An article in Buzzfeed yesterday takes Twitter to task for failing to come up with a technological solution to prevent people who didn't like the new Ghostbusters movie from sharing their thoughts and ideas on the Internets.
It claims that their alleged harassment problem is the reason they never came up with a very good way to make money and their stock is now in the toilet.
But I'm actually more concerned with the parts in which it's revealed that Twitter has been secretly censoring people for years—just as I suspected.
For example, we learn that when President Obama was brought in to do a Reddit AMA-style Q&A, Twitter's CEO secretly ordered his staff to filter any @replies that contained abusive language. Neither the president nor the site's users were informed that this was being done.
A few years ago, when Robin Williams took the easy way out, his adult daughter Zelda Williams made a big show of deleting her account, because her mentions were filled with ostensibly humorous images making fun of her dead father.
After this happened and was all over the news, Hollywood agents contacted Twitter and threatened to have all of their clients delete their accounts if something wasn't done about the site's alleged harassment problem. At that point, Twitter's CEO ordered his staff to go through and delete the accounts of the people tweeting at Zelda Williams, while at the same time touting the company's commitment to freedom of speech, calling themselves "the free speech wing of the free speech party."
Gawker attempted to present itself as a bastion of free speech while at the same time trying to get people fired from their jobs for race humor on—wouldn't you know—Twitter that was taken out of context, and look how well that turned out for them. The company is being wrenched from founder Nick Denton's cold, gay hands as we speak.
The Buzzfeed article begins with the story of Ariel Waldman, who received several mean @replies in 2007 and is still recovering. A somewhat prominent member of the tech community, she contacted Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey personally, and it's said that he had the tweets of the people supposedly harassing her removed from the public timeline—which sounds to me like shadow-banning.
Shadow-banning, the name of which comes from a particularly cruel way of kicking someone out of an online forum, is when they make it so that your followers don't actually see half the shit you tweet. Your engagement goes way down, and hopefully you just leave. Meanwhile, the asinine tweets of social justice warriors and soi-disant "thinkfluencers" are heavily promoted via push notifications and their Highlights and Moments features.
It's long been suspected by various MRAs, members of Gamergate, alt-right racists and what have you that this was going on, but up until just now you would have been dismissed as a fool and a conspiracy theorist for claiming that it was. Now who's the fool?