Twitter Feature Blocks People Who Criticize Nancy Pelosi

( Twitter has rolled out a safety mode that is completely new to their social media platform.

Safety online is typically a good thing, but apparently, Twitter’s developers didn’t create something that works really well.

This past weekend, Laura Marston, who is a health-care activist, pointed out how this new feature that the social media giant rolled out actually hinders discourse that’s legitimate on their platform.

The incident in question occurred when Marston sent a direct tweet that was aimed to an account connected to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The tweet Marston sent ended up getting her autoblocked by Pelosi’s account.

The account Marston was tweeting at was @TeamPelosi. And the description of that account reads:

“Organize, mobilize and fight #ForThePeople. This is Nancy’s political account. Tweets from her are signed -NP.”

On Sunday, Marston replied to a message that was sent from that account, which read:

“Every single House Democrat voted to cap insulin co-pays at $35 per month, driving down the cost of lifesaving care for diabetics. Shamefully, 193 House Republicans voted NO. No matter the GOP excuses, the votes don’t lie: only the Democratic Party is lowering health care costs.”

Marston, who advocates for the U.S. to made affordable insulin available, tried to add some crucial and important information to the tweet Pelosi didn’t include in her tweet.

The activist wanted to clarify that the bill the House Democrats voted in favor of didn’t actually lower the price of insulin from its current cost of roughly $300 per vial. Instead, it just capped the copayments that people who are able to afford health insurance have to pay.

In other words, people who don’t have health insurance that covers insulin still must pay the exorbitant prices for the medication that saves their life.

Marston was just trying to clarify the tweet that Pelosi sent. She didn’t include any vulgar comments. She didn’t harass the House Speaker. And she didn’t even attack her.

All Marston did was provide additional context in her fair critique of Pelosi’s tweet.

What Marston tweeted was:

“A reminder that the Democrats’ bill does NOT lower insulin’s price from $300+/vial & does NOT apply to the most vulnerable, the uninsured. It’s a copay cap for those privileged enough to have insurance. It’s a guarantee for PhRMA’s insulin profits on the backs of taxpayers.”

When Marston tried to access the @TeamPelosi account on Twitter, she noticed a big message posted that had the headline “Autoblocked by Twitter.” The message that accompanied that read, in part:

“You’re temporarily autoblocked from viewing and interacting with @TeamPelosi’s Tweets. This happened when they were in Safety Mode, and we flagged your interactions as potentially abusive or spammy.”

In other words, tweet any clarifying comments or criticisms at the leader of the liberal party in the House, and you’ll be autoblocked by Twitter.

Try again, Twitter. This “safety mode” feature that you thought would protect people from being subject to harassment and cruelty online isn’t working how you thought it would.

Instead, it’s preventing honest public discourse from taking place between public government officials and the people who they represent.