For years, conservatives have claimed that Twitter censors their views; that Twitter has a “left-wing bias” and purposely blocks opinions on the right.
They are only partially correct, however.
Twitter does censor, suspend, and ban users and their tweets. Yes, this is prevalent on the right-wing.
However, Twitter is not a leftist haven either. In fact, Twitter has increased censorship leftist opinions, especially those that are on the more populist brand.
For example, a “Democratic Socialist” candidate for Congress, Joshua Collins, saw a one-week ban on Twitter after quarrelling with Republican congressional candidate Joey Saladino.
What this demonstrates is that Twitter does not have an explicit or implicit bias against the right-wing. Nor does it have a similar bias against the left-wing.
Twitter censors anyone that challenges the status quo from either side of the political spectrum.
The bias against the right
In a discussion on the Joe Rogan podcast, Tim Pool sat down with Jack Dorsey (Twitter CEO) and Vijaya Gadde (Twitter head for legal, policy, and trust and safety).
Pool described the platform as heavily favouring the “left” by enforcing rules such as misgendering. He said many Conservatives do not believe in this, and hence, there exists bias.
So Pool is right, but only partially.
Slavoj Zizek, the most prominent leftist philosopher alive today, is one of the fiercest critics of political correctness. He has, in fact, labelled it as one of the “most dangerous forms of authoritarianism.”
This form of radical liberalism, according to Zizek, has no real place on the actual left-wing. It is a form of liberal political discourse that is used by the establishment to divide people into competing identity camps.
Pool further claims that holding such an immense monopoly over online information, and enforcing its own biased set of vague rules, as Twitter does, are not conducive to free speech.
Gadde responded that Twitter “doesn’t look at the political spectrum of people when looking at their tweets.”
She may be right. However, when your platform already has an inherent bias, anyone who doesn’t wish to conform to this bias is at risk of being expunged.
And according to Pool, that is wrong.
The bias against the left
Leftists on the more populist side of the argument, such as Berniecrats and Marxists, have faced explicit censorship and bias on Twitter.
Joshua Collins, a socialist candidate running for the Democratic nomination for Congress (WA-10), personally faced the wrath of Twitter’s censorship.
Collins has more than 40,000 followers on Twitter. His fame has resulted in numerous fake accounts popping up using his name.
“I attempted to get verification because there were, at one time, five people pretending to be me, with my same display name and profile picture,” Collins told The Post Millennial.
According to him, he should thus be verified. But Twitter changed its rules fairly recently.
The Intercept mentions that “Twitter’s government relations team has been telling candidates seeking verification that they won’t be giving any new contenders a blue checkmark until after they win the state’s primary.”
Mckayla Wilkes, another socialist candidate for Congress, told The Post Millennial, “This leaves unverified candidates who are clearly public figures, like Cory Bush and Paula Jean Swearengin, and gives yet another advantage to incumbents.”
Rebecca Parson, a third socialist candidate for Congress, informed The Post Millennial that this decision by Twitter has, “made it harder to get found by media and to raise money through organic online traffic.” She says this is important for grassroots campaigns like hers.
Collins, Parson, and Wilkes mentioned that Twitter, “seems to make exceptions to their own policy, in opaque and arbitrary ways.”
In another instance, many Berniecrats were unable to check replies to a tweet by the Working Families Party. The WFP chose to endorse Warren over Bernie, and Twitter blocked Berniecrats from viewing replies to the tweet (and hence replying), but others were able to freely reply.
Parson also confirmed she couldn’t see the replies on the tweet.
In a more recent case, Joshua Collins was suspended from Twitter for proving that Joey Saladino, a YouTuber running for Congress as a Republican, drank his own piss in a video and used black people as a prop to propagate racist views.
Censorship affects populists, on the left and right
With the cases highlighted above, it is clear that Twitter’s arbitrary policies and lack of transparency is hindering discourse on its website.
As many on the right and left notice the challenges big-tech poses to discourse and politics in general, they are raising their voices.
It seems like it will only be a matter of time until these voices reach the doors of Congress.
From pointing out ad nauseam that Friday the 13th isn’t anything special (it can happen up to three times a year) and that it’s only about as rare as Thursday the 12th, or that a solar eclipse event is nothing to blink at, Neil DeGrasse Tyson is now weighing in with observations on children’s cartoons.
Not that anybody asked, but the astronomer is at it again by making points nobody ever asked for. The celebrity astrophysicist once celebrated for his down-to-earth explanations of how the universe works, has achieved no small amount of notoriety by taking the fun and mystery out of everything one could conceivably think of.
Tyson took to Twitter late Sunday night to proclaim that the size of Elsa’s eyes in Frozen were disproportionate to the size of her head. “Not that anybody asked, but if Elsa from ‘Frozen’ has a Human-sized Head then she has Horse-sized Eyeballs—occupying 4x the normal volume within her cranium,” he said. “I’m just sayin’.”
No shit. The same could be said of any other character in Frozen—not to mention the fact that snowmen can’t come to life and magic doesn’t exist. It’s not something that needs to be pointed out. But bereft of any real topics to talk about besides fearmongering about climate change and condemning people who marvel at the eclipse but doubt the science of climate change, the only time Tyson enters the public eye is when he makes an obsequious, ornery observation about the obvious.
It wasn’t the only tweet he let loose about the Disney blockbuster. Tyson also pointed out that the scene with the ice harvesters cutting out ice cubes in the opening scene of the movie properly depicted how ice floats “as they should, with about 10% above the surface and 90% below. Just as in icebergs.” Indeed, ice floats.
Not one to simply criticize the movie for its unrealistic body proportions (have you no mind for people with body dysmorphic disorder, Neil?) and unrealistic talking snowmen, Tyson praised the film for “authentically” representing the Northern Lights in the film’s Nordic setting. I am shook.
As with most of his tweets, anything he says tends to go viral because the “f*ck yeah, science!” brigade can’t help but treat his words as gospel. Granted, nothing he said was false, but honestly … how pedestrian. You hate to see it.
Twitter has censored an official video released by RNC Research, which is managed by the Republican Party in the United States. In the video, manufacturing workers in the “blue collar room” praise President Donald Trump for his work on strengthening the US economy.
Subtitled “I’ve seen it getting better and better,” the RNC Research video was flagged by Twitter as a piece of media containing “potentially sensitive content.” Precisely what is “sensitive” about the President’s accomplishments is something only Twitter’s moderation team—and no one else—knows.
The censorship was quickly pointed out by Steve Guest, the GOP’s Rapid Response Director, who was signal boosted by the President’s son, Donald Trump Jr., who wrote: “This is a disgrace. Something we should be celebrating the social media masters are censoring such bullsh*t!”
In recent days, the social media platform has come under fire for its move to crack down on “doctored” videos and other forms of deceptive media, including memes. Journalists in the mainstream media cried foul earlier today over a “deceptively edited” video published by the Mike Bloomberg campaign account that showed him mocking his opponents with the sound of crickets playing in the background.
Following the outcry, a company spokesperson for Twitter told Huffington Post that the Bloomberg video would “likely” be labelled as manipulated media under its new rules, which take effect next month.
The rules may be forthcoming, but Twitter—it seems—is already hard at work to prevent any of Trump’s accomplishments from gaining any traction.
Twitter is working out ways to combat misinformation on the platform, and one of the ideas, per a leaked draft to NBC, is to add warning labels beneath perceived lies and misinformation.
Posts by politicians or their campaigns would be vetted by verified fact-checkers and journalists. Presumably, these people would be entirely objective and able to parse information evenly, cleanly, and without any personal bias whatsoever.
This effort comes in the wake of a rollout of a new policy from Twitter to detect and delete deep fakes and manipulated videos. The new system would also enable something of a social credit component, where “users could earn ‘points’ and a ‘community badge’ if they ‘contribute in good faith and act like a good neighbour’ and ‘provide critical context to help people understand information they see.”
Per NBC, “The points system could prevent trolls or political ideologues from becoming moderators if they differ too often from the broader community in what they mark as false or misleading.” What that means is that one, lone, dissenting voice, that does not go along with the opinion of everyone else, could lose their status as a moderator simply because they are willing to diverge from the group opinion. Having an opinion that differs too often will be reason for invalidation.
That an entire group thinks one thing does not make it true. Truth is not discerned by the number of people who believe it. In fact, the mere fact of total consensus is reason enough to investigate.
Warning labels are present in many aspects of life. They are on both prescription and over the counter drugs, on car seats, side view mirrors, and at the edge of cliffs suggesting we not get too close. Health Canada and the US FDA require ingredients labelling on foods. Tobacco products are covered with images of diseased lungs per government regulation. Information is not something that should come with a warning label.
This is not new, but it is more insidious, given just how much information the public currently consumes. In the 1990s, Tipper Gore advocated for warnings labels to come on albums, and she succeeded. Perhaps nothing was more enticing to a kid than an album with the black and white label reading: Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics. Books by renowned authors like James Joyce were banned for their sexual content.
Tech giants are concerned over their complicity in making misleading or downright incorrect information available for public consumption. They are worried that, as a result of their proprietary algorithms, stories and posts that contain inaccuracies will appear on users’ feeds. What the tech companies want is a corrective. They want to fix it. They want to be able to slap a warning label on there, give it a splashy Pantone shade, and let the issue drop, solved.
If the standard for misinformation were to be applied equally across ideologies, the BuzzFeed’s and Vox’s Twitter feeds would be very colourful indeed. But there’s no reason to believe that will be the case, given past examples. From the dirty Trump dossier to the Covington kids hoax to Jussie Smollett, misinformation flows freely from the woke outlets. And they are always given a pass by big tech.
Andy Ngo had to delete his tweet stating facts from the Human Rights Campaign because they were inconvenient to the progressive narrative. Meghan Murphy is still banned from Twitter for speaking a simple biological truth.
Here’s a thought experiment: How would Twitter categorize this tweet from Hillary Clinton? Is there enough evidence of collusion to warrant her calling Trump Putin’s Puppet?
Twitter’s plan to know what is true based on what the largest quantity of verified moderators believe is true is thoroughly flawed. The plight of heterodox thinkers on Twitter has been well documented, with those who diverge from the common narrative banned or threatened with deletion. Twitter does not know how to discern fact from fiction, and their plan of labelling information with warning labels will stifle truth and discourse, not advance it. The truth is that Twitter is the last place to trust when it comes to the truth.
It seems counter-intuitive to claim that the re-election of the free-speech champion, the notorious politically incorrect jackhammer, Donald Trump, would pave the way to greater censorship rather than greener pastures.
Let me be clear: I’m saying if a Democrat wins in 2020, the first wave of censorship would have proven to be not only an effective political strategy, but it would achieve what Project Veritas has exposed as Silicon Valley’s desire to “change the way people think.” The digital book burners, modern-day tyrants, and behavioral re-educators, could take pause, needing only to tweak the successful model to be re-deployed in future elections, and set on autopilot.
What happens when the king senses his power is fading, and control is slipping from his grasp? Typically, they double-down on the very behavior that makes him the tyrant in the first place. If the past is prologue, then the re-election of Donald Trump will be the breaking point in 2020. The first wave of censorship would be deemed a failure, requiring retaliation and a second wave of expurgation. Unfortunately, what is even more chilling is that the political excommunication will worsen, and Donald Trump will do nothing about it.
According to a recent press pool report, the president applauded the so-called MAGA club. “For 144 days, we set a record stock market. It means 401Ks, it means jobs. Four trillion-dollar companies: Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsoft. You have MAGA. The trillion-dollar club.” Perhaps, he may be more concerned with the flattering numbers of financial success rather than the staggering numbers of banned or demonetized patriots: Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos, Gavin McInnes, Steven Crowder, Laura Loomer, and the list is literally endless.
Within minutes at the Social Media Summit, intended to highlight big tech censorship and biases, the president began to compliment the stock market and skyrocketing 401(k)s. Great, slow hand clap. Unfortunately, Trump’s showmanship on censorship won’t repair the harm done to those banned online, many of which depended on their conservative activism for a living, and ultimately assisted the president in his electoral success.
Is it financial success if the next 50+ years are consumed by technological oppression? None of the major players banned were in attendance even though they are widely credited for the president’s election. Why, are they too controversial? Would it detract from the summit’s purpose? On the contrary, it would have reinforced its objective. But, we as conservatives have allowed the left to designate what is considered fringe within our own party; meanwhile, the radical left runs rampant with no guardrails or moderators, only having drunken cheerleaders on the sidelines.
The left has lost the battle through the judicial system, and they have been unable to materialize hate speech as a legal definition. Consequently, leftist technology companies are embracing the concept of hate speech by creating community guidelines and banishing violators from their platforms.
Recently reported by The Post Millennial, Censored.TV, founded by Vice co-founder Gavin McInnes, has been banned on Facebook and Instagram and it is literally impossible to send links to his channel through private communication or DMs. The leftist behavioral re-educators not only want to control what you post in public and in private, they seek to control how you think about issues through conditioning and intimidation.
According to Statista, 59 percent of the earth’s population is plugged into the world wide web, approximately 4.54 billion people. More than ever these social media platforms and applications are an essential component in our social environment and establishing itself as the modern public square. Ignoring the phenomena of digital gulags would hinder controversial, provocative, and inquisitive thinkers from ever reaching an audience, and without radicals, we wouldn’t have Thomas Jefferson, Martin Luther King, Jr., or the other Martin Luther.
Out of fear of violating conservative orthodoxy and the idolization of free-market absolutism, we are afraid to take meaningful steps in reigning in the political targeting and digital assassination exhibited by those who control information. YouTube, a subsidiary of Google, is the second largest search engine, and many of the conservative firebrands have been de-platformed and deprived of access to a market that many leftist radicals continue to reach and enjoy.
If the right doesn’t take action on censorship in fear of advancing the tentacles of big government, then the Trump phenomenon will fade; meanwhile, the burgeoning tentacles of big tech will strangle conservatism into a slow death, and there are only so many missteps one can make before the fall becomes fatal. Behold America, a new tyranny is amongst us. A citizen-tyranny where fellow Americans report you not to the government, but to a soy-pounding drone tech employee, sifting through content and complaints made for your improper and impure thoughts (posts).
How would the great architects of Western civilization see today’s frenzy of censorship? We have inherited the world’s greatest tradition and we are squandering it to pathological political knuckle-draggers. Aristotle famously said, “Man is by nature a political animal” with the gift of contemplation and the power of morality. It is indisputable that those who have been targeted for censorship are not the hate-mongers they’ve been falsely accused of being. The real hatemongers are hiding in plain sight, like David Duke, Richard Spencer and radical Islamic terrorists. Strangely, they all have been graced with the privilege of maintaining Twitter along with other various social media accounts. Perhaps, it serves the left’s purpose to raise certain individuals to prominence while degrading true conservatives into obscurity.
Aristotle would have probably agreed, to deny a man his political voice, is to deny him his humanity.