Tag Archives: Social media censorship

Will Twitter Become an Ocean of Suck? By Matt Taibbi

Or a bay of banal, an island of idiocy, a sea of superficial, or a gulf of gratuitous glib? SLL will never know because SLL eschews social media. From Matt Taibbi at taibbi.substack.com:

The resignation of Jack Dorsey is the latest plot point in the story of the Internet’s transformation, from democratizing tool to instrument of elite control

 

Jack Dorsey, the extend-o-bearded CEO who co-founded Twitter and whose fame grew with that of his increasingly powerful platform during the Trump years, resigned today. His departure is the latest plot point in a long-developing Internet tragicomedy, which has seen what was supposed to be a historically democratizing technological tool transformed into a dystopian force for censorship and control. The departure of Dorsey, the rare CEO who not only has a conscience but appears to consult it more than once every few years, is bad news for those who already had complaints about the company, which during his tenure came to occupy a central role in what’s left of American intellectual culture.

Twitter avatar for @jackjack⚡️ @jack

not sure anyone has heard but, I resigned from Twitter

Image

Twitter under Dorsey suffered from working too well. Specifically, society responded to Donald Trump’s Tweet-driven 2016 presidential campaign as if it revealed a defect in the platform that needed fixing when actually Trump’s election was proof that Twitter was working much as intended. Our political establishment just wasn’t looking for that sort of functionality.

The original concept of Twitter was egalitarian, flattening, and iconoclastic: “To give everyone the power to create and share ideas, instantly, without barriers.” That mantra fit with then-CEO Dick Costolo’s 2010 claim that “We’re the free speech wing of the free speech party.”

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Pierre Omidyar’s Financing of the Facebook “Whistleblower” Campaign Reveals a Great Deal, by Glenn Greenwald

Real whistleblowers don’t generally get invited to testify before Britain’s Parliament. They’re generally on the run or in jail. From Glenn Greenwald at greenwald.substack.com:

The internet is the last remaining instrument for dissent and free discourse to thrive outside state and oligarchical control. This campaign aims to put an end to that.

Pierre Omidyar, Founder of eBay, and Publisher of the Intercept looks on during the final session of the annual Clinton Global Initiative meeting in New York, on Thursday, September 23, 2010. (Photo by Ramin Talaie/Corbis via Getty Images)

It is completely unsurprising to learn, as Politico reported last Wednesday, that the major financial supporter of Facebook “whistleblower” Frances Haugen’s sprawling P.R. and legal network coordinating her public campaign is the billionaire founder of EBay, Pierre Omidyar. The Haugen Show continues today as a consortium of carefully cultivated news outlets (including those who have been most devoted to agitating for online censorship: the New York Times’ “tech” unit and NBC News’s “disinformation” team) began publishing the trove of archives she took from Facebook under the self-important title “The Facebook Papers,” while the star herself has traveled to London to testify today to British lawmakers considering a bill to criminally punish tech companies that allow “foul content” or “extremism” — whatever that means — to be published.

On Sunday, Haugen told The New York Times that her own personal Bitcoin wealth means she is relying on “help from nonprofit groups backed by Mr. Omidyar only for travel and similar expenses.” But the paper also confirmed that the firm masterminding Haugen’s public campaign roll-out and complex media strategy, a group “founded by the former Barack Obama aide Bill Burton,” is “being paid by donors, including the nonprofit groups backed by Mr. Omidyar.” He is also a major donor to a shady new group calling itself “Whistleblower Aid” — bizarrely led by anti-Trump lawyer and social media #Resistance star Mark Zaid, who has been one of the most vocal critics of actual whistleblowers Edward Snowden and Julian Assange, both of whose imprisonment he has long demanded — that is now featuring Haugen as its star client.

Omidyar’s net worth is currently estimated to be $22 billion, making him the planet’s 26th richest human being. Like so many billionaires who pledge to give away large parts of their wealth to charity, and who in fact do so, Omidyar’s net worth somehow rapidly grows every year: in 2013, just eight years ago, it was “only” $8 billion: it has almost tripled since then.

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Learning To Fear Free Speech: How Politicians Are Moving To Protect Us From Our Unhealthy Reading Choices, by Jonathan Turley

Inevitable no matter the starting point for censorship, it always ends at the same destination: suppression of truth and any opinions that don’t conform to official propaganda. From Jonathan Turley at jonathanturley.org:

Below is my column in the Hill on the increasing calls for censorship and speech regulation on the Internet.  The most recent push on Capitol Hill surrounds the testimony of former Facebook product manager Frances Haugen who alleges that Facebook has been knowingly harming children through promotion and access to certain sites. For some, the testimony follows a type of Trojan Horse pattern where anti-free speech measures are packaged as public safety measures.  Before embracing the proposals of these senators, the public needs to think long and hard over what is being lost in these “reforms.”

Here is the column:

“Caution: Free Speech May Be Hazardous to Your Health.” Such a rewording of the original 1965 warning on tobacco products could soon appear on social media platforms, if a Senate hearing this week is any indicator. Listening to former Facebook product manager Frances Haugen, senators decried how Facebook is literally killing people by not censoring content, and Haugen proposed a regulatory board to protect the public.

But before we embrace a new “ministry of information” model to protect us from dangerous viewpoints, we may want to consider what we would lose in this Faustian free-speech bargain.

Warnings over the “addiction” and “unhealthy” content of the internet have been building into a movement for years. In July, President Biden slammed Big Tech companies for “killing people” by failing to engage in even greater censorship of free speech on issues related to the pandemic. On Tuesday, many senators were enthralled by Haugen’s testimony because they, too, have long called for greater regulation or censorship. It all began reasonably enough over concerns about violent speech, and then expanded to exploitative speech. However, it continued to expand even further as the regulation of speech became an insatiable appetite for silencing opposing views.

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Enlightened Algos: Democrats Demand Increased Corporate Controls To Protect Citizens From Their Own Dangerous Curiosities, by Jonathan Turley

We simply must not ask questions or seek answers, especially from our rulers. From Jonathan Turley at jonathanturley.org:

Below is my column in USA Today on the recent call by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) for Amazon to steer readers to “true” books on climate change. It is the latest example of Democrat’s embracing a type of  corporate governance model to carry out tasks barred to the government under the Constitution. Companies are now being asked to protect us from our own dangerous interests and inquiries. An array of enlightened algorithms will now watch over citizens to help them make good choices and read “true” things.

Here is the column:

Two centuries ago, rulers sought to convince subjects that they should embrace the notion of “enlightened despotism,” living without rights under the beneficent watch of overlords. Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II summed up the idea with the maxim “everything for the people, nothing by the people.”

Today, we seem to be living in an age of enlightened corporate despotism, where social media and technology companies watch over what we read and what we discuss to protect us from ourselves.

That corporate governance model was on display this month when Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., called on Amazon CEO Andy Jassy to use algorithms to steer readers away from books that spew “misinformation.”

Enlightened algorithms are already responsible for large-scale censorship across social media platforms that reach global audiences. They “stand the wall” as sentinels against dangerous ideas.

Warren argued that people were not listening to the enlightened views of herself and leading experts. Instead, they were reading views of vaccine skeptics by searching Amazon and finding books, including “falsehoods about COVID-19 vaccines and cures, including those written by the most prominent spreaders of misinformation.”

Warren blamed Amazon for failing to limit searches or choices: “This pattern and practice of misbehavior suggests that Amazon is either unwilling or unable to modify its business practices to prevent the spread of falsehoods or the sale of inappropriate products.”

In her letter, Warren gave the company 14 days to change its algorithms to throttle and obstruct efforts to read opposing views.

What was most striking about this incident is that Warren was eager for others to see her efforts to promote a form of censorship.

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Meet The Censored: Ivermectin Critic David Fuller, by Matt Taibbi

Censorship never runs one direction. I generally comes back to bite the people who initially cheered it. From Matt Taibbi at taibbi.substack.com:

They fixed the problem, twice. That’s the good news. The first time filmmaker, former BBC and Channel 4 journalist, and Rebel Wisdom co-founder David Fuller put together a video criticizing ivermectin advocates was on August 4th. Called “Ivermectin For and Against,” it was taken down by YouTube, on the grounds that it constituted medical misinformation.

Fuller appealed the decision for a variety of reasons – more on those later – and won. He continued investigating the subject, and taking on the claims of ivermectin advocates, hoping to conclude with a video called “Vaccines and DarkHorse: A Final Word.” This last piece included footage of well-known ivermectin advocates Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying, whose DarkHorse podcast was previously featured on this site after YouTube banned some of their material.

Of course, Fuller was including the DarkHorse clip – not one of the banned ones, incidentally – to criticize it, not endorse it. But the Google/YouTube algorithm appeared confused, and Fuller’s work was not only taken down, he was also given a strike under YouTube’s “Three Strikes and You’re Out” program. He appealed again, but this time lost, leaving only one option: the media.

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Influential COVID policy skeptic sues Big Tech, feds for censoring his social media posts, by Greg Piper

If a company censors someone at the behest of the government, can the person sue the company on First Amendment grounds? From Greg Piper at justthenews.com:

“Within days” of removals, Biden administration admitted it was pressuring companies to remove “misinformation,” suit says.

An influential COVID policy skeptic followed through on his threat to sue Facebook for suspending his account this summer based on a graphic he posted: “Masking Children is Impractical and Not Backed by Research or Real World Data.”

Identified in a recent MIT paper as one of a handful of “anchors” for the anti-mask network on Twitter, Justin Hart also named Twitter, President Biden, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) as defendants in the lawsuit.

“When the federal government admits to conspiring with social media companies to censor messages with which it disagrees, as it has in this case, both the government and the private companies are guilty of unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination,” it says.

Five days after Facebook suspended Hart’s account, which he also used for business, Twitter suspended his account for commenting on a CDC report that 70% of infected people were wearing masks, according to the suit. “We know that masks don’t protect you … but at some point you have to wonder if they are PART of the problem,” he wrote.

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The War on Free Speech Continues, by Philip Giraldi

It will make things easy when there’s only one source of information allowed—the government. From Philip Giraldi at unz.com:

Government and social media move to block platforms for those promoting “misinformation”

The Biden Administration’s effort to withdraw nearly all US troops from Afghanistan and Iraq before the end of the year is commendable and it is hoped that a departure from Syria will follow soon thereafter, but one must nevertheless be concerned that the overseas moves are being made to concentrate government resources on the domestic war that has already begun. I am, of course, referring to the ongoing efforts being made to extirpate “extremists” among American citizens who have been further identified as largely consisting of “white supremacists.”

As part of the new war, ideas or even demonstrable facts that are considered to be undesirable are being targeted by the government working together with internet resources, most particularly the social media, to attack critics. It is being argued that the alleged provision of “misinformation” is doing actual harm to the country and the American people. Recently, much of the focus has been on the COVID virus, in support of the government’s intention to have all Americans vaccinated and, increasingly, again compelled to be masked when inside buildings that are accessible to the public. These efforts are being supported by media including Facebook, which features pop-ups directing the reader to a “safe” site whenever a piece appears that challenges the government orthodoxy on the spread of the virus.

One might reasonably argue that there is a national public health crisis that is part of a global problem which requires coordinated government intervention, but the actual statistics that reveal the existing low levels of infection and death in most states would not support that contention. And one might also observe that the growing problem involving the regulation of speech and even ideas by government working in cooperation with large corporations is potentially more serious than COVID or any other virus.

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The Battle of the Censors, by James Rickard

The US has two options: heavy censorship favored by social media, or the even heavier censorship favored by the government. We know which option will win. From James Rickards at dailyreckoning.com:

wo sides are attacking free speech, but their arguments are so irrational they end up attacking each other. On one side are Facebook, Google, and the Google-owned YouTube channel. All three have engaged in censorship and suppression of free speech and open debate about the pandemic and vaccines.

Legitimate questions are squashed, and treatments, such as hydroxychloroquine and Ivermectin, cannot be mentioned without the risk of being banned from social media.

On the other side is the Biden administration, which also wants to ban discussion of alternate treatments and completely block any information that raises concerns about so-called COVID “vaccines.”

If social media and the Biden administration both favor censorship, what could they be arguing about?

It turns out that Biden is criticizing Facebook and Google for not censoring enough. Even though social media has squashed legitimate questions and debate, the Biden administration says they should do even more to block “misinformation.”

Of course, what Biden calls “misinformation” is actually legitimate information that Americans should be able to see. Here are some facts…

“Misinformation?” — or Information?

The COVID vaccines have not been approved by the FDA; (they are administered under an Emergency Temporary Standard, ETS). COVID “vaccines” are not true vaccines in the legal or historical sense because they do not prevent the disease; they simply reduce the response to the disease.

The COVID “vaccines” are experimental gene modification treatments that permanently alter certain gene production functions. How many vaxxed people understand that?

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The Shadow State: Twitter Suspends Commentator for Criticizing Vaccine Policies, by Jonathan Turley

The government’s social media arm won’t allow any question of or deviations from the government’s propaganda on Covid. From Jonathan Turley at jonathanturley.org:

Twitter LogoI recently discussed how the Biden Administration was actively encouraging corporations to limit speech and impose vaccine mandates as a type of shadow state. Rather than take such actions directly ( and face both legal and political challenges), the Administration is relying on its close alliance with Big Tech and other companies to carry out such tasks. That surrogate relationship is particularly clear in the expanding censorship program carried out by Twitter, Facebook and other companies. Twitter’s action against political commentator Dave Rubin is an example of how these companies are now dispensing with any pretense in actively barring criticism of government policies and viewpoints.

Rubin was locked out under the common “misinformation” claim by Twitter. However, his tweet was an opinion based on demonstrably true facts. One can certainly disagree with the conclusion but this is an example of core political speech being curtailed by a company with a long history of biased censorship, including the barring of discussions involving Hunter Biden’s laptop before the election.  With a new election looming, these companies appear to be ramping up their censorship efforts.

In his tweet, Rubin stated:

“They want a federal vaccine mandate for vaccines which are clearly not working as promised just weeks ago. People are getting and transmitting Covid despite vax. Plus now they’re prepping us for booster shots. A sane society would take a pause. We do not live in a sane society.”

Even President Biden admitted yesterday that he was wrong weeks ago when he assured people that if they took the vaccine, they would not be at risk for the variants and could dispense with their masks. There are breakthrough cases that have taken many officials by surprise. It is also true that there is now talk of likely booster shots.

Rubin takes those facts and adds his opinion that we should “take a pause.” Twitter declared that to be a violation of its policy “on spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to COVID-19.”

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The US Government Threatens Tech Companies To Push Censorship Agendas, by Caitlin Johnstone

It is not just Facebook that has become a de facto arm of the government, the other big tech companies have as well. From Caitlin Johnstone.com at caitlinjohnstone.com:

The elephant in the room with the ongoing controversy about the Biden administration’s push for more internet censorship is the fact that both the US government and the Silicon Valley tech companies who are being pushed to censor are acutely aware that those companies can be brought to their knees by antitrust cases and other regulation if they don’t censor people’s voices in accordance with the government’s wishes.

After Press Secretary Jen Psaki admitted on Thursday that the administration has given Facebook a list of accounts to ban for spreading “misinformation” about the Covid vaccine, she has now doubled down saying that people who circulate such materials online should be banned from not just one but all social media platforms.

“You shouldn’t be banned from one platform and not others for providing misinformation out there,” Psaki told the press on Friday.

When asked by the press for his thoughts on companies like Facebook, President Biden said the failure of those platforms to adequately censor posts about the vaccine makes them guilty of “killing people”.

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