Getting Bigger: Twitter Expands Test for New Censorship Operation ‘Worldwide’


Twitter launched a new tool that allows users to secretly downvote tweets to see how the company could “better surface the most relevant content,” the platform said in an email to MRC Free Speech America. Twitter will be able to poison tweets that leftists don’t like by moving negative replies to the top and burying favorable comments.

The Verge published a report Feb. 4 headlined, “Twitter expands downvote test worldwide.” The platform initially gave the option to select web users, but will expand it to include iOS and Android users. “Unlike on sites like Reddit, total tallies for upvotes and downvotes aren’t public, but are being used by Twitter behind the scenes to tweak what replies it shows users,” the report said. Panned tweets, in other words, may see mostly negative comments inundating the replies section, a new censorship gambit for the platform. A Jan. 4 report by digital marketing agency Omnicore noted that “American Twitter users are more likely to be Democrats than Republicans,” which suggests that Twitter’s new “downvote” tool is yet another scheme to shut conservatives up. 

We learned a lot about the types of replies you don’t find relevant and we’re expanding this test –– more of you on web and soon iOS and Android will have the option to use reply downvoting.

Downvotes aren’t public, but they’ll help inform us of the content people want to see.

— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) February 3, 2022

An October 2020 Pew Research Center analysis reported that “just 10% of users produced 92% of all tweets from U.S. adults since last November,” and “69% of these highly prolific users identify as Democrats or Democratic-leaning independents.” Is there any doubt about what this means for conservatives who could now be subject to a leftist “downvote” avalanche similar to bees protecting their beehive? As The Verge conceded, “if [the downvotes] became part of Twitter’s algorithm they could be used to silence dissenting opinion.”

Twitter said in a statement provided to MRC Free Speech America that its “experiment” is in its learning stage and does “not impact how replies are ordered.” But how Twitter orders replies in the future could be subject to change:

We are still in the learning stage of this experiment and are looking to gain a better understanding of how Reply Downvoting could help us better surface the most relevant content for people on Twitter in the future. At this stage in the experiment down votes are private and do not impact how replies are ordered, [emphasis added.]

But the “downvote” experiment is not the only censorship initiative Twitter started. The platform launched Birdwatch, which “‘allows people to identify information in Tweets they believe is misleading and write notes that provide informative context,’” according to a blog post by Twitter Vice President of Product Keith Coleman in January 2021. “‘We believe this approach has the potential to respond quickly when misleading information spreads, adding context that people trust and find valuable.’” Twitter’s history of playing ball for the left informs how the platform may weaponize its new tools for its ongoing war against free speech and conservatives online.

Conservatives are under attack. Contact Twitter at (415) 222-9670 and demand that Big Tech be held to account to mirror the First Amendment. If you have been censored, contact us at the Media Research Center contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.

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