Twitter Complains it's Being Censored Amid a Foreign Election: 'Hugely Harmful'
'Twitter is never more important than during democratic elections'
Social media giant Twitter is complaining that it has been blocked in Uganda during the African nation's general election, slamming the move as "hugely harmful."
Twitter publically condemned the shutdown of its service by Ugandan authorities, claiming online censorship is "hugely harmful" and "violate[s] basic human rights and the principles of the #OpenInternet."
The complaint comes after Twitter joined other fellow Big Tech oligarchs in permanently banning President Donald Trump and other prominent conservatives last Friday.
Uganda has blocked social media and messaging apps from Twitter and Facebook during its election.
The move prompted Jack Dorsey's platform to condemn the action, triggering a backlash from many Twitter users who were quick to point out the irony.
"Ahead of the Ugandan election, we're hearing reports that Internet service providers are being ordered to block social media and messaging apps," a tweet from the account of Twitter's Global Policy Team said.
"We strongly condemn internet shutdowns – they are hugely harmful, violate basic human rights and the principles of the #OpenInternet," Twitter said.
Ahead of the Ugandan election, we're hearing reports that Internet service providers are being ordered to block social media and messaging apps.— Twitter Public Policy (@Policy) January 12, 2021
We strongly condemn internet shutdowns – they are hugely harmful, violate basic human rights and the principles of the #OpenInternet.
Earlier this week, the social media giant acknowledged that, "in close coordination with our peers," Twitter "suspended a number of accounts targeting the election in Uganda."
"If we can attribute any of this activity to state-backed actors, we will disclose to our archive of information operations," Twitter said.
Earlier this week, in close coordination with our peers, we suspended a number of accounts targeting the election in Uganda.— Twitter Public Policy (@Policy) January 12, 2021
If we can attribute any of this activity to state-backed actors, we will disclose to our archive of information operations:https://t.co/GB71n4avwm
"Access to information and freedom of expression, including the public conversation on Twitter, is never more important than during democratic processes, particularly elections," said the Twitter Public Policy account.
Access to information and freedom of expression, including the public conversation on Twitter, is never more important than during democratic processes, particularly elections.#UgandaDecides2021 #KeepItOn https://t.co/Q2SJfsFUiD— Twitter Public Policy (@Policy) January 12, 2021
Aside from having permanently banned President Trump from its platform last week, Twitter also suppressed the New York Post’s allegations about Hunter Biden in the run-up to the 2020 election.
The report was factually accurate but obviously damaging to Democrat Joe Biden's campaign.
It also took actions recently that resulted in many conservative accounts reportedly losing thousands of followers.
Conservatives expressed their disbelief at Twitter’s concern over Uganda:
Tell that to the New York Post. https://t.co/iirjDL0BDv— Brad Polumbo 🇺🇸⚽️ 🏳️🌈 (@brad_polumbo) January 12, 2021
You banned the sharing of accurate journalism that was negative for your preferred candidate during the 2020 election, an egregious and dangerous tampering with freedom of expression and the public conversation in the midst of an important democratic process. https://t.co/XK0KpztFxp— Mollie (@MZHemingway) January 12, 2021
Here is Twitter admitting it ("we were just trying to help!")— Allum Bokhari (@LibertarianBlue) January 12, 2021
Uganda: we don't want your help!https://t.co/xXXqPiAusd
Twitter’s decision to ban President Trump from his personal account elicited criticism across the U.S. as well as overseas.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny both denounced the ban.
In my opinion, the decision to ban Trump was based on emotions and personal political preferences.
Don’t tell me he was banned for violating Twitter rules.
I get death threats here every day for many years, and Twitter doesn’t ban anyone (not that I ask for it).
Among the people who have Twitter accounts are cold-blooded murderers (Putin or Maduro) and liars and thieves (Medvedev).
For many years, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have been used as a base for Putin’s ‘”troll factor” and similar groups from other authoritarian countries.
The Daily Wire reported on October 18:
The New York Post’s Twitter account has been suspended since Wednesday and now, Fox Business reports, Twitter has told the outlet that access will not be restored until the Post deletes certain Tweets referencing their Hunter Biden coverage.
As The Daily Wire reported late last week, Twitter blocked users from posting or retweeting certain URLs associated with the Post’s coverage and then abruptly reversed course on the policy, pledging to “make changes to how it handles situations like this in the future” after widespread outcry and threat of a Congressional subpoena.
As far as conservative accounts losing followers, The Daily Wire reported on January 9:
Former acting director of national intelligence Richard Grenell has lost nearly 100,000 followers in the past few days, for example.
Actor James Woods lost 15,000 followers in a day, while actress Kirstie Alley lost 9,000 followers.
In a statement to The Washington Examiner, a Twitter spokesperson said this kind of purge was routine.
“As part of our work to protect the integrity of the conversation on Twitter, we regularly challenge accounts to confirm account details such as email and phone number,” the statement said.
“Until the accounts confirm additional account information, they are in a locked state and do not count towards follower counts.”