Oh, this is enlightening.
Courtesy of Motherboard:
At a Twitter all-hands meeting on March 22, an employee asked a blunt question: Twitter has largely eradicated Islamic State propaganda off its platform. Why can’t it do the same for white supremacist content?
An executive responded by explaining that Twitter follows the law, and a technical employee who works on machine learning and artificial intelligence issues went up to the mic to add some context. (As Motherboard has previously reported, algorithms are the next great hope for platforms trying to moderate the posts of their hundreds of millions, or billions, of users.)
With every sort of content filter, there is a tradeoff, he explained. When a platform aggressively enforces against ISIS content, for instance, it can also flag innocent accounts as well, such as Arabic language broadcasters. Society, in general, accepts the benefit of banning ISIS for inconveniencing some others, he said.
In separate discussions verified by Motherboard, that employee said Twitter hasn’t taken the same aggressive approach to white supremacist content because the collateral accounts that are impacted can, in some instances, be Republican politicians.
The employee argued that, on a technical level, content from Republican politicians could get swept up by algorithms aggressively removing white supremacist material. Banning politicians wouldn’t be accepted by society as a trade-off for flagging all of the white supremacist propaganda, he argued.
Of course, official Twitter spokespeople disagree with this assessment, but they kind of have to, don’t they?
In a nutshell, according to this employee, who does not appear to have a reason to lie, Twitter cannot reliably tell the difference between the rantings of a white supremacist and the rantings of a GOP politician.
And to be fair, who can?
I imagine that if Twitter tried to use the same tactics for white supremacists that they used against ISIS that one of the first to be banned would be this guy.
But seriously, would that be so bad?