After years of hiding its biased censorship policies from the public, Twitter's efforts to censor the views of the right on its platform have been exposed. Elon Musk, the new CEO of the company, publicly admitted what the majority of us had already known: the platform's content-moderation staff made censorship decisions based on ideological bias.
The story began with reporter Kyle Becker posting a tweet about left-wing media activists falsely claiming that Musk is an extreme right-winger. “Imagine if @ElonMusk were actually the right-wing bogeyman these spoiled lefty journos pretend he is and he decided to turn the tables and ban all left-wing ‘fake news’ from @Twitter. There’d be nothing left for them to publish!” he wrote.
Musk replied, noting that accounts on the left that published false stories were not prohibited under the platform’s previous administration: “As is obvious to all but the media, there is not one permanent ban on even the most far left account spouting utter lies.”
He pointed to an example of the Associated Press publishing a now-debunked report claiming that Russia had launched rockets into Poland: “Not even [the] Associated Press with their completely fictional report on Russian missiles hitting Poland that carried severe consequences for escalating the war.”
Of course, there are many other instances of the militant media promoting false reports through Twitter's platform. Every hoax, fake story, and lie they've reported has been broadcast through this app. In fact, it's been their main propaganda tool for the past decade.
Under the old Twitter regime, the falsehoods weren't penalized. The activists were aware that the platform would allow them to spread their views without having to worry about the consequences. On the other hand, the censorship department regularly initiated action against conservative influencers when they had opinions that were considered by the left to be “misinformation.” This was particularly the case during the COVID-19 pandemic , when they dissuaded opinions that did not conform to the official Democratic narrative about the disease and vaccines. The company even went as far as blocking an article in the New York Post about Hunter Biden's laptop in 2019 to help Joe Biden win the presidency.
However, this doesn't mean that no accounts belonging to the left were ever shut down. But the most prominent influencers’ and activists' media outlets have not received the same treatment as conservatives’, according to Musk.
It's become clear that the people who were responsible for moderating Twitter’s content were biased toward the left throughout its history. Indeed, Twitter's employees confessed to shadowbanning accounts that advocated for conservative views in an undercover report by Project Veritas (PV), which was also banned under previous direction. Thankfully, Musk reinstated PV’s account.
This is another move in the right direction. For CEO Musk to admit publicly that his company let misinformation slip from the left while penalizing right-wing viewpoints is significant in the sense that it confirms the concerns people have voiced about the company's policies for many years. The progressives of the world can argue that there's no biased social media censorship, but the company’s CEO acknowledged it in an open manner. It is hoped that this will be an additional step towards the ideal that Musk said he would create: a platform that encourages the sharing of many kinds of opinions without bias or censorship.