Something that’s never been fully quantified over the years is the extent to which right-leaning voices and content have been suppressed online. While it’s been evidenced by Project Veritas over the years, that algorithms programmed by companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter have minimized the dissemination of conservative-oriented content on their platforms. We’ve not known the full extent of the impact. Some of the most notable examples have occurred on Twitter.
In Project Veritas’s 2018 expose on Twitter, the practice known as “Shadowbanning” was brought to light. In short, Twitter algorithms identified those with right-leaning content, suppressing the reach of posts by individuals. It was during this time I began to experiment myself with the findings. Among the tests I conducted, I posted some content that met all Twitter guidelines but would reflect a conservative viewpoint. I’d then have followers on mine I know check to see if they saw the post in their feeds. More often than not, they couldn’t. If followers of mine couldn’t access the info in their feeds, you know there's no chance the content would show up in the feeds of non-followers. So, enter my experience with Parler over this past weekend prior to the service being shut down.
While I started a Parler account on December 2nd, I’d only posted twice prior to Friday evening. When I saw what was playing out on Friday, I realized the importance of becoming versed in Parler so I fully understood the platform. While I’ve discussed other aspects of the Parler experience, for example, encountering numerous individuals with differing political viewpoints, there’s another dynamic to my findings which merits a conversation. What it was like to not be censored, or throttled, as the case may be.
At the peak of my Twitter account, I had around 4,000 followers. In six years, the peak reach I’ve achieved with a single post was around 10,000 with 677 people “liking" the post. Prior to going to bed Sunday night, I documented my Parler account knowing it would be taken offline. I had 1,900 followers and I made nine posts on the platform. The reach of those posts were: 1,300, 1,700, 1,800, 1,800, 2,100, 2,100 3,200, 29,000, 43,000.
Not a single post with less than 1,300 people viewing it despite having less than half of the following I’ve had on Twitter. The average reach of one of my posts reached 9,555 people. The average of my abbreviated stint on Parler achieved about the max reach of my top post ever on Twitter with half of the following. There’s much more I could dive into but that’s enough from now. It’s clear what the power of Parler was without suppressing my posts and will be once again when they defeat censorship. It’s also clearer what Twitter’s suppression really looks like for those they differ with politically.
Photo by: Getty Images