Trump and Donald Jr peddle debunked Twitter 'shadow ban' conspiracy theory


The saying “like father like son” has rarely applied to anyone more than president Trump and his mini-me son, Donald Jr.

This week, Trump and Donald Jr. have jumped on the false theory that Twitter is "shadow banning" conservatives, despite Twitter explaining that this is part of the platform’s efforts to tackle trolling. If conservative accounts are being de-listed, it means that they were behaving like trolls.

With so many pressing issues facing the world today, you’d think Trump would have let this slide, but instead he tweeted to his 53.3 million followers that Twitter is "shadow banning prominent Republicans", saying that this is "discriminatory and illegal". Yes, the architect of the trans military ban and proposed Muslim travel ban is complaining about discrimination.

But of course Donald Jr. couldn’t resist getting in on the act too, addressing the controversy in a series of bizarre tweets.

So how did “shadow banning” get in the news?

Gizmodo originally reported that Twitter was de-listing some prominent conservatives and conspiracy theorists from the search bar. Then VICE published an article which pointed out that Twitter was de-listing prominent conservatives but not their Democrat equivalents, labelling this “shadow banning”.

But this is not new information. In May, the social networking site launched its first concrete initiative in its fight to improve the tone of conversation on Twitter. To make it a less combative platform, it developed tools to identify "trolling behaviour”. It would then de-list accounts of the users it identifies as exhibiting trolling behaviour.

But instead of holding firm, Twitter announced that it was "making a change" that would result in re-listing certain conservatives, while also stating that these accounts were consistent with "trolling behaviour". Re-listing accounts that you acknowledge are trolls is certainly an odd choice.

Despite Trump’s tweets, nothing about what Twitter is doing is "illegal" or "discriminatory". Though with trolling, racism and obscene language still widespread on the site, it’s clear that more needs to be done to improve user behaviour.

H/T: Mashable

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