Project Veritas is an organization that keeps producing outstanding investigating journalism. James O’Keefe recently exposed some of the practices allegedly employed by Twitter developers to create algorithms capable of banning users based on their ideology.
In his recent tweet, James O’Keefe shows a short video of a conversation between a journalist and a programmer from Twitter. The latter brags about how they create algorithms that track people’s communications within the platform.
Twitter’s direct messaging engineer Pranay Singh describes how he and his colleagues choose words and phrases that comprise the foundation for machine learning algorithms employed to shadowban certain types of speech and specific comments. In his drunk confession, he says:
Double your web browsing speed with today's sponsor. Get Brave.
“Just go to a random Trump tweet, and just look at the followers. They’ll all be like guns, God, Murica, and with the American flag and, like, the cross. Like, who says that? Who talks like that? It’s for sure a bot.”
It seems that one of the methods used by Twitter to determine which types of speech are permitted on the platform is equating conservative users to bots. It goes against public statements made by Jack Dorsey recently in regards to language policing. During his appearance on Joe Rogan’s podcast, Dorsey claimed that Twitter is as apolitical as possible.
Damage control mode
Twitter will definitely take a defensive stance. There is enough room to wiggle with defensive options. They can try to distance themselves from the actions of a single individual and claim that Pranay Singh does not represent the company’s ideology and implemented censorship methods correctly. Singh also was quite drunk meaning that his words should be taken with a big grain of salt.
However, Twitter has been under heavy fire from both the right-wing and centrists including some left-leaning personalities. Twitter certainly bans way more right-leaning individuals and protects specific groups. Sadly, this protection often results in harming their political opposition.
We will see how this story will develop in the nearest future. So far, James O’Keefe’s tweet with the announcement is trending on Twitter and gathered nearly 5 thousand retweets at the time of writing.