Shame On Twitter

Twitter’s share price has been falling over the past few days and users who had their tweets censored for various “suspicious” reasons are cheering.

The social media platform said the number daily active users DAU stood at 187 million for the 3rd quarter, but that was up only 1 million users compared to the second quarter that ended with 186 million DAUs. The latest three-month period fell short of an analyst forecast of 196.3 million DAUs.

Could this be because of Twitter’s new, “confounding” censorship policies? But according to the victims of Twitter’s censorship, the policies are not exactly confounding.

Victims of Twitter’s new censorship policies see a pattern. AI guru Li Fei Fei joined Twitter in May this year. Coincidental or otherwise, tweets from various dissidents and exiles got mysteriously censored and user accounts suspended not long after Dr Li began her tour of duty. Those who were affected believe that Twitter is now crawling with Chinese spies.

It is openly used by China’s foreign ministry to discredit American politicians and sing praises for China. Insultingly, the same will never be allowed to happen on Weibo where freedom of speech is considered something dangerous.

Dr Li’s entry into Twitter’s board also seemed especially timely when the anniversary of the Tiananmen incident was so close. Just as some of the cynics had feared, Twitter unceremoniously took down the accounts of Chinese dissidents ahead of the date. Just a coincidence? Bad algorithms? Nothing to do with Dr Li?

Some dissidents remarked that Twitter has become like Weibo. But how much would Twitter stand to lose if affected users stop using it?

But let’s get real, Twitter’s current share price is still nowhere near its 52-week low of $20. The victims of censorship may be celebrating too soon.