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7 Feb, 2019 01:39

Offended journalist makes Twitter suspend user over ‘learn to code’ career advice

Offended journalist makes Twitter suspend user over ‘learn to code’ career advice

With all of the trolling and abuse that happens daily online, Twitter has revealed some odd priorities when policing its platform, suspending users who jokingly advise jobless journalists that they should “learn to code” instead.

Following recent major layoffs at BuzzFeed and HuffPost, a number of their former employees looking for sympathy online were met with derisive advice to “learn to code” – mirroring the “career advice” offered by journalists during the Obama administration to blue-collar workers who’d lost their jobs.

It was too much for NBC business reporter Ben Popken – who is still employed, mind you – who on Wednesday reported a user who tweeted the phrase at him, for what he called “abusive behavior.”

A mere twenty minutes later, Popken’s ‘abuser’ was suspended by Twitter. The reporter triumphantly tweeted about his success and advised his fellow journalists not to stay silent if they too found themselves targeted in such a terrible way.

When other Twitter users pointed out that reporting someone for telling him to "learn to code" seemed like a major overreaction, Popken changed his tune, assuring everyone that his feelings were not actually hurt and that he already knows how to code, even posting scans from an old children's coding magazine to prove it.

Popken wasn’t the first to complain about the phrase, however. In a statement to the conservative website Breitbart last week, Twitter said that repeated use of the phrase “learn to code” directed at journalists amounted to a “targeted harassment campaign” and therefore was against the platform’s rules.

By comparison, it took Twitter two days to remove some – not all! – death threats against the group of boys from the Covington Catholic High School, who were targeted by a hate campaign online after an edited video misleadingly showed them harassing a Native American elder while wearing pro-Trump MAGA hats.

Also on rt.com Twitter CEO admits platform is left leaning after complaints tech giant gags conservative voices

Twitter has been accused in the past of political bias and. in particular, targeting conservatives. Last year, prominent Republican politicians suddenly went missing from search results on the platform – and the phenomenon only affected conservatives, a VICE magazine review found. Months later, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey admitted that the platform was indeed left-leaning, but said it still operates without bias. 

Also on rt.com Covington students invited to White House amid death, arson & bomb threats

An undercover investigation by right-wing watchdog Project Veritas captured Twitter employees admitting to the bias on camera, however, with one saying that the platform does “shadow ban” accounts it does not like and that the “majority of them” are conservative accounts.

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