The Other Shoe Drops: How Will The MSM Deny Twitter’s Viewpoint Censorship Now?

Just as Ethics Alarms was flagging the frantic efforts among the left-biased news media and others to deny the obvious and accurate implications of Twitter’s Hunter Biden laptop story censorship—the social media platform deliberately used its power to mislead the public and bolster Democrats— New York Times refugee Bari Weiss dropped the next metaphorical shoe, reporting on more newly released Twitter documents that show its pre-Elon Musk regime was “creating blacklists, preventing disfavored tweets from trending, and actively limiting the visibility of entire accounts or even trending topics—all in secret, without informing users” and all based on an anti-conservative, pro-progressive agenda.

I can’t wait to see how The Washington Post, Phillip Bump and TechDirt apply Yoo’s Rationalization (“It isn’t what it is”) to muddy the issue this time.

Bari Weiss revealed her conclusions from studying the evidence sent to her by Twitter Avenger Elon Musk in a Twitter stream like the one employed by Matt Taibbi in the earlier revelations—you know, about how the Hunter Biden laptop facts were censored, which the New YorkTimes, Washington Post and the news networks shrugged off as “a nothingburger” because it was “old news,” Hunter Biden didn’t matter, and the laptop story wouldn’t have changed the result of the election anyway, so who cares if was censored by Twitter, and yes, them too?

Here’s what Weiss tweeted out, in more readable form. Weiss attacked screenshots of the documents supporting her conclusions: go to her feed to see them.

Twitter once had a mission “to give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers.” Along the way, barriers nevertheless were erected. Take, for example, Stanford’s Dr. Jay Bhattacharya (@DrJBhattacharya) who argued that Covid lockdowns would harm children. Twitter secretly placed him on a “Trends Blacklist,” which prevented his tweets from trending.r consider the popular right-wing talk show host, Dan Bongino (@dbongino), who at one point was slapped with a “Search Blacklist.” Twitter set the account of conservative activist Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) to “Do Not Amplify.”

Twitter denied that it does such things. In 2018, Twitter’s Vijaya Gadde (then Head of Legal Policy and Trust) and Kayvon Beykpour (Head of Product) said: “We do not shadow ban.” They added: “And we certainly don’t shadow ban based on political viewpoints or ideology.”What many people call “shadow banning,” Twitter executives and employees call “Visibility Filtering” or “VF.” Multiple high-level sources confirmed its meaning. “Think about visibility filtering as being a way for us to suppress what people see to different levels. It’s a very powerful tool,” one senior Twitter employee told us. VF” refers to Twitter’s control over user visibility. It used VF to block searches of individual users; to limit the scope of a particular tweet’s discoverability; to block select users’ posts from ever appearing on the “trending” page; and from inclusion in hashtag searches. All without users’ knowledge. We control visibility quite a bit. And we control the amplification of your content quite a bit. And normal people do not know how much we do,” one Twitter engineer told us. Two additional Twitter employees confirmed.

The group that decided whether to limit the reach of certain users was the Strategic Response Team – Global Escalation Team, or SRT-GET. It often handled up to 200 “cases” a day. But there existed a level beyond official ticketing, beyond the rank-and-file moderators following the company’s policy on paper. That is the “Site Integrity Policy, Policy Escalation Support,” known as “SIP-PES.”This secret group included Head of Legal, Policy, and Trust (Vijaya Gadde), the Global Head of Trust & Safety (Yoel Roth), subsequent CEOs Jack Dorsey and Parag Agrawal, and others.his is where the biggest, most politically sensitive decisions got made. “Think high follower account, controversial,” another Twitter employee told us. For these “there would be no ticket or anything.”

One of the accounts that rose to this level of scrutiny was @libsoftiktok—an account that was on the “Trends Blacklist” and was designated as “Do Not Take Action on User Without Consulting With SIP-PES.” The account—which Chaya Raichik began in November 2020 and now boasts over 1.4 million followers—was subjected to six suspensions in 2022 alone, Raichik says. Each time, Raichik was blocked from posting for as long as a week. Twitter repeatedly informed Raichik that she had been suspended for violating Twitter’s policy against “hateful conduct.” But in an internal SIP-PES memo from October 2022, after her seventh suspension, the committee acknowledged that “LTT has not directly engaged in behavior violative of the Hateful Conduct policy.” The committee justified her suspensions internally by claiming her posts encouraged online harassment of “hospitals and medical providers” by insinuating “that gender-affirming healthcare is equivalent to child abuse or grooming.”

Compare this to what happened when Raichik herself was doxxed on November 21, 2022. A photo of her home with her address was posted in a tweet that has garnered more than 10,000 likes. When Raichik told Twitter that her address had been disseminated she says Twitter Support responded with this message: “We reviewed the reported content, and didn’t find it to be in violation of the Twitter rules.” No action was taken. The doxxing tweet is still up.

In internal Slack messages, Twitter employees spoke of using technicalities to restrict the visibility of tweets and subjects. Here’s Yoel Roth, Twitter’s then Global Head of Trust & Safety, in a direct message to a colleague in early 2021: Six days later, in a direct message with an employee on the Health, Misinformation, Privacy, and Identity research team, Roth requested more research to support expanding “non-removal policy interventions like disabling engagements and deamplification/visibility filtering.” Roth wrote: “The hypothesis underlying much of what we’ve implemented is that if exposure to, e.g., misinformation directly causes harm, we should use remediations that reduce exposure, and limiting the spread/virality of content is a good way to do that.” “We got Jack on board with implementing this for civic integrity in the near term, but we’re going to need to make a more robust case to get this into our repertoire of policy remediations – especially for other policy domains.”

Weiss goes on to say that more is coming, and directs readers to The Free Press for updates.

Observations:

  • Well, Mr. Bump, TechDirt and the rest—what excuse will you a try now to claim that Twitter’s partisan censorship was a “nothingburger”? The suspense is killing me! (Assholes.)
  • Former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey denied under oath in his testimony to Congress that Twitter engaged in “shadowbanning.”
  • Ethics Alarms saw its Twitter links to posts here drop suddenly in 2017, right around the time the Progressive Borg members fled this blog and Facebook banned me from linking any posts there. Traffic here has never recovered.
  • The LibsofTikTok does nothing but repost what radical progressives and especially LGTBQ fanatics post themselves. Banning that sight is literally based on the contention that informing the public of facts is “hateful.”
  • Fox News regular Dan Bogino, whom the mainstream media typically calls “far right” (he’s just a conservative), justifiably flipped out over the latest Twitter smoking guns, tweeting, “All you media clowns and goons and nuts who told me I was the crazy conspiracy theorist, tell me we live in a free country….This is some Soviet-style bullshit right here.”

Indeed.

21 thoughts on “The Other Shoe Drops: How Will The MSM Deny Twitter’s Viewpoint Censorship Now?

  1. Okay. I acknowledge that this qualifies as a rant. However, rants can be cathartic.

    The “Free Press” is failing us again or more accurately stated: continues to fail us. The US being the American people. “Democracy Dies in Darkness”. True, but who is casting that shroud of darkness upon the country?

    Our Founding Fathers were aware of the might and necessity of the “power of the pen” as they set upon their task to form the country’s government. So much so that they felt it necessary to address it as a preeminent limitation of government’s power. But why did they feel so strongly of the need for a free press? Perhaps Thomas Paine said it best:

    “Society in every state is a blessing, but government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one. The trade of governing has always been monopolized by the most ignorant and the most rascally individuals of mankind.”

    In other words, while they accepted the need for government, they feared any form of it because of the power it held over the people it governed, and those with that level of power should never be trusted. They knew that for a society to remain free, that power must be held in constant check and believed that a free press was the best weapon a society could wield against the abomination into which any government can morph.

    However, our press has abdicated that responsibility years ago. The profession designed to protect democracy; to speak truth to power, has become a threat to it. They have sheathed their protective pens, have abandoned the everlasting fight, and have willingly joined forces with the powerful of one particular political ideology to the extreme detriment of the society it was designed to serve. They now project a near united front to protect progressive ideology; failing time and time again to questions the motives, agendas and growing power of the only organization capable of destroying America … its own government. THEY have become the abomination.

    The parallels to George Orwell’s 1984 are frightfully easy to make. Not due to any precognition on Orwell’s part, but simply because this is the inevitability of any society where its people become too lazy or too ignorant or too apathetic, and allows the press, designed to protect our freedoms in spite of ourselves, to be coopted by an all-powerful government. Time is running out before the parallels become the reality.

    A free press is the best weapon a free society has to protect itself from an over-reaching government, but not the only weapon. It is just that a pen is a lot less bloody to wield than the alternatives. This is not a threat. It is an acknowledgement that a significant portion of America could be approaching a “Bite Me!” moment if we do not wake up, remove the shroud, and reestablish a truly Free Press.

    • How long has the press been like this? Is it just recently, or do we just recognize it now because of alternative sources of news? Remember, Orwell based 1984 on the BBC in 1948. The press has been like this for a long time.

      • It clearly goes back at least as far as 1940, when Humbert Wolfe, the author of the following, died:-

        You cannot hope to bribe or twist,
        thank God! the British journalist.
        But, seeing what the man will do
        unbribed, there’s no occasion to.

      • The press has been biased for decades, possibly since the founding (the majority of colonies did not back independence from England). Bias does not mean wrong. It simply means that the opinions are suspect, … lacking all information. However, what the press also lacked was an ability to silence and direct opposing opinions. The progressive left, through social media and the monolithic press, now has that ability. The fact that they have chosen to use their new founded power to silence rather than confront or realistically oppose their opposition tells me all I need to know as to where they stand on the concept of, We the People.

    • We should all begin to eschew the term Journalist and use propagandist. There could be a number of persons practicing journalism and we should not characterize them incorrectly but for the majority we should call them what they are, propagandists. We should not use pejoratives such as hack or other adjective that denigrates them. Those terms get no traction. Acknowledge their ability to manipulate public opinion which is what propagandists do. Use the truth against them.

  2. Anyone who doesn’t agree with every bullet point in the Progressive agenda is considered Far Right. Kyrsten Sinema just changed her political affiliation to Independent and social media is all over her, accusing her of being a DINO.

    To them, there are only two political affiliations in this country – the correct one and Nazis.

    So they will do what they’ve been doing – Deny, Rationalize, Attack the Messenger, Misrepresent the Facts.

  3. Lest we forget Hitler’s “big lie:” if you say it often enough and loud enough people will begin to believe it. Who are our Nazis now?s The progressives, the Woke, the tainted media. And they have the chutzpa to call Conservatives Nazis. Great game, but a dangerous and potentially deadly one.

  4. Twitter must have a random name generator for their “committees.” Incredible. Terrifying. Don’t they have any sense of self, any awareness of living out “1984?”

    • Of course, the Soviets and other Commie regimes are big on committees and giving them hilarious names. They are likely their best product.

  5. It could rain shoes for forty days and forty nights, but these people will never admit what they’re up to. They are revolutionaries. The struggle is endless.

  6. Certainly, a free press is critical to achieving and maintaining a well- informed populace, but the “best weapon a free society has to protect itself from an over-reaching government” is in following the Constitutional structure of the republic the Founders created, which has been steadily eroded by successive generations of power-hungry politicians and enabled by an increasingly self-absorbed, distracted and apathetic public. The Senate no longer represents the interests of the States. The House has become a career for many. Presidents like Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Barack Obama and now Joe Biden have successively distorted and expanded the Constitutional office of the Presidency into an executive branch that is a virtual elected monarchy. The U.S. President and his executive departments now exercise much more power over the American people than King George III and his ministers exercised over the American colonists.
    I certainly agree with Bill Wolf that a “Bite me!” moment is looming and in fact inevitable unless a massive course correction begins soon. Once the soap box, the ballot box and the jury box have been rendered ineffective, only the cartridge box remains. The only alternative I see is if the freedom-loving states persuade the socialism-loving states to go their own way in a “national divorce.” May God help us all.

  7. Inevitably, they will take the cynical rout of pretending like this has all been known and is just old news and they’ll also take the tack that “this is just how the game is played!”.

  8. For the record, I overall approve of Libs of TikTok. However, it does also present opinions along with the postings, and has in one instance (which it’s opponents use accuse it of making stuff up) been taken in by a false claim (I think it was intended as satire originally) about a teacher celebrating furry identities. The woke left lies about what they do honestly reveal constantly however, because there are no enemies on the left for them. I have seen a few nominally left wing people turn against their fringe over the transgender movements excesses.

    I could never find any corroborating evidence from any other source of the 4th grade Teacher who was happy about a hugely disproportionate number if his students coming out. Every site mentioning it circled back to a LTT post based on an anonymous source. I absolutely detest anonymous sources, and especially webs of citations that all lead back to a single source, but at least LTT doesn’t claim to be a journalist. In that instance, I was more annoyed by the right wing media which treated it as authoritative.

  9. Jack wrote:

    Fox News regular Dan Bogino, whom the mainstream media typically calls “far right” (he’s just a conservative), justifiably flipped out over the latest Twitter smoking guns, tweeting, “All you media clowns and goons and nuts who told me I was the crazy conspiracy theorist, tell me we live in a free country….This is some Soviet-style bullshit right here.”

    Is there anyone to the right of Asa Hutchinson who is not “far right?” This is another one of those terms, along with things like “MAGA” and “racist” and “homophobe” that have lost their meanings or been completely redefined to mean something other than their original definition. This redefinition of language to conform to the desires of the radical left is possibly the most damaging thing done to public discourse in recent decades, and the press has driven and amplified it, even going so far as rewriting their manuals of style and encouraging dictionaries to define words and terms to their preferred shape.

    Twitter is, in my view, a primary driver of this behavior, possibly even the most significant of them all. It encourages the formation of digital mobs to assail speakers and challenge their sympathizers to change meanings to more easily vilify their opponents. But for Twitter, I doubt that many of these changes would ever have made it to the mainstream.

    It is difficult to measure the impact of a social media site organized the way Twitter is, and these now-revealed machinations of censorship, throttling, “shadow-banning,” and other techniques to reduce the impact of disfavored commentary are quite possibly the biggest reason for the ascension of the political fringes, both left and right. The amount of harm this one platform has done to our body politic is only beginning to be revealed, and like with Pandora, there’s no way to put the parade of horribles from Twitter’s actions back into the box.

    I have been fond of saying over the years, mostly seriously, “Twitter is the Devil.” What we see here is exactly what I meant by that.

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