Friday, June 17, 2016

Should you be using Twitter to Promote your Election Campaign?

Do you know who you will be voting for this election season?  Well, if you haven't made up your mind, that's okay because Twitter has taken some liberties to make up your mind for you by censoring the accounts of a few people running for office or already in office...and not just in the U.S.

To understand how to find a censored account you should read my blog on how to do a Twitter censorship investigation (if you can search Google, you can figure out how to search Twitter and test for censorship).  The important thing to remember is that when Twitter censors your account other people will no longer be able to search for or find the content you've posted.  The only way they will be able to see what you've posted is by directly visiting your account.

For example, yesterday I noticed that the account for Connecticut State Rep. candidate Christy Matthews @ElectMatthews was censored.  This is video of me conducting the search of her account:




I noticed this morning that the @ElectMatthews is no longer censored, but one thing I know about censored accounts is that they are more likely to be censored again in the future.  They are also likely to be connected in some way (i.e. having retweeted or following) with other censored accounts.  So, all I had to do to find my second censored campaign account was to do the test on the accounts that follow Ms. Matthews.

So, what other candidates for public office are being censored?  NY congressional candidate Zephyr Teachout's, @ZephyrTeachout, account was censored yesterday when I did this video and she is still censored this morning:



Further investigation (i.e. going down the list of @GOP followers) showed that one of two campaign accounts for CO congressional candidate George Athanasopoulos (@gjathanas) is currently being censored:





Now let's look at the people already in public office that have had their account censored.  Yesterday I noticed that the @BobluceyNV account for Washoe County Commissioner Bob Lucey was censored (and still is as of this morning):





Also, the @GC4NC14 account for NC Rep. George Cleveland had been censored for the last several days and had only become uncensored this morning:



Now let's take a look at another kind of censorship that Twitter engages in - the account search!

The accounts for @Linda2016gop@Stanton4Liberty, and @MWashington45 all have something in common.  They all want your vote and they all use words like "candidate for GOP," "Libertarian candidate," or "Republican candidate" to describe themselves in their user profile.  However, if you search those terms using Twitter's account search option you won't find these campaign accounts:




It's the same thing for accounts for Stuart Yeowart (@stuyog) and Daniel Morris (@DanMorrisUKIP).  Both use the words "UKIP" and "candidate" in their user profile.  Unfortunately, the following video shows that doing a search for all accounts that contain the words "UKIP" and "candidate" fails to present results for either the @stuyog or @DanMorrisUKIP accounts:





So, if you plan on running for elected office you may want to reconsider using Twitter or else you may find yourself unknowingly censored.  Good luck getting your message across then!