Twitter Senior Engineering Manager Ian Brown called White House social media director Dan Scavino Jr. “racist” and “anti-immigrant” shortly before Twitter shadow banned multiple prominent conservatives.
“Your seem to be on a bit of a racist, anti-immigrant bender Dan,” Brown replied on July 14 to Scavino’s tweet about Immigrant and Custom Enforcement arrests of human smugglers.
Your seem to be on a bit of a racist, anti-immigrant bender Dan.
— Ian Brown (@igb) July 14, 2018
Scavino’s tweet linked to an ICE press release announcing the arrest of 18 illegal immigrant smugglers and multiple illegal immigrants with prior arrests for “driving under the influence,” “fraud” and “child endangerment.”
Brown’s tweet came eleven days before Twitter came under scrutiny for “shadow banning” conservatives. Shadow banning is a way of limiting the visibility of certain users, in this case preventing the users’ names from appearing in the drop-down search bar.
Republican National Committee Chairman Ronna McDaniel, Republican Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz and several other conservative politicians, reporters and public figures were affected by the shadow ban. (RELATED: Trump Promises Action After Twitter Caught ‘Shadow Banning’ Of Conservatives)
Twitter officials denied the ban had anything to do with politics. “To be clear, our behavioral ranking doesn’t make judgements based on political views or the substance of tweets,” product lead Kayvon Beykpour tweeted Wednesday.
To be clear, our behavioral ranking doesn’t make judgements based on political views or the substance of tweets. We recently publicly testified to Congress on this topic https://t.co/Zk4DL7Q3hq
— Kayvon Beykpour (@kayvz) July 25, 2018
Yet Beykpour himself has tweeted that President Donald Trump’s executive order suspending visas from certain countries was “shameful, racist and unintelligible.”
Heartbreaking, shameful, racist and unintelligible. We are better than this and cannot let this stand. https://t.co/0gZV7jzOFE
— Kayvon Beykpour (@kayvz) January 27, 2017
When asked about the reason for the shadow banning, a Twitter spokesperson pointed Vice to a May 15 blog post that cites “troll-like behavior” as a reason users may not show up in search drop-down menus.
“What we’re talking about today are troll-like behaviors that distort and detract from the public conversation on Twitter,” the post said. “We’re tackling issues of behaviors that distort and detract from the public conversation in those areas by integrating new behavioral signals into how Tweets are presented.”
Twitter appears to no longer be shadow banning prominent Republicans as of Thursday, Vice reported.
Twitter did not respond to a request for comment.
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