Friday, January 12, 2018

Twitter's "Shadow Ban" On Conservatives Is Stunning---And Concerning

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James O'Keefe's "Project Veritas" revealed yesterday in an undercover video how Twitter workers, using algorithms, are banning users of its social media platform without the users even knowing.


Scientists and tech experts who helped create Silicon Valley and the tech industry---particularly mobile phones--- are now expressing deep concern over what they have created.

Apple shareholders are asking for restraint and change from the tech giant.

Yesterday Washington State Senator Marko Lias ( D-Lynnwood) introduced a bill to ban so-called "gay conversion therapy."
The therapy is defined as an attempt by any licensed therapist to change the gender identity or sexual orientation of anyone under the age of 18. Lias wants to include criminal penalties.
Biblical Christians beware. This bill, if passed, would set the stage for any pastor or Christian counselor who attempted to spiritually help any young person under 18 escape the destructive homosexual lifestyle, to be legally charged and punished.
I'll talk more about this on our live radio program today at 9 AM. Here's how to join me from anywhere in the world.

Project Veritas released an undercover video yesterday that exposes Twitter engineers bragging about how they are "banning ways of talking" on Twitter using "shadow banning" algorithms to censor opposing political opinions---and the users have no idea they are being censored.

O'Keefe released the video yesterday. The degree to which millions of Americans are being censored and manipulated because of their conservative beliefs is stunning.

This is a link to the Veritas website and the actual video. I strongly recommend you take a few moments and watch it. It includes O'Keefe's response and explanation to these concerning revelations.

This is some of the undercover video's content:

  • Steven Pierre, Twitter engineer explains “shadow banning,” says “it’s going to ban a way of talking.”
  • Former Twitter software engineer Abhinav Vadrevu on shadow banning: “They just think that no one is engaging with their content, when in reality, no one is seeing it.”
  • Former Twitter Content Review Agent Mo Norai explains banning process: “If it was a pro-Trump thing and I’m anti-Trump… I banned his whole account… it’s at your discretion.”
  • When asked if banning process was an unwritten rule, Norai adds, “Very. A lot of unwritten rules… It was never written it was more said.”
  • Olinda Hassan, Policy Manager for Twitter Trust and Safety explains, “We’re trying to ‘down rank’… shitty people to not show up,” “We’re working [that] on right now.”
  • “Shadow banning” to be used to stealthily target political views- former Twitter engineer says, “that’s a thing.”
  • Censorship of certain political viewpoints to be automated via “machine learning” according to Twitter software engineer.
  • Parnay Singh, Twitter Direct Messaging Engineer, on machine learning algorithms, “You have like five thousand keywords to describe a redneck…” “the majority of it are for Republicans.”

And there's much more, including Twitter Senior Network Security Engineer Clay Haines saying that Twitter is "more than happy to help the Department of Justice with their little [Donald Trump] investigation."

Yesterday afternoon Twitter released a statement saying these people were speaking on behalf of themselves not Twitter.

Great! That clears everything up, doesn't it? All these people do is run the company and manage the media platform and now control what you say and what you see.

Related, but on a different side of the Internet revolution, Jana Partners LLC, who control about $2 billion of Apple shares sent a letter last Saturday to Apple, Inc. expressing their concerns regarding the amount of time kids are spending on their mobile iPhones and other devices.

The Wall Street Journal, in an article titled, "Silicon Valley Reconsiders the iPhone Era It Created" says, "The smartphone has fueled much of Silicon Valley's soaring profits over the past decade...But over the past year or so, a number of prominent industry figures have voiced concerns about the downsides of the technology's ubiquity."

Those expressing concern include Apple executives who helped create the iPhone, who are now expressing misgivings about how the smartphones monopolize kids attention.

On Monday, Tony Fadell, a former senior Apple hardware executive involved in the iPhone's creation, is also calling on Apple to intervene, because "adults are struggling just as much as children with smartphone overuse..."

The smartphone has transformed society, unlike any previous device. It's so powerful that US consumers now spend, on average, more than 3 hours per day on their mobile devices.

Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, has pledged to spend this year working to address misuse of its products by "making sure time spent on Facebook is time well spent."

Roger Kay, an industry analyst says there's a dawning realization of the effects these companies have had on us and a sense that we should no longer just go along with it.

Fadell wonders if he and the others who created the industry will ultimately "be hated for what we have created."

Bottom line: We are a culture that has become addicted to receiving all our information through our Internet devices.

Now the people who control the information that flows through our devices are deciding what information we will receive, and what we will not receive based on their views, beliefs and moral and political agenda.

The ancient biblical prophet Jeremiah did not live to see the Internet or its devices---but he certainly understood deception and mankind's tendency toward it :

"Everyone deceives his neighbor. And does not speak the truth. They have taught their tongue to speak lies" (9:5).
"As a partridge that hatches eggs which it has not laid, So is he who makes a fortune, but unjustly..." (17:11).

Be Informed. Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Beware.