A former Twitter engineer intimated that the social media giant acts on requests from foreign governments to ban users, reveals undercover footage from Project Veritas released Wednesday as part of a series of covert stings on the company revealing atrocious abuses of privacy by Twitter employees.
Carefully choosing his words, former Twitter engineer Conrado Mirando conveys to an undercover Project Veritas journalist that the company works with countries such as China and Iran to censor users upon request.
In one segment of the video, the undercover journalist asks “Does the Chinese government or anybody, like, do you think they call Twitter and be, like, ‘You need to ban anyone that’s on Twitter that’s from China’?”
Miranda pauses, smiles, and coyly says "I cannot disclose that information."
“What? Why?” the journalist asks, to which Miranda repeats his statement, neither confirming nor denying the practice.
“That’s crazy,” she replies, adding “So, that means yes?”
Miranda replies, smiling: “I did not say that.”
At another point in the discussion, Miranda finally discloses that Twitter acts on requests from foreign governments.
PV Journalist: Normally does Twitter, like, say if someone in Iran calls and is, like, ‘Hey, in our country we need these people banned so that they’re not seen?
PV Journalist: That happens?
Miranda: Yeah. We do that a lot for China... We are actually under constant attack from the Chinese. Like, both Chinese hackers, like, ‘good guys’ and from Chinese government.
PV Journalist: Wow
Miranda: Because sometimes they ask us to take down an account, and we don’t take it down, because we’re, like, at the end of all it, like, anybody say... And then the Chinese government, like, starts to try and hack us, and sometimes they point someone, or like yeah, we actually violated blah, blah, blah. And then, the ‘good guys’ from China start attacking us. It’s a mess.”
On the topic of free speech, the Project Veritas journalist asks Miranda "So, Twitter doesn’t necessarily offer free speech around the world?" to which Miranda replies: No.
As we reported last week, Project Veritas and James O'Keefe dropped the first two parts of their new undercover series which exposed rampant political bias and generally creepy behavior at Twitter. We covered both of them here:
Then on Monday, O'Keefe dropped part 3 of the series which takes the Twitter creepiness to a whole new level. Among other things, four Twitter engineers openly talk about a team of 300-400 people working at Twitter whose sole role is to review your "private" direct messages to create a more complete profile of your personal interests which can be sold to advertisers.
Per the exchange below, Clay Haynes, who was featured in part one of the Twitter exposé, admitted in a January 6, 2018 meeting that Twitter has hired hundreds employees with the express purpose of looking at these “d*ck pics,” stating:
“There’s teams dedicated to it. I mean, we’re talking, we’re talking three or four… at least, three or four hundred people… Yes, they’re paid to look at d*ck pics.”
“I’ve seen way more penises than I’ve ever wanted to see in my life.”
“That’s, yeah… You know, actually… This sounds horrible, but I’m actually glad and fortunate it’s just dicks, it’s just blow job pictures, it’s just that type of stuff.”
Meanwhile, Pranay Singh, a Direct Messaging Engineer for Twitter corroborated Haynes claims and even joked about using someone's private messages for blackmail purposes:
“Everything you send is stored on my server… So all your sex messages and you, like, d*ck pics are on my server now…”
“All your illegitimate wives and, like, all the girls you’ve been f*cking around with, they’re are on my server now… I’m going to send it to your wife, she’s going use it in your divorce.”
“So, what happens is like, you like, write something or post pictures on line, they never go away… Because even after you send them, people are like analyzing them, to see what you are interested in, to see what you are talking about. And they sell that data.”
So, just how intrusive is Twitter? Singh continues...
Twitter Engineer: "So what happens is, like, when you, like, write stuff of when you post pictures online, they never go away. Like, they're always on there."
"Even after you send them, people are analyzing them, to see what you're interested in, to see what you're talking about, and they sell that data."
PV Journalist: "They sell it to who, like advertisers?"
Twitter Engineer: "Advertisers..."
PV Journalist: "Wait, you're talking about just regular tweets or the DMs? Or both?"
Twitter Engineer: "Everything. Anything you post online..."
PV Journalist: "Wow. So even what you think is private, direct message..."
Twitter Engineer: "Yeah, it's all analyzed."
Finally, perhaps no one summarizes this Project Veritas series better than one of Twitter's own engineers: "It is a creepy Big Brother. It’s like a level… I don’t want to say it freaks me out, but it disturbs me."