Facebook and Twitter are purportedly stopping a handful of GOP lawmakers from getting verified on their platforms.
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In this photo illustration, social media apps are seen on a mobile phone on July 29, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. Turkey’s parliament passed a new law Wednesday, to regulate social media content. The law will require foreign social media companies to have an appointed Turkish-based representative to deal with any concerns authorities have over content.
According to the New York Post, the terms the aforementioned lawmakers are using are “stifled” and “censored,” as they seem to struggle to get the coveted blue check beside their names on their social media accounts. Among these is Republican councilwoman Inna Vernikov (Brooklyn), who says that her request to be verified on Twitter was “denied without an explanation.”
She even went on to say that the popular social media platform is “stifling conservative voices,” being a conservative herself. But this wasn’t the only time she complained about her social media platforms being “stifled,” as Facebook notably disabled her account last year in the middle of her campaign.
Other GOP members include councilwoman Vickie Paladino of Queens. She also received a notification from Facebook telling her that her official account was disabled, prompting her chief-of-staff Nicole Kiprilov to say that there’s an apparent “double standard” concerning right-wingers and left-wingers.
According to Kiprilov, it seems to be that right-wing politicians are being “censored more heavily” compared to their left-wing Democrat counterparts, saying that they’re seeing “conservatives shut down all the time on social media.”
Social Media ‘Isn’t Slanted Against Right-Leaning Users’
This statement was made in a report by New York University, which made the rounds last year. It came after then-president Donald Trump and other GOP members routinely criticized Facebook, Twitter, and even YouTube of alleged anti-conservative bias.
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US President Donald Trump speaks during a retreat with Republican lawmakers at Camp David in Thurmont, Maryland, January 6, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB
But as per the report by NYU (via USAToday), it was reportedly found that the aforementioned social media platforms are not against right-wing users. NYU Stern Center deputy director Paul Barrett claimed that there’s no evidence to support these GOP lawmakers’ claims of being suppressed online. The NYU report can be read in full online if you want to check it out.
Read Also: Introduction to Internet Censorship: Its Pros and Cons
Nevertheless, this didn’t stop GOP lawmakers from wanting to push for “censorship lawsuits” shortly after the NYU report was released. In a report by the Associated Press, numerous Republican party members pushed to have social media companies face lawsuits for alleged strict control of content on their platforms.
Being Denied A ‘Verified’ Status Is Better–For Now
Despite the constant pushback from the GOP, Facebook and Twitter have still banned numerous high-profile right-wing politicians over the past few years. Former President Trump is obviously the biggest, but there are also several who got banned because of far more obvious reasons.
Among these is Georgia representative Marjorie Taylor-Greene, who was slapped by multiple social media bans-the latest being just this January-for allegedly spreading COVID-19 misinformation. It was revealed directly by Twitter that Taylor-Greene’s account had “repeated violations” of the platform’s rules concerning information about the pandemic.
They banned the Georgia representative’s account permanently after it incurred five strikes, which is part of Twitter’s new “five strike system” for filtering out COVID-19 misinformation, as reported by Engadget.
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WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 17: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), speaks at a press conference on the border crisis on Capitol Hill on June 17, 2021 in Washington, DC. Republican lawmakers voted against a bill the House passed on Tuesday awarding all law enforcement officers the highest congressional honor for their work during the January 6 Capitol riot.
For now, though, it looks like Facebook and Twitter are only withholding from some Republican lawmakers the chance to get verified, as there are no recent high-profile bans.
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Written by RJ Pierce
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