Did Twitter Shadow Ban Ted Cruz?

Did Twitter Shadow Ban Ted Cruz?


With all the talk about Twitter shadow banning conservative commentators, National Review's Jim Geraghty wondered whether the social network also had the gall to go after conservative politicians. So he looked at the number of retweets and likes Senator Ted Cruz's tweets receive on average and compared them to California Democratic Senator Kamala Harris.

Harris has only half of Cruz's followers: 1.5 million versus 3.2 million. As such, you'd expect Cruz to be retweeted more often by his followers. Surprisingly, that's not the case. But that's not even the most shocking part. Look at the difference; it's gigantic.

Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz has more than 3.2 million followers. You would figure that almost every tweet he wrote would get a significant reaction. And yet, as you scroll through his feed, you find most tweets he writes have, collectively, a few hundred retweets and likes at most. Just in the last few days:  259 retweets,  90 retweets,  62 retweets. Cruz’s most retweeted item in the past few days appears to have been  retweeted 416 times.

California Democratic Senator Kamala Harris has 1.5 million followers, roughly half that of Cruz. But almost all of her tweets are shared at a rate three to four times, sometimes as much as forty times, as much as Cruz’s. Her most recent tweets have been retweeted  1,800 times,  1,300 times,  981 times, and  4,000 times.

The number of retweets Sen. Harris' tweets receive is more or less what you'd expect from a politician with 1.5 million followers. Sen. Cruz's stats, however, are extremely pathetic. He should get that number of retweets with a fraction of the followers he has, especially because his supporters tend to be as passionate as President Trump's.

So what can be going on here? Well, it could be that many of Cruz's followers simply never see his tweets. In that case, Twitter hasn't banned him outright; it has simply made him more or less invisible. This practice is called "shadow banning." We know that Twitter uses this method to silence what it deems to be supposedly "controversial" conservative voices.

Is Senator Cruz -- one of the most vocal and well-known conservative politicians in America -- being subjected to this treatment by Twitter? From the looks of it, it seems highly probable.


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