Ives supporters blocked on Twitter, called right-wing “propaganda bots”
Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) wonders what would compel a social media company with worldwide reach to zoom its focus on a local, primary election.
“What are they so afraid of? I really want to know that,” Ives told the Prairie State Wire of reports some Twitter accounts were instantly suspended or frozen when they started tweeting posts in favor of her conservative platform during her run against Gov. Bruce Rauner earlier this year. “It’s very concerning and hopefully now that more people are talking about it we’ll start to get some answers and voters will get the fairness that they deserve.”
The Associated Press reported Twitter officials cited the “frequency and relentlessness” of messages in choosing what accounts to shut down, targeting those suspected of being automated or robot-like in operation.
In Ives’ campaign specifically, news stories around the time the accounts were closed warned that right-wing “propaganda bots” were trying to influence the election in the same way many suspect they were used during the 2016 elections.
In all, Twitter now says it has identified and challenged nearly 10 million suspected bot or spam accounts over the last four months.
More recently, Facebook also detailed how it has removed at least 32 fake accounts, all of them suspected of being created in Russia with the aim of manipulating any stateside races that it can.
While Ives insists she is for fair elections and democracy as much as anyone, she demands that the process for choosing which accounts are considered suspect be a fair one.
Recent actions by Twitter and Facebook have drawn sharp criticism from conservatives, who accuse them and others of having a liberal bias and seeking to impose censorship.
In a recent statement, Twitter executives acknowledged that there have been some “false positives” in its crackdown, adding “our goal is to learn fast and make our processes and tools smarter.”