Twitter Reiterates Trump Ban, Announces Algorithm to Influence User Posts

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An effigy of Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, dressed as a Capitol riot participant, is placed near the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., on March 25, 2021. Rep. Mo Brooks says the Big Tech cartel’s stranglehold on online speech is becoming more and more like what goes under the Chinese Communist Party and wants to curtail the trend before it becomes too late to control.
An effigy of Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, dressed as a Capitol riot participant, is placed near the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., on March 25, 2021. Rep. Mo Brooks says the Big Tech cartel’s stranglehold on online speech is becoming more and more like what goes under the Chinese Communist Party and wants to curtail the trend before it becomes too late to control. (Image: by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Twitter recently terminated an account that presented itself as linked to former President Donald Trump’s newly launched website, reiterating its commitment to censoring the 45th President during the early months of the Biden administration.

Trump launched his own website, From the Desk of Donald J. Trump, which operates in essence like a lite version of his former highly active and highly followed Twitter account. After the website was launched, the @DJTDesk Twitter handle was established as a feed for the site’s posts, but was quickly banned.

Twitter told the New York Post the account violated its ban evasion policy by distributing material linked to a suspended account, while an unnamed source from Trump’s team denied the account was created by or associated with them.

The ban comes as Twitter CFO Ned Segal confirmed during a Yahoo Finance livestream that the company has no plan to remove Trump from its blacklist, “There has been no changes to anything we have shared in the past around the former President’s account…There is no changes to anything we have talked about in the past,” he said.

Trump also remains banned from Facebook, whose Oversight Board upheld Mark Zuckerberg’s decision to suspend the ex-President’s account permanently. But the Board noted an indefinite suspension was not within the company’s policies. Their decision requires Facebook to review the case within six months and determine a more appropriate disciplinary action.

Trump decried Big Tech on his website, asserting his First Amendment rights have been violated, “These corrupt social media companies must pay a political price, and must never again be allowed to destroy and decimate our Electoral Process,” he said.

Twitter’s new influencing algorithm

On May 5, Twitter announced plans to release a new feature that attempts to influence users to edit their content to be more politically correct before it is posted. In a Blog post titled Posting With Consideration, the social media hub said it will implement a feature that prompts users to encourage “people to pause and reconsider a potentially harmful or offensive reply before they hit send.”

They say the feature entered testing last year, revealing it was quite effective at manipulating user behaviour. Studies found 34 percent of posters either altered their reply or did not send their reply at all, and that after being checked once, users composed an average of 11 percent less “offensive replies.”

A “potentially harmful or offensive reply” will be algorithmically determined and is vaguely defined in the post as “insults, strong language, or hateful remarks.”

Too similar to communist China

In a May 6 interview with Breitbart, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) warned the threat posed to America by tech and social media companies forming a cartel and censoring speech is too similar to the way of life in communist China, “I would hope that they would understand that they are permitted to exist and thrive because the American citizenry allows them to. If Big Tech is going to deny Americans their fundamental right to freedom of speech, Big Tech needs to start being concerned about whether they will be allowed to operate in the United States of America.”

Brooks wants to use antitrust laws and repeal Section 230 protections because the stranglehold the cartel has on the market and daily life is simply so great, “Where there is no competition, where there are monopolistic environments, in which the Big Tech companies are operating… you have over a century of law in the United States that allows the government to intervene and break up those monopolies, or, as an alternative, force those monopolies to conduct themselves in a better fashion,” he said. 

With reporting by Jonathan Walker.

  • Neil lives in Canada and writes about society and politics.