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[flagged] Not Your Imagination: Twitter Treats Conservatives More Harshly Than Liberals (quillette.com)
29 points by andrenth 39 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 38 comments



Anecdata: Given the number of left/liberal people I've seen on my timeline/lists suspended for innocuous replies to harassment, the number of posts about Twitter support not suspending conservative harassers (POTUS being a prime example!), and the fairly strong conservative bias of Quillette, I'll be needing a bag of salt and a lot more proof than this article provides.


> Twitter support not suspending conservative harassers (POTUS being a prime example!),

Thats a pretty poor example. The simple reality is that @potus won't be banned as it will immediately sow the seeds of twitters own destruction.

If you think twitter is bigger than the president of the USA, then im not sure what else to say.

If you want to point to examples as evidence, then what about Kathy Griffith? She can post herself holding a decapitated head of the president and sick mobs on school children because they smirked wearing a maga hat and yet shes not banned.


> If you think twitter is bigger than the president of the USA

Why would it not be? It's a worldwide thing, not just for some provincial colony.

> She can post herself holding a decapitated head of the president

Which was clearly a joke.

> and sick mobs on school children

Yep, I'd agree she should be suspended for that.


It would be more helpful to provide substance to this claim rather than tossing a smoke grenade on the matter? Who are the left leaning people you’ve seen suspended?



The first is about testing for banned words deliberately.

The second link appears to be about anti-spam suspensions related to people who controlled many different Twitter accounts simultaneously using bots, not content related enforcement.

The third link is about the following tweet:

"Can’t wait for November 4th when millions of antifa supersoldiers will behead all white parents and small business owners in the town square"

That isn't an "innocuous reply to harrassment" as you implied in your first comment.

So far I don't think you've demonstrated the point you were trying to make. None of the examples of these suspensions were replies to harassment.


> The first is about testing for banned words deliberately.

After being banned for using those words inocuously.

> That isn't an "innocuous reply to harrassment" as you implied in your first comment.

No, that wasn't one of those. It was clearly a joke, however.

> None of the examples of these suspensions were replies to harassment

A fair point. Next time I log into Twitter, I'll make a collection and come back with those, ok? I just didn't happen to have one ready for this discussion at current time.


Intentionally getting banned by doing something publicly known to be bannable doesn't really apply here httpswitter.com/zozie_kicks/status/1078008088978956289


Well, it was a test to see if it was the word 'goy' that was the trigger - previous suspensions had already happened. But fair point, it's not a great example.


Kathy Griffin literally called for her followers to dox the MAGA kids. When asked about this on Joe Rogan podcast twitter CEO just changed the topic.

Journalist are the lifeline of twitter, so they will always be on the side of the mainstream media. If you are leftist/liberal but out of the media bubble (like some trans-esclusionary radical femminists) then you are worse off than conservatives,


Anecdotes and all that, but the past month has been crazy. Call for doxxing of high school kids, to open fire on them if you see them, or to lock them in the school and burn it down, and nothing happens. Tweet "learn to code" at a journalist and your account gets suspended.


> Kathy Griffin literally called for her followers to dox the MAGA kids.

Well, she asked for names, not a full dox, but I would agree that she should have been temporarily suspended for that, yep.

> like some trans-esclusionary radical femminists

They tend not to be leftist/liberal in my experience.


"liberal" is a confusing word; for a few centuries leftist/liberal meant very similar things in the west. Today we have strong movements of illiberal/authoritarian on the left while the right (in the US) has strong libertarian movements.

Consider the famous example of the baker and the homosexual wedding. Without judging the standard leftist position is significantly less libertarian than the usual position on the right.


Not a big Twitter user (never tweeted and only follow a small amount of people/services) and I've seen this again and again. I didn't really think it was in dispute?


Call it paranoia, but I have long felt that twitter suppresses my own tweets on “hot” political topics (I.e. 0 interaction, 0 in-person comments or discussion), whereas literally every tweet a make gets some reactions. It’s just too uncanny to miss, yet I have no ability to prove.

I’ve even paid considerably to promote tweets on a mildly controversial topic that got next to no interactions.. never again will I pay twitter like that.

EDIT- re: the article and I don’t see this discussed elsewhere, I wonder if left leaning people are just 4x more likely to use the “flag as offensive” feature, leading Twitter to process and prosecute more conservative viewpoints?


It's already quite known to a few people that there are many words that will trigger twitter to push your tweets under the "show more".

For example: Tranny.

If you say that word in any context, your tweet will not show up in many of your followers timelines and if it was a reply it will only show up if you hit show more at least once.

Maybe thats a good thing overall, but I can't help think about the long term effects when the words you can and cannot say can't easily be understood and we end up in some kind of world where only the most sanitized advertiser friendly tweets are the only ones your able to see without having to dig around all the time.


Are you certain? In mechanics’ circles that has a completely neutral meaning. Doubt Twitter is so simplistic it can’t figure out people are talking about drivetrain transmissions.


It is worse in other countries without "free speech"-clauses in constitution. Twitter has very active role in general elections in many countries in Europe. Only in Deutschland this issue can be corrected by suing Twitter. Other countries do not even have suitable legislation, because only government (and elected spokespersons) have "free speech".


Very shaky methods. He doesn’t even tell us who is on his list of 21 unfairly banned trump supporters


>> Very shaky methods. He doesn’t even tell us who is on his list of 21 unfairly banned trump supporters

he provided his whole database of users tracked

Edited to remove snark


The link doesn’t work on my phone and he doesn’t spend any time discussing the cases. The article is not actually written about the “data”, it is simply there to add some kind of impression of rigor.


I don’t use Twitter much, but I have noticed the reverse is true on Facebook.


Doesn't that entirely depend on who your friends are, and what they post?


This is poor reasoning.

The average Trump supporter may be no more likely to break Twitters TOS, we aren't looking at the average here, we are looking at the outliers.

22 bans is absolutely insignificant compared to the millions of users, you can't extrapolate that out to all Trump voters or even the average Trump voter, therefore his argument makes no sense.


True, but let’s say a ridiculous ToS had any mention of Marxist ideology as a violation.

That would have an inherent bias against people on the Democratic side.


Are you equating Marxism with Nazism???

I'd accept a Stalism/Nazism (or maoism) equivocation.

Marxism is not like Nazism.


No. I’m saying _if_ they instituted an unfounded TOS against Marxism, that would have an inherent bias. I purposely left Maoism and Stalinism out due to their fascist nature.

Let’s say they were owned by Exxon, their TOS had that talking the negative aspects of fossil fuels was a violation, that would have an inherent anti Democrat bias, even if they didn’t have a stated anti Democrat bias.


Ok, sorry.

Was anyone accusing them of having an anti right wing TOS?

In general I agree with you, but I think you'd have a hell of a time teasing apart the politics of it. Eg if a rule said all statements had to be scientifically proven, is that anti right wing? Is that even wrong in and of itself? How would you balance that out?


[flagged]


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twitter_suspensions certainly seems to back up the harassment angle.


> Are prominent Trump supporters more likely to break neutrally applied social media terms of service agreements than other voters? Perhaps. But are they four or more times as likely? That doesn’t seem credible.

That seems perfectly credible.


If so, wouldn't that mean that twitter is credibly bias towards progressives?


The null hypothesis here is that Twitter is biased against users who violate their terms of service, and that if conservatives violate Twitter's terms of service more often than progressives, they appear to be subjected to "harsher" treatment, which is interpreted by conservatives as an organized campaign of anti-conservative bias and suppression, rather than Twitter simply enforcing its policies.

What needs to be demonstrated, to me, is that the majority of banned provably conservative accounts were not banned for violating Twitter's terms of service, but for their political views, and that an equal or greater ratio of provably liberal accounts with equal or greater following which violated Twitter's terms of service were not banned, in order for political bias to be the more likely reason for the treatment of conservatives.


What if I told you that twitters TOS itself is bias against conservatives? Your whole argument seems premised on the idea that twitters TOS is completely neutral.


>What if I told you that twitters TOS itself is bias against conservatives?

Here is Twitter's TOS[0], I'd ask you to prove it.

[0]https://twitter.com/en/tos


> We reserve the right to remove Content that violates the User Agreement, including for example, copyright or trademark violations, impersonation, unlawful conduct, or harassment.

So Kathy griffin doxxing and sending a hate mob after children is not harassment but alex jones having a minor encounter with a CNN journalist is an instantly bannable example of harassment.

I'm pretty sure your just arguing out of bad faith at this point.


Interesting. So which part of that do you feel is intrinsic to being a conservative, that would make the part of the TOS you quoted biased against conservatives? Is it the harassment, maybe? The unlawful conduct?

> I'm pretty sure your just arguing out of bad faith at this point.

You have no idea what that means, do you?


I had the exact same thought. I guess I'm glad I didn't post it as a top-level comment, because it looks like you have unintentionally become an example of how HN is prone to downvote swarms from those same conservatives who feel so victimized on Twitter.

One key here is the limitations of a "neutrally applied" standard. As others have pointed out, an alternative hypothesis is that the liberal majority is more likely to report violations. This can happen through sheer weight of numbers, it can mean completely neutral application of the standard but non-neutral invocation of it, and the author does nothing to address it.

Another confounding factor has to do with the very nature of conservatism and liberalism. One could argue, and conservatives do argue in other contexts, that the very definition of "hate speech" and the degree to which it is suppressed have a very liberal bias. Those who believe in those standards are more likely to invoke them, even if the two groups are equal in number. Those who do not believe in those standards are more likely to transgress. This is a difference in both invocation of the standard (by users) and its construction, but still not its application (by Twitter's mod team). Again, the author does nothing to address it.

AFAICT, what the author is demanding is equal outcomes despite unequal factors leading to those outcomes. It's an odd position for a conservative to take. Does Richard Hanania believe such affirmative action is justified in other contexts where a particular neutrally applied decision process yields unequal outcomes because of discrimination skewing its inputs? As always on deliberately "contrarian" Quillette, it seems like there's a bit of inconsistency here.


> I guess I'm glad I didn't post it as a top-level comment, because it looks like you have unintentionally become an example of how HN is prone to downvote swarms from those same conservatives who feel so victimized on Twitter.

That’s okay, I don’t mind losing some internet points.




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