Twitter Accused of 'Throttling Online Donations' to Republican Fundraising Platform by 'Censoring' Links

Twitter has been accused of "throttling online donations" to Republicans after "censoring" links to a political fundraising website.

Matt Whitlock, senior advisor to the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), criticized Twitter yesterday after the organization posted a video claiming to show links to the "WinRed" fundraising platform were seemingly being restricted.

In the clip, a person is seen attempting to share a tweet containing a link to the WinRed website but is then faced with a prompt asking if they wanted to read the article before spreading it to their followers—a legitimate system recently enacted by Twitter that tries to limit circulation of articles that have not previously been opened.

In theory, the social network predicted that it would be a good way to boost "informed discussion" and possibly reduce the spread of misinformation. When unveiled back in June, the concept earned support from Tesla and SpaceX boss Elon Musk.

But according to the NRSC, links to "ActBlue," which is the fundraising platform used by the Democrats, were not being hit with the warnings when trying to share posts. "Twitter is now censoring WinRed links to donate to Republicans. But ActBlue links to donate to Democrats? No problem there!" the Conservative organization said yesterday.

In response, Twitter's official support account suggested the reason for the WinRed limit was the web domain being linked to had contained a blog section.

"The prompt is shown on websites with articles, blog posts, and those that share other information of public relevance. You can still easily Retweet. Because this domain publishes blog content, the prompt appeared. However, given the specific political function of the website and to ensure parity with other similar domains, the prompt will no longer appear when it is shared," Twitter's support account said in a reply.

The excuse was rejected by NRSC officials who noted ActBlue also hosts such content. "A blog you say? Like this ActBlue blog?" wrote Sami Gilkes, deputy digital director of the NRSC, in a tweet, linking to the Democrat site's blog, last updated yesterday.

In a Twitter post that has since attracted hundreds of shares, the Republican fundraising site also appeared to reference the censorship allegations, writing: #FREEWINRED.

Twitter has been contacted for comment by Newsweek.

Whitlock noted the Jack Dorsey-led social network had not apologized for the prompt, which comes as the November 3 election date approaches. As President Trump seeks re-election, polling suggests Democratic candidate Joe Biden's lead is growing.

Whitlock tweeted yesterday: "No apology from Twitter for throttling online donations for Republicans for a full day 13 days before Election Day. And as [Sami Gilkes] noted, ActBlue also published blog content... and somehow escaped the prompt."

Twitter has faced allegations of censorship and suppression from Republican politicians after it moved to stop the spread of an unverified New York Post story last week.

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In this photo illustration, a Twitter logo is displayed on a mobile phone with President Trump's Twitter page shown in the background on May 27, 2020, in Arlington, Virginia. OLIVIER DOULIERY/Getty