By: Daniel John Sobieski
Are Jack Dorsey, who has lied to Congress, and Mark Zuckerberg, who has no love for freedom, democracy, and the Constitution, Russian assets? President Donald Trump was accused of being a Russian asset because Moscow’s operatives tried to influence American opinion by buying a few thousand dollars of Facebook ads while fake Twitter accounts planted dubious stories. So how are Twitter and Facebook not meddling in our elections by suppressing a major American newspaper’s URL for a story deemed harmful to one candidate in a presidential election?
If there ever was any doubt that the social media tech giants Twitter and Facebook were trying to meddle in the 2020 election in ways Russia’s Vladimir Putin could never dream of, and throw it to Joe Biden and the Democrats, their censorship of the New York Post bombshell that Ukraine officials were trying to, yes, literally buy influence with Joe Biden through his son Hunter Biden, removed it. As the New York Post itself reported:
Both Twitter and Facebook took extraordinary censorship measures against The Post on Wednesday over its exposés about Hunter Biden’s emails — with Twitter baselessly charging that “hacked materials” were used.
The suppression effort came despite presidential candidate Joe Biden’s campaign merely denying that he had anything on his “official schedules” about meeting a Ukrainian energy executive in 2015 — along with zero claims that his son’s computer had been hacked.
The Post’s primary Twitter account was locked as of 2:20 p.m. Wednesday because its articles about the messages obtained from Biden’s laptop broke the social network’s rules against “distribution of hacked material,” according to an email The Post received from Twitter.
Twitter also blocked users from sharing the link to The Post article indicating that Hunter Biden introduced Joe Biden to the Ukrainian businessman, calling the link “potentially harmful.”
Now Twitter and Facebook never had a problem with articles, tweets, and posts accusing President Trump of colluding with the Russians or conducting a #quid pro quo” anti-Biden scheme with Ukraine officials. There was no deleting tweets or posts or locking of accounts when social media was pushing claims of Trump collusion and corruption based on a phony Russian-source dossier paid for by Team Clinton and the DNC. There was no fact-checking on Obama administration leaks designed to falsely indict the Trump administration during the Mueller witch hunt or the Shifty Schiff impeachment hearings and Senate trial. But they certainly do with the extremely credible emails found on Hinter Biden’s own computer, according to the New York Post:
Users who clicked the link on Twitter were shown an alert warning them that the webpage may be “unsafe” and could contain content that would break Twitter’s rules if it were shared directly on the platform.
The extraordinary move came after Facebook said it would limit the spread of The Post’s story on its own platform. The social network added that the story would be eligible for review by independent fact-checkers.
US Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) fired off a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday demanding answers about why the platform “censored” The Post’s reporting.
This is not new, but especially blatant, coming as close to the election as it has and considering the legitimate bombshell details of the story exposing not only the corruption, lies, and hypocrisy of both Joe Biden and the Democrats but the extent to which social media giants Twitter and Facebook and even Google with its search engine have put their giant thumbs on the election scale in favor of one political party and one political candidate, namely Joe Biden.
Twitter and Facebook have long suppressed and deleted conservative thoughts, tweets, and posts containing information they don’t want the public to see. They flag posts they don’t delete outright with “fact-check” marks that take you to “fact-checkers” who will spoon-feed you the liberal version of events. This is Big Brother writ large. This is also an illegal in-kind campaign contribution to Trump’s opponents.
Modern-day campaigns are largely media operations with campaigns raising and spending huge sums on media to get their message out. Censoring campaign commentary and coverage that benefits one side and helps to spread its message while suppressing the other side’s favorable commentary and coverage is an in-kind campaign contribution of incalculable value and effect.
The contents of the damning tweets reported by the New York Post have not been disputed by the Biden campaign and if they are manufactured and false, that should be easy to prove. Would a major American newspaper risk its credibility and very existence for a phony October surprise? They are certainly more credible than the fake Russian dossier that critics of the Post lavishly spread across all media platforms.
And they are damning as they show that Hunter Biden and the rest of what might be called the Biden crime family used Joe Biden’s name and office to enrich themselves and that Joe Biden not only knew about it, but also aided and abetted the crime spree, and benefitted from it himself. Joe Biden has been lying about Ukraine and his very own and very real quid pro quo as well as his and his son Hunter’s corruption. As Andrew McCarthy writes in National Review:
According to a 2015 email, then–vice president Joe Biden met with a top executive at Burisma, the Ukrainian energy firm that paid Biden’s son, Hunter, $50,000 a month to sit on its board. Earlier, the Burisma executive had asked Hunter to use his influence to quell Ukrainian government officials who were trying to extort the company. Months later, Vice President Biden coerced the Ukrainian government into firing a prosecutor who says he was gearing up an investigation of Burisma….
Vice President Biden has insisted repeatedly that he had no involvement in Hunter’s foreign business dealings and never even discussed them with his son.
Yet, in an email on April 17, 2015, Vadym Pozharskyi, the Burisma executive, thanked Hunter for arranging a meeting for him with the vice president in Washington. A few months later, Vice President Biden squeezed the Ukrainian government to fire its prosecutor general, Viktor Shokin, who maintains that his office was preparing to investigate Burisma. Shokin was fired after the vice president threatened to withhold desperately needed American government aid.
Recounting his December 2015 meeting in Kyiv with Ukraine’s then-president, Petro Poroshenko, and then-prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Joe Biden has explained his threat to withhold $1 billion in aid to Ukraine’s financially strapped government:
I looked at them and said: “I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money.” Well, son of a bitch, he got fired!
The former vice president related the incident during a 2018 speech to the Council on Foreign Relations.
That both Hunter and Joe Biden were involved in influence peddling and jeopardizing U.S. national security by exposing themselves to future blackmail is clear from the emails from an unclaimed laptop belonging to Hunter Biden found in a computer repair shop. As McCarthy continues:
… on May 12, 2014, shortly after Hunter Biden joined the Burisma board, Pozharskyi sent an email to Hunter Biden and his business partner, Devon Archer. In it, Pozharskyi explained that Ukrainian officials were pressuring the company — specifically, they were seeking “cash” payments from a man identified in the email as “N.Z.” The initials very likely refer to Zlochevsky, whose first name is rendered in English as Nicholas.
Pozharskyi reminded Hunter that he had informed Hunter on previous occasions that Ukrainian government officials, in unofficial “communications” that “entail blackmailing” N.Z., had indicated that if Burisma did not “cooperate,” N.Z.’s gas-production business would be destroyed by regulatory and other intimidating government action….
On April 17, 2015, Pozharskyi expressed gratitude to Hunter for arranging a meeting for him with Vice President Biden in Washington, D.C. As his email states:
Dear Hunter, thank you for inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent [sic] some time together. It’s really an honor and pleasure. As we spoke yesterday evening, would be great to meet today for a quick coffee. What do you think? I could come to you [sic] office somewhere around noon or so, before or on my way to airport. Best, V
Biden defenders say that no such meeting was on his official calendar, therefore the meeting did not occur. Also not on Biden’s calendar was the January 5, 2017, Oval Office meeting with the likes of Susan Rice, Sally Yates, and President Obama himself in which Biden suggested the Logan Act might be used to frame Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn in the Russia collusion hoax. The coverage of and commentary on that hoax was not censored or fact-checked by Facebook or Twitter in any way because the target was Donald J. Trump. When real provable facts hurt Joe Biden, coverage and commentary are to be suppressed, in effect an in-kind contribution to Joe Biden and, by intending to help oust an incumbent President of the United States in an ongoing coup attempt, arguably seditious.
Election meddling, anyone? By “fact-checking” just tweets by President Donald J. Trump, and censoring stories harmful to his 2020 rival Joe Biden, 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 House 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? 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 helped 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,” Founder and Director Emeritus of the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies in Massachusetts, points out 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. Their 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 freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Human Events, Reason Magazine, and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.