GOP congressman sues Twitter for shadow-bans, discrimination against conservatives

California Republican Rep. Devin Nunes is taking Twitter to court for the social media giant’s alleged discrimination against himself and other prominent conservatives through shadow-banning and other means.

Last summer, Nunes was one of several Republican lawmakers and GOP leaders whose Twitter accounts had disappeared from the drop-down menu that normally populates when typing in a name, without comparable figures such as Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez or any of the 78-member Progressive Caucus being affected. Twitter soon corrected the problem and denied it engaged in shadow-banning (the practice of restricting a user’s visibility without notifying him or her).

The company claimed it simply “rank[s] tweets and search results” to ensure content is “immediately relevant” based on a number of factors, including whether a user “intend[s] to manipulate or divide the conversation.” Such tweets are determined based on whether an account appears to be a real person (as determined via email addresses, profile pictures, etc.), whom it follows and retweets, and how other accounts mute, follow, block, or retweet it.

On Monday, Nunes filed a complaint in Virginia state court accusing Twitter of attempting to undermine his work as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Fox News reports.

“Twitter is a machine,” Nunes’ attorney, Steven Biss told Fox. “It is a modern-day Tammany Hall. Congressman Nunes intends to hold Twitter fully accountable for its abusive behavior and misconduct.”