Twitter won’t say why it censored independent news outlet, The Center Square

All links to the site were blocked.

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Twitter blocked The Center Square, a news watchdog website, for over ten days. While the platform did not explain why it seems the problems started when the news website published a story related to a bribery case involving an energy company.

Twitter and other social media companies can control what people can and can’t post. The Center Square learned that the hard way. For the past ten days, its stories have been blocked by the platform. Unsurprisingly, the platform did not explain why they were restricting the news website.

However, according to an Op-ed on Daily-Journal, a local newspaper based in Kankakee County, Illinois, by The Center Square’s journalist Chris Krug, Twitter is punishing the news website for being good at reporting news.

The Center Square’s Greg Bishop, who reports from Springfield Illinois, was the first journalist to report that the state-sanctioned committee tasked with looking into a bribery case involving the energy company ComEd had released new documents that were important in the case. The company had already pleaded guilty and slapped with a fine of $200 million. Therefore, considering the case was pretty much closed, not many media houses were following the case keenly.

That said, the documents, delivered by the committee late on the eve of Thanksgiving Day, included significant evidence, including references from someone close to the Speaker of the House Michael Madigan.

The Center Square shared the story as soon as it was live on the website. However, soon after, Twitter blocked the link. However, they say the story was factual.

“There was no problem with Bishop’s story. It was timely, again he was the first to report, and it was factual. He had done one hell of a job to grit out the story and to source it directly with comments from committee members Rep. Chris Welch (D-Hillside) and Rep. Tom Demmer (R-Dixon),” Krug wrote.

He insinuated that Twitter blocked the story because they thought it was untrue. But the social media platform did not just block Bishop’s story. It started blocking other stories by The Center Square. “On some days, it blocked everything,” Krug said.

On asking why they were being restricted, Twitter did not give a straight answer.

Twitter’s actions harmed the news outlet.

“The optics of this, as you might imagine, are not terrific for a newswire service. A blocked link suggests there is a problem with the story. And in this age of disinformation, there are plenty of problematic stories floating around in pixels,” Krug explained.

However, he pointed out that Twitter or other big tech platforms should not be the arbiters of truth:

“Nobody, and certainly not Twitter, Facebook, Google or any of the so-called fact-checking operations that are out there trying to save the general public from whatever it is they are trying to save them from should be blocking the news. They shouldn’t be throttling down elected officials. They shouldn’t be posting warning signs across stories that indicate that a story is true or false. They shouldn’t be meddling in the free flow of news.”

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