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the twitter files continue
once upon a time, on a website not so very far away, there was a fellow named jack.
jack had big plans and grand visions.
but many doubted jack’s dreams. they claimed he was deliberately and systematically censoring expression and dialogue, banning it, blocking it, suppressing it, and preventing it from spreading.
it disappeared from timelines, was buried under warnings, was down modded, and hidden from search and trends.
many, many denizens of the bluebird realm complained of this as they saw their reach and engagement pole axed and halved then halved again while opposing viewpoints were foregrounded.
“why are we getting poison while they get fertilizer?” cried the voices of twitter!
“we do not do that!” said king jack. “that’s crazy talk and this is just a conspiracy theory!”
but jack did not speak true and used sly words to mislead the people, for even in the very proclamation he cited lay the proof of his dishonesty for as his grand viziers and generals were wont to boast: “we’re keeping the conversation healthy!”
but of course, “healthy” can be a slippery term and many a sovereign has deemed it to be “things with which i agree.”
and so the decent begins for in the very fabric of the weasel wordsmithy of the twitter village center lay the evil that would spread to encompass the realm for “bad faith” is a subjective pejorative.
of course, most will say “yes, bad faith is a bad thing” but who may truly discern the faith of others and whom may we trust to adjudicate such faith in partisan times like these?
probably no one.
certainly not these two…
as is now coming to light, this was used to limit the reach of top scientists during a time of urgent debate.
though it is old hat to most twitter users, many are now expressing surprise as this issue makes its way into the mainstream.
but it was always out there if you looked. this is vijaya and kayvon’s own words, cited by jack.
note the vast interlocking field of fire here.
what actions you take including who you follow and who you retweet count for or against you.
if other accounts follow, retweet, mute, or block you (and which ones) count for or against you.
this is a full blown social credit system. if you have the “right” friends, you get preferenced. if you have the “wrong” friends you get suppressed, maybe banished. and they turn this loose on everyone, great and small.
it’s easy to see how, in a site like twitter where social graphs cluster around issues, views, and opinions, how this would near immediately create a durable upper and lower class. it’s an old boy network. a caste system. oh, look, our pal retweeted you, more spread and status for you in our “ranking.” oh, “bad people” spread you and our friends do not like you. you are an untouchable.
even if such a system began with honest intent to create relevancy ranking it will rapidly take on massive and ever increasing subjective slant because SOMEONE is deciding who the “good” people are and who are “baddies” and those people will, unconsciously or no, inject bias.
a noted feline exile was once heard to mutter:
it is easy to become that which you purport to hate.
those who conquer kingdoms by “speaking the truth to power” are, once enthroned, often those least likely to allow truth to be spoken to (or even nearby to) them.
after all, who better to understand the dangers posed to rulers by such truths than those who just used them to supplant the antecedent sovereign?
of course, if the injection of bias is deliberate, this goes bad much, much faster.
and if that injection comes at the behest/demand of government, well, now we are breaking the constitution.
and if our alleged police are interfering with elections, well then we’re into some very dark water indeed. (recall that the FBI was front running this story with warnings of “hacked materials” and “russian disinfo,” a story twitter let spread like mad while suppressing the true tale.)
and it was not just news outlets.
and, of course, if you have former FBI folk working at twitter and literally trying to censor the disclosures going out to “come clean” to reporters, well, woof. that can become quite a stenchous kettle of fish. it’s also just pitch perfect allegory. you couldn’t write it better.
this has been going on for ages.
i can tell you plain: my account was never the same after an innocuous tweet of a model using only published CDC data and demonstrating the (accurate) seasonal variance in covid surges in the US by climate region was RT’d by donald trump (then the president of the US). i was hampered, blocked, search disabled, and my tweets stopped appearing in the timelines of my followers. tweets that used to get 5k likes dropped to 500. THAT is how hard they would step on you.
their denials of “shadowbanning” by calling it “visibility filtering” are like denying “waterboarding” by calling it “enhanced interrogation” and using a beam instead of a board.
you should really read bari’s whole tweet thread HERE on this. it’s worthwhile.
i know much of this is hardly news to those of discerning cattitudes, but i think this is precisely why we’re underestimating what a big deal it is.
most people have never heard this or if they did, thought it was the whining of kooks and conspiracists.
they did not believe it. they never saw it from sources they trusted and with sound evidentiary backing of not just action but intent.
but now they will. and it’s going to keep coming. the depth of this rabbithole is going to astound and if you think twitter is bad, wait until you see facebook. google is probably the worst of all.
this incredible, monolithic gatekeeping and slant has prevented america from knowing its own mind.
this is the very essence and nature of propaganda.
a free, fair, and open public square is going to be jarring for people. they’re going to experience “redshift” and scream “right wing extremism” as the left who has exerted such dominance on censorship is jerked to something closer to center and they perceive the movement in relative terms without knowledge of how slanted and extreme the starting position was. they will experience it as some new coup instead of the ending of their own.
you can see it all over the internet. but ignore it. this is not debate dying. this is dialogue being born.
nature is healing.