Twitter is a private company and can do whatever it likes with its platform. It is however completely within bounds to highlight when the company essentially engages in a propaganda mission as it appears was the case here. It is unlikely that tweets would have been censored for some other politician, particularly of a different political stripe. That this was done behind the backs of other senior leadership at Twitter is also interesting. It would have been better if Twitter had been up front about its censorship. I actually don’t think people would have held it against the company. Weeding out the nuts is part of engaging on the Internet. Sometimes, unfortunately, it is necessary. However one should be honest about this.
For the record we at ACC welcome any commentor of any political disposition so long as that person is respectful of the site and other readers.
According to a former senior Twitter employee, Costolo ordered employees to deploy an algorithm (which was built in-house by feeding it thousands of examples of abuse and harassing tweets) that would filter out abusive language directed at Obama. Another source said the media partnerships team also manually censored tweets, noting that Twitter’s public quality-filtering algorithms were inconsistent. Two sources told BuzzFeed News that this decision was kept from senior company employees for fear they would object to the decision.
According to sources, the decision upset some senior employees inside the company who strictly followed Twitter’s long-standing commitment to unfettered free speech.