Last week, Twitter garnered outrage when it was accused of instituting a “shadow ban” of conservatives using the popular social media website.
A “shadow ban” involves blocking a website account such that the account’s content is not readily available to others on a website. The user is unaware that their content is blocked.
For their part, Twitter released a statement last Thursday denying that they had shadow banned conservatives or Republicans, explaining that they “rank tweets and search results” in order to make the site “immediately relevant.” They also seek to “address bad-faith actors who intend to manipulate or detract from healthy conversation.”
“[On Wednesday], we identified an issue where some accounts weren’t auto-suggested in search even when people were searching for their specific name. To be clear, this only impacted our search auto-suggestions,” stated Twitter.
“The accounts, their tweets and surrounding conversation about those accounts were showing up in search results. As of [Wednesday] afternoon, this issue was resolved.”
In recent years, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube have been accused of censoring or otherwise harassing conservative groups and individuals who use their sites.
Such concerns were even mentioned on Capitol Hill. In April, Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas grilled Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about the issue during a meeting of the Senate committees on Commerce and Judiciary.
“Mr. Zuckerberg, I will say there are a great many Americans who I think are deeply concerned that that Facebook and other tech companies are engaged in a pervasive pattern of bias and political censorship,” stated Cruz.
Zuckerberg responded that he understood those concerns, acknowledging that the information technology industry of Silicon Valley “is an extremely left-leaning place.”
“This is actually a concern that I have and that I try to root out in the company, is making sure that we do not have any bias in the work that we do, and I think it is a fair concern that people would at least wonder about,” replied Zuckerberg.
Here are seven times when social media outlets including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube appeared to censor conservative groups due to ideological bias.
A Pastor Critical of the Pride Rainbow on Facebook
In July 2017, Pastor Rich Penkoski, who oversaw the popular “Warriors for Christ” Facebook Page, had his personal account suspended for posting a live video sermon criticizing the Pride rainbow.
In an interview with The Christian Post last year, Penkoski explained that his account was suspended as he was “doing a live sermon.”
“I was preaching about how the pride rainbow could be the mark of the beast and how Mark Zuckerburg wanted to have Facebook replace the church,” recalled Penkoski.
“Within 1 minute I was kicked off my live video and had to log back in. I received a notice that my live video was removed for violating Facebook Terms of Service.”
Penkoski also told CP last summer that “I get banned all the time,” including for “calling an atheist a liar” and “showing photos of Quranic verses about killing infidels.”
Several Catholic Pages on Facebook
In July 2017, Facebook blocked nearly two dozen Roman Catholic pages that had millions of followers without an official explanation.
Most of the Catholic pages were based in Brazil, with a few that were English-speaking. One page, called “Jesus and Mary,” had approximately 1.7 million followers. Another, called “Catholic and Proud,” had about 6 million.
“Let’s hope people of faith stand alongside the Catholics as they try to persuade Mark Zuckerberg to reinstate their pages,” commented conservative pundit Todd Starnes at the time. “… because one day — Facebook might shut down the Baptist pages or the Lutheran pages.”
Soon after, Facebook reinstated the Catholic pages, saying in a statement that they were removed when their spam detection system was “triggered accidentally.”
Activist Mommy Accounts on Twitter, Facebook
In Aug. 2017, conservative activist Grace Elizabeth Johnston, commonly known as the “Activist Mommy,” had her Twitter account suspended after she criticized a Teen Vogue editor who approved of publishing an article that encouraged youth to have anal sex.
In a tweet posted Aug. 16 of last year, Johnston sarcastically congratulated Teen Vogue digital editor Philip Bicardi for getting an award from a gay magazine for his promotion of anal sex among children.
According to Twitter, Johnston’s account was suspended because the tweet violated its user “rules,” which forbid harassment and abuse.
“Of course, actual videos of children being abused can be found on Twitter. But calling out an editor for promoting teen sodomy is worth a suspension?” posted Johnston on her website in response.
This is not the only time Johnston has had to deal with social troubles, for in Feb. 2017, Facebook froze her account for several days because of comments she had made about homosexuality.
“It would be one thing if Facebook said, ‘We’re liberals. This is our page and we can do whatever we want. It’s our property.’ I would appreciate that at least they were being honest and transparent,” said Johnston to The Christian Post at the time.
“But no, they lie and say ‘we’re unbiased.’ But when Christians report nudity or pictures of Donald Trump assassinated with a bullet through his head, we get responses that say, ‘This does not violate Facebook’s community guidelines’ and the post remains.'”
By contrast, when January Johnston complained about a Facebook group threatening to burn her alive, the social media site replied to her that the group did not violate their standards.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Michael Gryboski