Who influenced the 2016 presidential election? Was it Russia or was it the social media giant Twitter that had a greater impact?
We may have gotten the answer on Wednesday. Although, truthfully it’s what many conservatives have always suspected.
Twitter’s Acting General Counsel, Sean J. Edgett submitted a statement on October 31, 2017 to the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism which sets forth many of the actions Twitter took to combat what it saw as a problem.
In that statement, Edgett among other things, addressed the actions Twitter took regarding “Malicious Automation and Misinformation Detected in 2016”.
“We detected examples of automated activity and deliberate misinformation in 2016,
including in the run-up to the 2016 election, that in retrospect appear to be signals of the broader automation problem that came into focus after the election had concluded.”
What is especially interesting is the fact that Edgett’s statement speaks about actions that were taken “before the election” relating to hashtags that were reported “after” the elections as being “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.”
Twitter then did something which shows who is really in charge of the information that we see, retweet, like and quote on the social media giant.
Edgett indicates that:
“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. These steps were part of our general efforts at the time to fight automation and spam on our platform across all areas.”
Many conservatives have complained that their information appears to be “hidden” from their timeline and others have observed that Twitter prevents them from sharing certain information.
In what Twitter describes as an “Analysis and Key Findings”, it was clear that much ado may have been made about nothing.
“Thus, based on our analysis of the data, we determined that the number of accounts we
could link to Russia and that were Tweeting election-related content was small in comparison to the total number of accounts on our platform during the relevant time period.
Similarly, the volume of automated, election-related Tweets that originated from those accounts was small in comparison to the overall volume of election-related activity on our platform. And those Tweets generated significantly fewer impressions as compared to a typical election-related Tweet.”
In other words, Twitter controlled their users’ tweets before and after the election when it doesn’t appear it was necessary to do so.
Their censorship prevented information from being disseminated by and among conservative users (and those on the Left) because Twitter believed the information was linked to Russia and would “interfere” with the election?
It appears that censorship may have been the bigger threat than Russia!
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