The Twitter account of UKIP Leader Gerard Batten has been censored. Mr Batten’s account has undergone a form of censorship known as shadow banning. Shadow banning is the act of blocking a user or their content from an online community such that it will not be readily apparent that they have been banned.
The net effect on Twitter is that the ban locks the account into an echo chamber that heavily restricts the reach of its messages.
There has been a trend for accounts that are perceived to be right-wing to be censored on the platform. Just last Thursday, President Donald Trump called out Twitter, accusing the social network of shadow banning prominent Republican politicians. His reaction came after Vice News reported that Twitter wasn't auto-populating Republicans in its drop-down search box.
The official UKIP account has not been censored, however, UKIP's London Assembly Members, Peter Whittle AM, and David Kurten AM have been. Even UKIP’s Head of Communications Kris Hicks, who has only been in the role for a week found out that his own account was censored.
UKIP Chairman Tony McIntyre commented:
“It’s absolutely outrageous that the leader of a political party is being censored on the platform. Years ago companies would hide behind the excuse of human error. Now it’s supposedly down to algorithms with political biases which block anything to the right of Karl Marx. Twitter is stifling the open discourse necessary for maintaining a free society. UKIP demands that Twitter reverse this censorship immediately in the name of free and open online communication.”