In the wake of Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter, New York Times political reporter Jeremy Peters mocked conservatives for suggesting Twitter was biased against conservative ideas and posts in “Vowing to Quit Twitter Is Popular. Actually Leaving Is Hard.” But the TimesIt was suggested in an article that it might be.
This was the moment when conservative Twitter tried and failed to cancel its own actions.
Social media giants were stepping up to combat serial spreading of inciting and false information. This was as the myths surrounding Covid and voter fraud swirled over the 2020 elections. Right-wing activists and commentators pledged to delete all their accounts.
The popular conservatism’s animalistic view of balanace was not a positive sign.
The list included prominent media personalities such as Kayleigh MacEnany, former White House press secretary and other political figures. Dan Bongino was a chest-thumping and expletive-flecked speaker. urging fans to follow him to the alt-social media universe of platforms — they now include Parler, Rumble, Gettr, Gab and the Trump-branded Truth Social — where he said they would be free from the “tech tyrants” of Twitter, Google and Facebook.
It didn’t take. Then, as now, it often seemed that the sport of taunting partisan adversaries in a forum they shared — “owning the libs” as many conservatives called this favorite pastime — was how some social media users had the most fun….
Peters said passively that conservatism is being silenced on college campuses. It’s a place were free inquiry and free expression should be the norm. This is not an issue.
If the measure is set in a particular way, such as by mainline conservative speakers not regularly on college lectures circuits, then the assertion that conservatives are shouted at in the public square, isn’t entirely false.
On Twitter, however, there are many voices and representations from the right. Research has shown that Twitter’s algorithms have not stifled the spread of content from right-leaning sources, nor have they silenced right-wing political parties around the world….
He cited as undisputed a study from Twitter itself suggesting otherwise, although that “audit” focused on the accounts of politicians from seven countries, not U.S. conservative Twitter users, and had other admitted limitations.
A recent audit conducted by researchers at Twitter that looked at millions of Tweets from April to August 2020 found that the algorithms that determine what content users see actually amplified Tweets from right-wing lawmakers in seven countries, including the United States, more than for left-wing lawmakers.
Contrary to popular belief, Times itself ran a story by Charles Homans on Tuesday noting an MIT study that found
…during a six-month period immediately before and after the 2020 election, more than a third of the Republicans’ accounts they reviewed were suspended — nearly five times as large a share as Democrats’.
Twitter did not purge right-wing accounts in the way that some commentators suggest. Some high profile users were temporarily banned for breaking standards to prevent harassment of transgender persons or the spreading misinformation about vaccines.For example,
That’s an enormous caveat in bold above: Who gets to define “protecting transgender people” or “vaccine misinformation”? Site for Christian parody The Babylon Bee was suspended for joking (in truth) that U.S. assistant secretary for health Rachel Levine, a biological male who presents as a “transgender woman,” was the site’s “Man of the Year.”
Twitter is now moving to ban “climate change disinformation,” whatever that may turn out to be. Peters left out Twitter’s decision to ban “climate change disinformation” during the closing days of 2020 presidential elections.