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Trump promises investigation into Twitter's 'discriminatory and illegal' conservative 'shadow ban
President Donald Trump promised to look into Twitter's alleged "shadow banning" of some conservatives. (Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images)

Trump promises investigation into Twitter's 'discriminatory and illegal' conservative 'shadow ban

President Donald Trump said he will look into reports that Twitter has suppressed some conservative users on the platform with a practice referred to as "shadow banning," according to The Hill.

Trump tweeted early Thursday morning that he had received "many complaints" about the issue.

"Twitter 'SHADOW BANNING' prominent Republicans," Trump wrote. "Not good. We will look into this discriminatory and illegal practice at once! Many complaints."

What is a 'shadow ban?'

A report from Vice News on Wednesday revealed that some well-known conservative politicians and other public figures were not automatically populating in search results when their names were typed in the search bar.

Vice News tested the search function with comparable liberal Democratic users, and all those accounts automatically showed up in the results.

Twitter reportedly had solved the issue as of Thursday.

Who does it impact?

The full range of users impacted by the "shadow ban" is unknown, but Vice News found it affected accounts for Reps. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), and Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.

What has Twitter said about it?

Twitter representatives said the issue is an unintentional result of their efforts to limit the exposure of users who engage in inappropriate, harmful or hateful behavior on the site.

"As we have said before, we do not 'shadowban,' Twitter said in a statement. "We are aware that some accounts are not automatically populating in our search box, and shipping a change to address this."

Kayvon Beykpour, a Twitter product lead, said that Twitter's "behavioral ranking' is the cause of the issue, and that the site doesn't differentiate based on the substance or political view of tweets.

Is Twitter biased against conservatives?

Twitter maintains that it doesn't harbor any political bias against conservatives or in favor of liberals, but some who have been "shadow banned" aren't so sure.

"I feel victimized and violated by a platform that holds itself out to be a public forum," said Rep. Matthew Gaetz (R-Fla.), who according to a spokesman has seen a "significant decrease" in followers and retweets in recent months. "It's really frustrating to think that the marketplace of ideas couldn't accommodate the thoughts and musings that I contribute.

"They keep telling me not to believe my lyin' eyes," Gaetz said. "They said it's a glitch, but it would be one heck of a targeted glitch if it happened to apply to Jim Jordan, Matt Gaetz, Devin Nunes and Mark Meadows."

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