One of the biggest websites in the world may be pushing a bias against conservatives.
Twitter — which ranks 11th overall in web traffic — is being accused of filtering its search results so that it is more difficult to find some prominent conservative voices, left-leaning Gizmodo reported earlier this week. And this is not the first time such charges have been made, to be sure.
When searching for some prominent right-wing accounts on Twitter, Gizmodo found that account handles would not pop up — though parody accounts with the same names did. When the search button was clicked after typing in names, tweets from the accounts also would not appear.
The pages were only visible if someone searched the names and then went to the “people” tab.
Notable accounts Gizmodo included were Infowars editor-at-large Paul Joseph Watson, independent journalist Mike Cernovich, and Freedomain Radio founder Stefan Molyneux.
When Breitbart expanded on this report, it also found the same thing was true of Dilbert creator Scott Adams, YouTuber Lauren Southern, One America News correspondent Jack Posobiec, Gateway Pundit founder Jim Hoft, and others.
For the most part, this LifeZette freelancer found the same results as Breitbart and Gizmodo when searching for the prominent pro-Trump Twitter accounts previously named, each of which has over 100,000 followers. The only difference was this: When Watson and Posobiec’s names were searched, their tweets were visible. However, their actual accounts did not appear in the search suggestion — even when their names were typed in completely.
Regardless, the filtering makes all of these accounts and their content more difficult to find — which, in turn, could end up limiting their reach.
This may have something to do with an algorithm tweak that Twitter made two months ago, Gizmodo suggested. Twitter was implementing a filter to demote and limit automatically the reach of “troll-like behavior,” as The Wall Street Journal reported in May. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey also tweeted that his site needed to do a better job helping users “identify credibility.”
“Fundamentally, we need to focus more on the conversational dynamics within Twitter,” he tweeted. “We haven’t paid enough consistent attention here. Better organization, more context, helping to identify credibility, ease of use. Challenging work and would love to hear your thoughts and ideas.”
Other prominent websites have been accused of bias against conservatives. Earlier this year, reports emerged that YouTube had already spent $25 million to promote what it considered “authoritative” news videos despite past allegations — notably from Dennis Prager and Steven Crowder — that its site intentionally suppressed conservative content.
In addition, tweaks to Facebook’s news feed algorithm in February hindered conservative websites while helping liberal ones, according to The Western Journal and other outlets.
Facebook changed its algorithm to promote news it deemed “trustworthy”; a month later, The Western Journal concluded that left-leaning sites got a 2 percent boost in web traffic from Facebook because of the change.
Meanwhile, conservative sites saw a 14 percent drop in web traffic via Facebook.
Tom Joyce is a freelance writer from the South Shore of Massachusetts. He covers sports, pop culture, and politics and has contributed to The Federalist, Newsday, and other outlets.