Twitter Adds Language into New Terms of Service Confirming That They ‘Shadowban’ Users
Social media giant Twitter is explicitly adding language into their terms of service confirming that they are shadowbanning users.
Shadowbanning is defined as social media providers severely limiting the reach of a user’s posts in order to prevent their messages from being properly disseminated on a platform. Conservatives have complained about this happening on Twitter for years, but Big Brother apologists have claimed that it is a conspiracy theory. Twitter has long denied using the practice.
“We do not shadow ban,” a Twitter spokesperson said to The Guardian last year. “Our behavioral ranking doesn’t make judgments based on political views or the substance of tweets.”
However, their new terms of service that are set to go into place on Jan. 1, 2020 confirms that they are using the practice. This shows that Twitter will be actively shadowbanning users heading into the 2020 presidential election, in what some may consider a form of electoral interference.
Twitter’s amended terms of service read as follows (italics added for emphasis):
Our Services evolve constantly. As such, the Services may change from time to time, at our discretion. We may stop (permanently or temporarily) providing the Services or any features within the Services to you or to users generally. We also retain the right to create limits on use and storage at our sole discretion at any time. We may also remove or refuse to distribute any Content on the Services, limit distribution or visibility of any Content on the service, suspend or terminate users, and reclaim usernames without liability to you.
Twitter’s admission that they are shadowbanning users may impact a high-profile lawsuit that has been filed against the Big Tech monolith. Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) filed a suit against Twitter earlier this year regarding their alleged shadowbanning of his account:
California GOP Rep. Devin Nunes filed a major lawsuit seeking $250 million in compensatory damages and $350,000 in punitive damages against Twitter and a handful of its users on Monday, accusing the social media site of “shadow-banning conservatives” to secretly hide their posts, systematically censoring opposing viewpoints, and totally “ignoring” lawful complaints of repeated abusive behavior.
In a complaint filed in Virginia state court on Monday, obtained by Fox News, Nunes claimed Twitter wanted to derail his work on the House Intelligence Committee, which he chaired until 2019, as he looked into alleged and apparent surveillance abuses by the government. Nunes said Twitter was guilty of “knowingly hosting and monetizing content that is clearly abusive, hateful and defamatory – providing both a voice and financial incentive to the defamers – thereby facilitating defamation on its platform.”
The lawsuit alleged defamation, conspiracy and negligence, as well as violations of the state’s prohibition against “insulting words” — effectively fighting words that tend towards “violence and breach of the peace.” The complaint sought not only damages, but also an injunction compelling Twitter to turn over the identities behind numerous accounts he said harassed and defamed him.
“Twitter is a machine,” Nunes’ personal attorney, Steven S. Biss, told Fox News. “It is a modern-day Tammany Hall. Congressman Nunes intends to hold Twitter fully accountable for its abusive behavior and misconduct.”
President Donald Trump should consider drastic measures, including strict enforcement of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, in order to bring tech giants to heel before they can unduly influence next year’s election.