By Jay Syrmopoulos | The Free Thought Project
The US government and its mainstream media propagandists are now reduced to whining about “divisive” Russian ad buys on social media to the meager tune of $100,000 over three years in an election where billions were spent by the candidates to influence the electorate. However, it has now been revealed that Twitter engaged in a much more substantial type of election interference by broadly censoring tweets with the hashtags #PodestaEmails and #DNCLeak in an effort to bolster the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.
During the last few months of the 2016 presidential election, many Twitter users alleged that the company was intentionally censoring specific content – namely anything to do with leaked DNC or John Podesta emails, as well as pro-Trump content.
This one-time “conspiracy theory” has now been confirmed as conspiracy fact during a Senate hearing into Russian election meddling, as the company admitted that significant portions of tweets related to leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign chair John Podesta in the months heading into the 2016 presidential campaign.
Twitter general counsel Sean Edgett, on Tuesday, admitted in written testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee that the company had ”buried” – a nice euphemism for CENSORED – 48 percent of tweets using the hashtag #DNCLeak and 25 percent of tweets with the #PodestaEmails hashtag.
“Approximately one quarter (25%) of [#PodestaEmails tweets] received internal tags from our automation detection systems that hid them from searches,” Edgett said, adding that “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.”
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.
Just to be clear, these tweets were not censored because they were thought to be from Russia-linked accounts as Edgett admitted that only two percent of the tweets using the #DNCLeak hashtag came from “potentially Russian-linked accounts.”
With so much discussion of election interference, shouldn’t Twitter be investigated given these latest revelations, as their actions most certainly had a greater impact — albeit in vain — on the election than a $100,000 ad buy potentially linked to Russia?
Twitter’s admitted attempt at censoring specific political content, under the guise of trying to stop election interference — in an effort to sway the direction of an election to a specific candidate or party — is much more dangerous than anything the Russians have been proven to have engaged in during the 2016 US elections.