President Donald Trump is right that social media companies have been targeting conservatives. Twitter, in particular, has been engaging in a relentless attack on the American political process by censoring conservatives.
Now that has escalated to fact-checking the president nearly five months from a presidential election.
The Media Research Center released a report in 2018, which found that Twitter led in censoring the right. That hasn’t changed. Project Veritas caught Twitter with hidden camera interviews admitting the process of shadow banning — which means content is hidden from users without the poster ever knowing it. One engineer admitted that accounts were flagged as bots simply by searching for words such as “America” and “God.” Twitter’s rules have been influenced by liberal think tanks like the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center. Since then, Twitter has gotten worse.
Here are some examples:
What Twitter Has Done to Trump:
A tweet from the president that discussed mail-in ballots was labeled as an “unsubstantiated claim” by Twitter. When Trump tweeted, “There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-In Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent,” a bright blue sentence was added by the social media platform at the bottom of the tweet. The link said, “Get the facts about mail-in ballots.” The label led to a Twitter Events page, which said, “Trump makes unsubstantiated claim that mail-in ballots will lead to voter fraud.”
The statement continued, “These claims are unsubstantiated, according to CNN, Washington Post and others. Experts say mail-in ballots are very rarely linked to voter fraud.”
“From their bogus ‘fact check’ of @realDonaldTrump to their ‘head of site integrity’ displaying his clear hatred towards Republicans, Twitter’s blatant bias has gone too far,” tweeted Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel. She linked to The New York Times article headlined “Error and Fraud at Issue as Absentee Voting Rises.”
Twitter’s warning and interstitial, or filter, used to keep viewers from unknowingly seeing inappropriate videos was applied to a Trump campaign pro-life promo. Following Trump’s speech at the March for Life, his pro-life campaign video appeared to have been given an erroneous label/restriction by Twitter. The label was removed soon after Twitter admitted the error.
- No enforcement of policy for Democrats
The bias against Trump has become so egregious that even The Hill and The Washington Post are calling it out. “According to emails reviewed by The Hill, the Trump campaign flagged new content on Twitter that it said had been deceptively edited,” The Hill’s Jonathan Easly wrote March 16. One video in question was shared by Mike Bloomberg’s former senior adviser Tim O’Brien and featured audio clips of Trump’s words spliced together and taken out of context, set to a rising graph showing “Confirmed Coronavirus Cases in US.” Former Vice President Joe Biden tweeted a video with similar language.
Even The Post‘s video editor for The Fact Checker Meg Kelly wrote that Trump “never says that the virus itself is a hoax, and although the Biden camp included the word ‘their,’ the edit does not make clear to whom or what Trump is referring.”
NASCAR star Hailie Deegan posed for a picture with President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump at the Daytona 500 on Feb. 16. After she posted it to Twitter, some of her followers noted that the photo was covered by Twitter’s “sensitive content” filter. Memer and influencer Carpe Donktum (known for his memes that have been retweeted by Trump) tweeted a screenshot of Deegan’s post as it appeared on his feed.
President Trump’s personal Twitter account had disappeared in 2017 and was nowhere to be found until it was restored 11 minutes later. The account reappeared without explanation until Twitter’s official electoral and government relations account provided a bizarre explanation that it was “due to human error by a Twitter employee.”
How Twitter Has Treated Other Conservatives:
Before Twitter banned all political ads, it blocked a campaign ad by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) for addressing the “sale” of aborted baby parts in the name of research. While she was allowed to tweet the ad, Twitter prohibited her from paying to promote the ad to a larger audience.
In the ad, Rep. Blackburn announced that she was running for U.S. Senate. To appeal to her conservative constituents, she cited her work fighting abortion.
It should come as no surprise that the official campaign Twitter account for Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was suspended for sharing a video of the violent threats being made against the senator. Multiple people on Twitter were also suspended for sharing that video, including the Daily Wire’s Ryan Saavedra. Twitter eventually overturned this decision but only after numerous complaints.
Conservative commentator Candace Owens had her Twitter account suspended for encouraging Americans to defy stay-at-home rules. A Twitter spokesperson said that Owens’s tweet response to Democrat Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home policies encouraging the citizens of Michigan to “stand up” against Whitmer “violated the platform’s COVID-19 misinformation policy, ‘specifically around heightened-risk health claims,’” reported The Hill. Owens’s tweet encouraged Michiganders to “Open your businesses” and “[g]o to work.”
Trump’s attorney Rudy Guiliani’s tweet said, “Hydroxychloroquine has been shown to have a 100% effective rate treating COVID-19. Yet Democrat [Michigan Governor] Gretchen Whitmer is threatening doctors who prescribe it. If Trump is for something- Democrats are against it. They’re okay with people dying if it means opposing Trump.” His tweet was in response to Whitmer, who challenged Trump in a press conference on March 26, 2020.
Turning Point founder Charlie Kirk tweeted a similar sentiment. He said, “Fact: Hydroxychloroquine has been shown to have a 100% effective rate treating COVID-19[.] Yet Democrat Gretchen Whitmer is threatening doctors who prescribe it[.] If Trump is for something—Democrats are against it[.] They’re ok with people dying if it means opposing Trump[.] SICK!”
A Twitter spokesperson confirmed that both Guiliani’s and Kirk’s accounts were temporarily locked for violations of the Twitter rules in reference to COVID-19.
Fox News host Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) tweeted: “Lenox Hill in New York among many hospitals already using Hydroxychloroquine with very promising results. One patient was described as ‘Lazarus’ who was seriously ill from Covid-19, already released.” After the liberal media demanded the tweet’s removal, a Twitter spokesperson explained that the tweet was removed due to a violation of its new policy regarding tweeting about COVID-19.
New York Post journalist Jon Levine announced via tweet on the morning of March 8 that “Twitter locked me out of my account last night over some of the Carlos Maza reporting,” before adding that the platform later took back the decision. “A rep for the company tells me that their action against me was ‘an error.’” But then Levine was suspended again almost immediately afterward, for the same tweets made about the former Vox reporter.
Actor James Woods, noted for his conservative Twitter account, was locked out of Twitter more than once. Most recently he was suspended for sharing a picture of former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum. Woods had initially tweeted, “Just remember, this could have been Florida’s governor in the midst of the #WuhanCoronaVirus pandemic. Make sure you vote #Republican in November like your life depends on it. Because it does. #Trump2020Landslide.”
LifeSiteNews has been locked out of Twitter for “violating” its “rules” after tweeting an article about Jonathan “Jessica” Yaniv, a transgender activist who recently complained that gynecologists wouldn’t see Yaniv as a patient, despite having male genitals.
The ZeroHedge founder reportedly, under the pseudonym Tyler Durden, asked, “Is This The Man Behind The Global Coronavirus Pandemic?” and theorized about the coronavirus’s true origins. ZeroHedge was then suspended from Twitter. Forbes claimed that a spokesperson from Twitter indicated that “ZeroHedge was removed for violating its platform manipulation policy, which the social media giant describes as ‘using Twitter to engage in bulk, aggressive or deceptive activity that misleads others and/or disrupts their experience.’” However, The Daily Mail cited a resurfaced research paper from the South China University of Technology, which may lend some credence to ZeroHedge’s initial reporting.
Citing instances that “violate our abusive behavior policy,” Twitter Safety announced that “Today, we permanently suspended Alex Jones and InfoWars from Twitter and Periscope.” Not only was it enough to take down those accounts, but also, Twitter threatened to “take action” on “other accounts potentially associated with Alex Jones or InfoWars” if those accounts were “utilized in an attempt to circumvent their ban.”
Meanwhile, comedian Kathy Griffin recently tweeted about assassinating the president, saying, “Syringe with nothing but air inside it would do the trick. F— TRUMP.” Griffin also famously held up a bloody head that resembled Trump. She’s still on the platform.
A video posted by MRCTV, an arm of the Media Research Center, was censored as “sensitive content” by Twitter on Feb. 24. “You may recall way back in 1961 they invaded Cuba, and everybody was totally convinced that Castro was the worst guy in the world,” said Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), at the beginning of the video. The clip was from an interview in the 1980s where Sanders defended Castro. It was contrasted with a news clip from CBS that showed people in the streets celebrating after Fidel Castro died in 2016.
Between 2015 and 2019, there have been at least 113 different cases of conservative, pro-Trump or anti-establishment figures on Twitter being punished for expressing their views, many of them well-known in their fields. Notable people have been suspended, banned, blocked from advertising, shadowbanned, and censored. While Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey testified in Congress in September that “Twitter does not use political ideology to make decisions,” the evidence points in the opposite direction.
How Twitter Defends the Left:
A meme, made to look like a fake ad from former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign, showed the candidate smiling with a beam of light coming from his chest. A statement that says, “His brain? No. His heart,” sits to the left of the person. Trump’s director of communications Tim Murtaugh allegedly tweeted the image, saying, “Is this fake? Can’t trust Twitter, but this would seem to be the Biden campaign leaning in on the fact that ol’ Joe has lost his fastball.”
Murtaugh’s tweet was removed, said tech magazine The Verge. At least 20 other accounts were allegedly suspended or had tweets allegedly removed, including actress and congressional candidate Mindy Robinson.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has been consistent in his left-wing political positions. “Dorsey, the billionaire CEO of Twitter and mobile-payment company Square, is giving $5 million to Humanity Forward” in order to “build the case for a universal basic income [UBI],” Rolling Stone reported.
Dorsey appeared on the May 21 episode of former presidential candidate Andrew Yang’s “Yang Speaks” podcast where he explained the idea of UBI is “long overdue” and that now “the only way we can change policy is by experimenting and showing case studies of why this works.”
An account that parodied Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) was suspended on May 6. The user, named Alexandria Ocasio Cortez Press Release, was “permanently suspended” because it was too similar to the congressional representative’s account. According to the Washington Examiner, the man running the account, Michael Morrison, received an email explaining his permanent suspension and ominously saying, “This account will not be reinstated.” Dorsey has expressed his support for the young Democratic Socialist in Congress previously.
David Daleiden, the undercover journalist for the Center for Medical Progress, reported that the organization had 19 tweets blocked on Twitter, at the advice of Planned Parenthood. The tweets that were blocked reported on the public testimony of Planned Parenthood in court proceedings. Planned Parenthood’s attorneys told Twitter that the Center was live-streaming the hearing. Twitter reinstated the tweets after the appeal explained that Planned Parenthood had falsely described the tweets as a “live-stream.”
Twitter made it a rule that “misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals” was prohibited on its platform in 2018. Several people, including journalist Meghan Murphy, were banned, suspended, or blocked from the platform for statements like “Women aren’t men.” Dr. Ray Blanchard, who helped write the official psychological position on transgender identity, was temporarily blocked on May 12 for voicing his professional beliefs.
The Daily Mail took a story that Red State’s Jennifer Van Laar first broke about Rep. Katie Hill (D-CA) and ran it with a link in the story that led to graphic images of the politician with one of her staffers. Twitter then allegedly blocked the Daily Mail’s story, claiming, according to the Daily Wire’s Ryan Saavedra, that “this link may be unsafe.”
New York Post reporter Jon Levine alleged that some users were banned from Twitter for mocking recently laid-off journalists from liberal outlets Buzzfeed and HuffPost. Left-wing journalists once told working-class Americans to “learn to code” and adapt to a globalized economy. But now the shoe appears to be on the other foot, as some users tweeted the phrase “learn to code” at journalists who recently lost their jobs. The phrase was a response to journalists who told unemployed coal miners to switch their careers to tech, but journalists didn’t like it when it was used back on them. Some users reported a Twitter claim that users were banned for tweeting this phrase at journalists under the terms of service rules against “targeted harassment,” according to KnowYourMeme.
What Twitter Has Failed to Enforce:
Smash Racism DC, a branch of Antifa, attacked Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s house, reportedly threatened his wife, and doxed Carlson and his family on Twitter on November 8.
Twitter did not listen to Fox News’ call for the doxxing tweets to be removed immediately. While the original Twitter posts no longer exist, the National Review’s Jack Crowe managed to document their contents. “Tucker Carlson has been spewing nonstop hate and lies about the migrant caravan. He also has close ties to white supremacists,” one tweet said. “Activists protested tonight at Carlson’s Washington DC area home. You can’t hide from those you hurt, Tucker.#KnockKnockTucker”
“Racist scumbag, leave town,” another tweet exclaimed.
A fake news story falsely accused Covington Catholic High School students of harassing a Native American activist. It outraged the internet since the video was later shown to edit out much of the encounter. The story was later corrected by some outlets, but the damage had been done. Twitter did not take down many of the threats or calls for violence against the students.
Twitter restrictions based on its COVID-19 rules haven’t been handled in a consistent manner. The Chinese Embassy in France uploaded an absurd, lego-based propaganda video on April 30. The Ambassade de Chine en France’s video “Once Upon a Virus…” featured numerous demonstrably untrue myths, acting as if the Chinese communist government and World Health Organization (“WHO”) have both been forthcoming about the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It wasn’t fact-checked or removed.
The video featured a back and forth dialogue between several lego figurines and gave a false chronology of what happened from month to month. A masked lego figurine representing the Chinese regime as a responsible leader amidst the coronavirus appeared to be the foil to the ignorant and irresponsible Statue of Liberty LEGO figurine that represented America. The Statue of Liberty figurine’s flaming torch curiously resembled Trump’s signature hairstyle.
A video, tweeted out by a pro-Palestine account, depicted a terrorist shooting up an Israeli shopping mall. The cartoon depicted a young man watching a security guard at an Israeli mall. The flag of Israel was perched atop the building. Disguised as a security guard, the young man sits on a bench across from the Israeli mall and waits. He then walks up, kills the security guard with his own club, and runs into the mall, shooting at shoppers. The video then ends with a focus on Arabic script, which in English translates to “The Intifada is continuing.”
Pinboard, the social bookmarking website run by developer Maciej Cegłowski, captured ads on Twitter from China Xinhua News which called for “a brake to be put on the blatant violence” in Hong Kong. The Twitter account for Pinboard noted “Xinhua, the agency buying these tweets, has literally referred to the Hong Kong protesters as ‘cockroaches.’”
Noted anti-Semite Rev. Louis Farrakhan is still on Twitter and not fact-checked. Reclaim The Net observed that Farrakhan, the controversial leader of the Nation of Islam, was “temporarily kicked off of Twitter.” He was also “temporarily restricted” from Twitter from Jan. 3 up until mid-January, when his account was completely booted. Shortly thereafter, however, his account was reinstated, and a Twitter spokesperson reportedly told Reclaim The Net that “The account was caught by our spam filter in error and has been reinstated.”
Twitter allegedly censored ZeroHedge for theorizing about the origin of the coronavirus, citing Twitter’s Platform Manipulation policy, but since allowed what Buzzfeed called “Conspiracy Theories That The Coronavirus Didn’t Originate In China” to remain online. Spokesperson & Deputy Director General, Information Department, Foreign Ministry of China Lijian Zhao tweeted a piece headlined “COVID-19: Further Evidence that the Virus Originated in the US” at 9:02 p.m. on March 12. Later that day he speculated, “It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan.”
Twitter’s Investment in Leftist Ideology:
Twitter announced it was on a mission to rid its platform of “intolerance” and “incivility.” However, Twitter conveniently chose to partner with “third parties” that were incredibly skewed to the left.
That group included three openly liberal “experts.” Dr. Patricia Rossini tweeted out from her account back in 2016: “summarizing tonight: hate hate hate WALL hate hate hate LGBTQ hate hate hate BAN IMMIGRATION hate hate hate LAW&ORDER #RNCinCLE.” She also praised former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton for an interview she did, saying “I’m stunned by this interview with @HillaryClinton and her very straightforward evaluation of Trump’s presidency.”
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.