Twitter Performs Blanket Ban And Hits The Wrong Targets

Image Source: Pixabay

Image Source: Pixabay

Twitter, being one of the biggest social media platforms that seem to refuse to die no matter how low its stocks are, has once again made a big mistake. This time Twitter banned all accounts they deemed as bots. The reason this is important is that a lot of real people’s accounts were also targeted.

Why Is This Happening?

2016 was an iconic moment for US politics. Donald Trump won against his opponents out of sheer publicity and due to the Democrats’ own incompetence and the staggering number of controversies that surrounded their party. And yet after this much, the Democrats instead placed the blame on Russians, who they accused of tampering with the elections one way or another. And one of the angles that being looked at is that the Russians used social media to influence the will of the people and turn them against their fellow Americans.

An investigation soon followed and found that there were indeed some Russian accounts that were rooting for Donald Trump. Any procedure on how they identified these accounts as bots was not disclosed. This was taken as some proof that the Russians did indeed tamper with the election’s outcome. CNN, one of Trump’s most vocal critics, was having a field day. Of course, this sort of sours the relationships between the social media websites, whose owners are mostly left-wing, with the party they belong to.

Wrong Target or Deliberate Attack?

A user calls for transparency on Twitter's methods (Image Source: Twitter)

A user calls for transparency on Twitter’s methods (Image Source: Twitter)

This brings us to the present time, when Twitter went and performed a blanket ban on suspected Russian bots. At first glance, it seems to be the right thing that Twitter should follow. However, when people are cropping up, complaining that they have been banned unjustly by Twitter. People realized that they didn’t know what criteria Twitter was using to locate these so-called “Russian bots.” This quickly spiraled out of control. A huge number of real people’s accounts were banned and many people lost followers. The impact was so great that the hashtag #TwitterLockOut got trending.

Many of the accounts that were notably locked were from Republicans and Trump supporters. There were definitely bots in the list of accounts that got banned but there are many bots that somehow survived, so there are people who are unsure if they were just caught up in the mix or were deliberately being silenced due to their political views. Some people are trying to reach out to Twitter’s Jack Dorsey to be transparent about the procedure and the criteria on how they have judged the accounts if they’re bots or real people. So far, Mr. Dorsey and Twitter have not revealed any of the data people wanted.

It doesn’t help Twitter’s case when recently, Project Veritas, a group dedicated to exposing the media’s wrongdoings, found evidence that Twitter is actively shadowbanning people that don’t align with left-wing politics. For a long time now, this was only a suspicion. But now they got recorded evidence of Twitter employees admitting it.

Twitter’s Dilemma

Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter (Image Source: Forbes)

Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter (Image Source: Forbes)

Bots are what people call autonomous programs the task of which is to perform a pre-set of commands or a set of commands under a certain interval. For example, you can set a bot to post on Twitter once every day for years and unless the computer where the bot is installed encountered difficulties, such as disconnections or loss of power, it will perform that task. Bots can also be infused with machine learning capabilities to act human. This is why there are people who are curious to see what kind of algorithm Twitter used to identify the bots and why it seems to have targeted real people who are conservatives and why there are bots that survived the blanket ban.

Jack Dorsey must answer this or risk being accused of censorship yet again. Twitter’s stock value has increased in the past year reaching $33.06 this month, before falling down again. Last time Twitter’s value was this high was late in October, three years ago. It would be bad if stocks fall down again because of this.