Major conservative leaning accounts on Twitter have complained about being “Shadow banned” for quite a while.
What is “Shadow banning?”
Essentially, it means that even though the account is fully operational, it is made intentionally difficult for people to see tweets and find the person’s account when doing searches.
The bulk of the time these complaints were happening, most people wrote it off as ridiculous paranoia.
Except apparently it wasn’t.
Vice News dug deep into the issue and found that Twitter does indeed seem to be guilty of this practice.
Let me start by saying that Twitter is a private company and has the right to do whatever it wants.
However, that does not make shadow banning those with a conservative political viewpoint a good idea.
For one, it is clear viewpoint discrimination, which is wrong on its face.
But more importantly, why would you want to infuriate roughly 50% of the people using your service?
Seems like a poor business strategy to me and I would imagine the fallout may include a tanking of the compny’s stock.
It also is likely to have the opposite effect of what is intended, as conservatives are going to be galvanized by this and those in the middle will almost assuredly see Twitter as being in the wrong.
All of that said, however, President Trump came out this morning and said his administration is going to look into the matter.
I really wish he would resist the temptation to do that.
I agree that what Twitter is doing is wrong, but using the government to clamp down on the practices of a private company is even worse.
Using the power of the government to go after Twitter opens the door for the government to do the same to any other business it wants to and that is very dangerous.
First it is Twitter, but then what? The Justice Department investigates JC Penny for not selling enough clothes targeted to specific demographics under the guise of discrimination?
Laugh all you want, but there is no reason to believe that isn’t where this ultimately leads.
Twitter needs to get its house in order and if it fails to do so, then its users should simply walk away and/or start a competitor platform.
We need to the market sort out Twitter’s mistakes rather than turning to federal agents armed with guns and court orders.
The government power used to help you today is the same government power that may be used to hurt you tomorrow.
That cannot and should not ever be forgotten.