In a new undercover video released by Project Veritas, a Twitter software engineer admits the social media platform is writing secret “shadow banning” code in an attempt to silence Christians and politically conservative users.
Former software engineer Abhinov Vadrevu explained what, exactly, “shadow banning” is during an interview Project Veritas said was recorded Jan. 3:
"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."
Current Twitter software engineer Steven Pierre said the social media giant uses computers to monitor every single tweet that goes out. Those computers determine if each tweet is “negative” or “positive” and then deletes those that don’t adhere to a specific “way of talking.” A third Twitter employee, Trust and Safety Team Policy Manager Olinda Hassan added:
"We’re trying to get the [expletive] people to not show up. It’s a product thing we’re working on right now."
In all, Project Veritas spoke with eight current and recently departed Twitter employees over the course of eight months, compiling hidden camera footage of their conversations about the social media platform’s efforts to silence politically conservative users, supporters of President Donald Trump, and Christians. Some parts of that effort are manually handled by “curators,” while others are handled with a computer algorithm. Pranay Singh, a direct messaging engineer at Twitter, said:
"Yeah you look for Trump, or America, and you have like five thousand keywords to describe a redneck. Then you look and parse all the messages, all the pictures, and then you look for stuff that matches that stuff …I would say majority of it are for Republicans, because they’re all from Russia, and they wanted Trump to win."
Words that would flag a response from Twitter included “God,” “guns,” and “’Merica.” Posts that included the American flag or a cross would also get flagged. Content Review Agent Mo Norai said these efforts were not part of any official directive, but rather came from “unwritten rules” delivered by top company executives:
"A lot of unwritten rules, and being that we’re in San Francisco, we’re in California, very liberal, a very blue state. You had to be… I mean as a company you can’t really say it because it would make you look bad, but behind closed doors are lots of rules."
The new video followed a Jan. 10 expose involving another Twitter employee, who bragged the social media giant would be “more than happy to help the Department of Justice with their little [President Donald Trump] investigation.” Twitter quickly responded, saying the employee in that video had been speaking in an individual capacity, not on behalf of the company.
Project Veritas promises more videos are coming.