It was approximately one year ago, when angry tweeters alleged that Jack Dorsey et al., were purposefully censoring and “suppressing” certain content on Twitter, namely anything to do with the leaked DNC and John Podesta emails, as well as hashtags critical of Hillary Clinton while “shadow-banning” pro-Donald Trump content. We can now confirm that at least one part of the above was true, because during today’s Senate hearing, Twitter admitted it “buried”, which is another word for censored, significant portions of tweets related to hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign chair John Podesta in the months heading into the 2016 presidential campaign.
As Daily Caller’s Peter Hasson reports, Twitter’s systems hid 48 percent of tweets using the #DNCLeak hashtag and 25 percent of tweets using #PodestaEmails, Twitter general counsel Sean Edgett said in his written testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.
Before the election, we also detected and took action on activity relating to hashtags that have since been reported as manifestations of efforts to interfere with the 2016 election. For example, our automated spam detection systems helped mitigate the impact of automated Tweets promoting the #PodestaEmails hashtag, which originated with Wikileaks’ publication of thousands of emails from the Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s Gmail account.
The core of the hashtag was propagated by Wikileaks, whose account sent out a series of 118 original Tweets containing variants on the hashtag #PodestaEmails referencing the daily installments of the emails released on the Wikileaks website. In the two months preceding the election, around 57,000 users posted approximately 426,000 unique Tweets containing variations of the #PodestaEmails hashtag.
Approximately one quarter (25%) of those Tweets received internal tags from our automation detection systems that hid them from searches.
As described in greater detail below, our systems detected and hid just under half (48%) of the Tweets relating to variants of another notable hashtag, #DNCLeak, which concerned the disclosure of leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee.
And yet, this glaring act of censorship was not aimed at the sources of the alleged propaganda, but the content: Just 2% of the tweets using the #DNCLeak hashtag came from “potentially Russian-linked accounts,” Edgett said.
He also explained that Twitter hid the tweets as “part of our general efforts at the time to fight automation and spam on our platform across all areas.”
…And Hillary still lost?
Just over a year ago, on the same day that Donald Trump’s “grab them by the pussy tape” was released, WikiLeaks dumped over 30,000 hacked Podesta emails, which were damaging to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, throughout the election. A prior Wikileak of DNC emails, which revealed party officials secretly aided Hillary Clinton during her primary battle against Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders , eventually cost then-DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Shultz her job. The leaks also exposed supposedly “neutral” journalists as pro-Clinton partisans.
The U.S. intelligence community concluded that Russian operatives were behind the original hacking of both the DNC and Podesta emails, which were part of Russian influence operations meant to disrupt the American electoral system.
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A question emerges: did Jack Dorsey, with his arbitrary decision to censor specific content damaging to Democrats, interfere with the election, and a funnier question: if Hillary lost with Twitter censoring anti-Hillary content, what would the outcome have been if Twitter actually respected the First Amendment?