By: Daniel John Sobieski
Election meddling, anyone? By “fact-checking” just one tweet by President Donald J. Trump, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey shows he and other social media giants like him have both the power and the desire to swing elections and the power and desire to swing the 2020 election away from Trump and toward the incoherent Joe Biden who probably thinks tweeting is what those honking geese were doing outside his basement window.
That action, along with tagging another Trump tweet commenting on the need for law enforcement and civil and state authorities to confront rioting in Minneapolis as possibly promoting violence interferes with the 2020 election in ways that Vladimir Putin could only dream of. By controlling what we see and hear and know and think about, the Dorseys of the world can influence massive numbers of votes, more than could ever possibly be stolen by fraudulent mail-in voting schemes. Yes, these were in-kind contributions to the DNC and the Biden 2020 campaign, but they were also the tips of a political iceberg that threatens to sink our democracy. No amount of troll farms, hacking, planted bits and the like can interfere in our elections like Twitter, Google, and Facebook have already done and will continue to do unless President Trump gets reelected and controls both houses of Congress to take the necessary remedial legislative action.
Having had one Twitter account permanently suspended for being ardently, and effectively, pro-Trump, with a second account currently temporarily suspended (this piece should do it), I can personally attest to Twitter’s ability and propensity to throttle, censor, and delete conservative thought. Through techniques and tools such as “shadow banning” and ”deboosting” you can pretty much end up tweeting to yourself, or a small limited group of followers.
Nearly two years ago, Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz suggested that Twitter’s ongoing censorship amounted to an in-kind contribution to liberals and Democrats worthy of FEC sanctions Gaetz has suggested that the biased treatment of conservative politicians on Twitter and “errors” that do not seem to affect progressive socialist Democrats may amount to an “in-kind” political contribution:
Rep. Matt Gaetz is considering filing a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) over Twitter’s alleged suppression of his account, the Florida Republican told The Daily Caller News Foundation on Wednesday.
Gaetz was one of several prominent conservatives, including members of Congress and the chair of the Republican National Committee, whose accounts Twitter suppressed by making it harder to find in the site’s search function, a Vice News investigation published Wednesday found.
“Democrats are not being ‘shadow banned’ in the same way,” the report concluded, noting: “Not a single member of the 78-person Progressive Caucus faces the same situation in Twitter’s search.”
Twitter announced in May that the company would rely on “behavior-based signals” to boost the visibility of some accounts and to suppress the visibility of others as part of a step “to improve the health of the public conversation on Twitter.”
And what behavior-based signals would Twitter use? Conservative pro-Trump hashtags or themes perhaps? Indications of conservative support may already be employed in triggering shadow bans:
Covert (and overt) censorship of conservatives and right-wingers has been a reality on Twitter for some time. In January, Twitter employees were caught on camera discussing “shadowbanning” some conservative accounts, and classifying others as “bots” if they made too many tweets about “God, guns, and America.”
Thanks to James O’Keefe of Project Veritas we know some of the details of, methods, and reasons for Twitter’s pro-active censoring of conservatives:
Twitter direct messaging engineer Pranay Singh admitted to mass-banning accounts that express interest in God, guns, and America, during a Project Veritas investigation.
“Just go to a random [Trump] tweet and just look at the followers. They’ll all be like, guns, God, ‘Merica, and with the American flag and the cross,” declared Singh, who was secretly recorded by Project Veritas reporters. “Like, who says that? Who talks like that? It’s for sure a bot.”…
“So if there’s like ‘American, guns,’ [in the account bio] can you write an algorithm to just take all those people out?” asked one undercover reporter.
“Umm, yeah, it’s actually how we do it,” Singh replied. “You look for ‘Trump,’ or ‘America,’ or any of, like, five thousand, like, keywords to describe a redneck, and then you look, and you parse all the messages, all the pictures, and then look for stuff that matches that stuff… You assign a value to each thing, so like Trump would be .5, a picture of a gun would be like 1.5, and if the total comes up above a certain value, then it’s a bot.”
Does Twitter shadowban users who constantly say “Impeach 45” or “Trump is Putin’s puppet?” Planned Parenthood and its ilk are not affected so why should pro-life Christians who support the Second Amendment be? Twitter only shadowbans conservatives. Twitter has also been known to play curious favorites, like the notorious Harvey Weinstein.
Twitter recently exercised its power to censor thought it doesn’t approve of by banning a pro-life ad from then-Tennessee GOP Rep. and Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn because it considered Blackburn’s pro-life rhetoric and denunciation of Planned Parenthood “inflammatory”: These are campaign contributions Jack Dorsey’s thumb is on the election scale tilting it towards liberals and Democrats. Yet nobody is shouting “Twitter, Twitter, Twitter!” like they shouted “Russia, Russia, Russia!”
Jack Dorsey, who has lied to Congress about both his motives and intentions, is not alone in trying to manipulate election results, He has had help in Facebook’s duplicitous Zuckerberg. Facebook once famously censored and branded as “dangerous racists” the iconic Internet duo Diamond and Silk. And don’t forget the wonderful folks at Google who cried the night Hillary lost her inevitable victory. Together, they, not the Russians, pose a threat to our democracy by censoring and deleting information searches and exchanges. As Professor Robert Epstein, Senior Research Psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, former editor-in-chief of “Psychology Today,” and Founder and Director Emeritus of the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies in Massachusetts stated… we quite literally won’t see it coming. As Epstein noted in an interview with Mark Levin on his Fox News show:
If Google’s search results for any reason, are biased to favor one candidate or one party for any reason; that will shift a lot of opinions about that candidate, and that will shift a lot of votes. And in fact, it can shift millions of votes.
It doesn’t matter whether an employee or an executive at Google did this deliberately. The algorithm alone, a computer program could be doing this and it will still affect the outcome of elections. …
In 2016, I set up the first-ever monitoring system that allowed me to look over the shoulders of a diverse group of American voters. There were 95 people in 24 states. I looked at politically oriented searches that these people were conducting on Google, Bing, and Yahoo. I was able to preserve more than 13,000 searches and 98,000 web pages.
And I found very dramatic bias in Google search results — not Bing or Yahoo, just Google’s — favoring Hillary Clinton whom I supported strongly. But the point is, I reported that. I reported what I found and that level of bias was sufficient, I calculated, to have shifted over time, somewhere between 2.6 and 10.4 million votes to Hillary without anyone knowing that this had occurred…
Twitter has gone beyond enforcing rules of civility to enforcing its view of political correctness, punishing conservatives who use social media, particularly those who are good at it.
It is no accident. It is not an “error.” It is intentional. Ever since Twitter’s co-founder expressed regret in inadvertently helping Trump get elected, Twitter has mounted a deliberate campaign to make sure it doesn’t happen again in 2020.
In the age before cable, there was an iconic sci-fi program called The Outer Limits whose opening featured a series of test patterns, flickering screens and a narrator who solemnly intoned, “Do not attempt to adjust your television set. We will control all that you see and hear.” Today that is a chilling reality as social media giants like Twitter routinely censor what people can see and hear on their sites.
Twitter and the other social media giants need to know that George Orwell’s “1984” was a warning, not a technical manual. Its insidious form of censorship goes beyond what even Big Brother could have dreamt of.
* Daniel John Sobieski is a former editorial writer for Investor’s Business Daily and a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Human Events, Reason Magazine, and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.