Former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo had secretly ordered employees to filter out abusive and hateful replies to US President Barack Obama during the May 2015 #AskPOTUS town hall meeting, the media reported on Friday.
Don't Miss: See the first leaked Black Friday 2016 Ad
According to Buzzfeed, Costolo asked employees to deploy an algorithm which was built in-house to filter out abusive language directed at Obama.
"Another source said the media partnerships team also manually censored tweets, noting that Twitter's public quality-filtering algorithms were inconsistent," the report added.
The decision was kept secret from senior employees who followed Twitter as long-standing commitment to free speech.
After a month Obama's town hall meeting, Costolo stepped down as CEO.
In an exit interview with The Guardian, he defended Twitter's commitment to free speech, saying that "I will say directly that I think regulation is a threat to free speech".
In its early years, Twitter took several stands against censorship, even in the WikiLeaks case.
Update: David Costolo denies the allegation made by the Buzzfeed story and Twitter posted a statement, you can read below.
1/ Total nonsense and laughably false as anybody who would speak on the record would tell you. Absurd.
Not even going to link to it.— dick costolo (@dickc) August 11, 2016
2/ shows a lack of understanding of the very basics of how trust and safety works at Twitter. Sensationalist nonsense.— dick costolo (@dickc) August 11, 2016
Twitter statement in response to Buzzfeed story:
Don't Miss: iPhone 8: Everything You Need to Know
In response to today’s BuzzFeed story on safety, we were contacted just last night for comment and obviously had not seen any part of the story until we read it today. We feel there are inaccuracies in the details and unfair portrayals but rather than go back and forth with BuzzFeed, we are going to continue our work on making Twitter a safer place. There is a lot of work to do but please know we are committed, focused, and will have updates to share soon.