Twitter unblocked James O’Keefe’s account after suffering massive backlash for silencing the Project Veritas founder as his expose on Twitter’s political censorship started going viral.
Before the suspension, O’Keefe was gaining nearly 10,000 Twitter followers a day after his journalists caught Twitter engineers on tape bragging about how the social media site “shadow bans” non-liberal viewpoints and was trying to topple President Trump.
The suspension was likely an attempt by Twitter to bury the news story exposing company practices, but Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was ultimately bombarded with over 20,000 tweets demanding he lift O’Keefe’s suspension.
“Twitter is trying to block our journalism,” O’Keefe said.
In the sting videos, Twitter engineers explains the steps they were taking to censor political content they didn’t like, including a process called “shadow banning.”
“One strategy is to shadow ban so you have ultimate control,” said former Twitter employee Abhinov Vadrevu. “The idea of a shadow ban is that you ban someone but they don’t know they’ve been banned, because they keep posting and no one sees their content.”
“So they just think that no one is engaging with their content, when in reality, no one is seeing it.”
The mainstream media has used a similar tactic for years by burying news stories that painted establishment luminaries in a bad light, such as the attempts to downplay Hillary Clinton’s health issues during the 2016 presidential campaign.
But Twitter is apparently taking this tactic one step further by automating censorship.
“Every single conversation is going to be rated by a machine and the machine is going to say whether or not it’s a positive thing or a negative thing,” said Twitter engineer Steven Pierre.