying to be sneaky about it. President Donald Trump shone a light on shadowbanning in 2018, when he claimed that Republicans were getting shadowbanned on Twitter (2). Twitter tried to pretend that only having search boxes not auto-completing was the only problem that they “fixed overnight.” Was it really fixed overnight, and was it just search boxes that were affected? Their statement sure does not sound very re-assuring!
Twitter began addressing “healthy public conversation” through a variety of changes earlier this year, he said. “In May (2018), we started using behavioral signals and machine learning to reduce people’s ability to detract from healthy public conversation on Twitter.” Essentially, Twitter is trying to employ user data to make Twitter more usable for people, with this glitch an unintended consequence.
Unintended? Yeah right! “Healthy public conversation?” According to whom? And we actually believe that this is only happening to “verified accounts with more than 100K followers?” Anyone who actually trusts what Twitter says needs a serious wake-up call. That’s right folks, in case you didn’t know, you are not allowed to decide what your own interests or opinions are! Instead, Twitter has us covered with their ongoing “conversational health work (3).”
Many Twitter users from smaller accounts have noticed their tweets were disappearing from conversations over the last year. People who noticed this were adding the letter “X” to their account names, to warn people that their tweets are often censored (4).
It appears that not much has changed since 2018. On July 27, 2019, an article by Sara Carter was released detailing how Twitter is using almost the exact same language today to explain what they are doing to “protect the health of public conversation (5).”
In regards to the conversation on the CIN’s tweet, what was the reason for removing the entire conversation? Was it because one tweet mentioned “crushing” the Aga Khan? One look at the context shows that it’s in response to a tweet referring to crushing in a political sense. Also, it is not a call to any sort of violence and is in fact, only a question. Here is the dialogue that was censored:
The original tweet shows these replies no longer exist in the thread, and even seem to change whether someone is logged into twitter or not! However, keeping in line with the idea of a shadowban, the people in the conversation can still see it if they look on their own timeline. All seems fine from there, so people might assume everything is okay. Meanwhile more voices in the world have been shut down.