Twitter has a new feature that automatically suspends anyone who shares certain meme images – including one of which calls for the implementation of voter ID laws.
Word of this new form of censorship made the rounds today on Gab, an alternative social network to Twitter, after several posters complained that they were subject to 12-hour bans on Twitter for posting an image that reads “Don’t Let Russia Interfere in 2020.” It concludes with the hashtag “#DemandVoterID.”
Several Human Events readers informed us that they were able to replicate the suspensions by tweeting out the image, as were others on Twitter, who tested it on secondary accounts to verify the claim. Independent journalist Aaron Lockhart provided us with evidence of his findings.
“It cost me my first Twitter suspension (12 hours), but I can confirm that there is a particularly aggressive AI at work on Twitter right now,” he says. “It is targeting a particular meme. Robert Barnes shared a tweet from Gab about it. I decided to test it to see if it was rumor or true. My account was suspended for “violating [our] rules against posting misleading information about voting.”
Another reader says that he sent his senator a tweet asking him to support voter ID with the image attached. “Surely this is illegal electoral interference with my ability to communicate with my member of congress,” he suggested.
What’s certain is that the highly aggressive system is being deliberately used to target conservative support for Voter ID laws.
It is unclear whether Twitter is suspending anyone who posts an image that’s already been flagged by the system, or whether the social media platform has implemented a way to read text within any given image. Regardless of whether it is one or the other, what’s certain is that the highly aggressive system is being deliberately used to target conservative support for Voter ID laws.
The call for Voter ID laws is a contentious political topic that has divided lines between conservatives and liberals, the latter of whom argue that requiring some form of voter ID is indeed a form of “voter suppression.” According to a survey conducted by The Atlantic and the Public Religion Research Institute, black and Hispanic Americans are “more likely than white to face barriers at the polls,” as a result of any such requirement.
A major study published in 2014, as reported by the National Review, shows that about one-quarter of non-citizens who participated in the survey were registered to vote – favoring Democratic candidates by a landslide. It stands to reason that Democrats benefit from the participation of non-citizens that the party would be opposed to any form of Voter ID laws.
In an ironic twist, it’s concerning therefore that Twitter is now attempting to suppress the voices of any American citizens calling for the preservation of democracy in the United States from being undermined by forces both foreign and hostile.
Ian Miles Cheong is the managing editor of Human Events.