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Twitter has published what it calls a “crisis misinformation policy” announcing that it will be actively reducing the visibility of content found to be false which pertains to “situations of armed conflict, public health emergencies, and large-scale natural disasters.”
If you’ve been paying attention to the dramatic escalations in online censorship we’ve been seeing in 2022, it will not surprise you to learn that the Ukraine war is the first crisis to which this new censorship policy will be applied.
Twitter says that it “won’t amplify or recommend content” found to violate its new policy, and will also attach warning labels to individual tweets and even hide offending content behind a warning label and disable the retweet function on particularly naughty posts.
The problem here is of course the question of how to impartially establish whether something is objectively false without it turning into at best a flawed system guided by fallible human biases and perceptual filters and at worst a powerful institution shutting down unauthorized speech. Twitter says it formed its new policy with input from unnamed “global experts and human rights organizations,” and will be enforcing it with the help of “conflict monitoring groups, humanitarian organizations, open-source investigators, journalists, and more.” This will come as no comfort to anyone who’s familiar with the history of propaganda peddling that can be found in every single one of those respective categories.
Twitter lists the following examples of the kind of content that will be found in violation of its crisis misinformation policy:
- False coverage or event reporting, or information that mischaracterizes conditions on the ground as a conflict evolves;
- False allegations regarding use of force, incursions on territorial sovereignty, or around the use of weapons;
- Demonstrably false or misleading allegations of war crimes or mass atrocities against specific populations;
- False information regarding international community response, sanctions, defensive actions, or humanitarian operations.
Dorsey's Twitter Resignation Sparks Fears Of More Internet Censorship
Twitter's new CEO has given some indications that he has a lot less interest in free speech than his predecessor and is much more favorable to censorship via algorithm manipulation.https://t.co/zVAPOC0pxp
— Caitlin Johnstone ⏳ (@caitoz) November 30, 2021
When Jack Dorsey resigned as Twitter CEO last November, I noted the warning signs we were seeing that his replacement, Parag Agrawal, supported the use of measures which make unauthorized content much less visible than authorized content without eliminating the unauthorized content altogether.
“There’s a lot of content out there,” Agrawal said in a 2020 interview. “A lot of tweets out there, not all of it gets attention, some subset of it gets attention. And so increasingly our role is moving towards how we recommend content and that sort of, is, is, a struggle that we’re working through in terms of how we make sure these recommendation systems that we’re building, how we direct people’s attention is leading to a healthy public conversation that is most participatory.”
This agenda to “direct people’s attention” toward “healthy public conversation” by controlling how content is “recommended” to viewers echoes the censorship-by-algorithm tactics we’ve seen employed by Facebook, Google, and by Google-owned YouTube. Google has been hiding dissident media in its search results for years, and in 2020 the CEO of Google’s parent company Alphabet admitted to algorithmically throttling World Socialist Website. Last year the CEO of YouTube acknowledged that the platform uses algorithms to elevate “authoritative sources” while suppressing “borderline content” not considered authoritative. Facebook spokeswoman Lauren Svensson said in 2018 that if the platform’s fact-checkers (including the state-funded establishment narrative management firm Atlantic Council) rule that a Facebook user has been posting false news, moderators will “dramatically reduce the distribution of all of their Page-level or domain-level content on Facebook.”
Twitter has generally been the most reluctant of the major platforms to exercise censorship on behalf of the empire, which is what has made it a better source of ideas and information than any other major platform. But now we’re seeing the most pernicious form of online censorship, censorship by manipulation of content visibility, take hold there as well.
The examples given in Twitter's new "crisis misinformation" policy sound like preparation for an escalated or wider war https://t.co/Q5sTDrGsxL pic.twitter.com/xTsM5alSfY
— Joanne Leon (@joanneleon) May 20, 2022
Censorship by visibility manipulation is the most destructive form of online censorship that exists, because its consequences are both so much more far-reaching and so much less attention-grabbing than the controversial act of banning users from platforms or removing their posts. It’s a kind of censorship that people don’t even know is happening, and it’s happening all over the place.
It is deeply disturbing how Silicon Valley megacorporations have simply accepted that it is their job to help the US win a propaganda war against Russia, and how everyone’s just going along with that like it’s fine and normal. Our ability to share ideas and information on the platforms where most people congregate is being increasingly restricted, not on the basis of whether our speech is harmful, or even whether it is true, but on whether it helps or hinders the US propaganda campaign against Russia.
Silicon Valley censorship with the Ukraine war is an unprecedented escalation because they’re not pretending to be doing it to protect people from a virus or to safeguard elections or defend the public good in any way. It’s literally just “Well we can’t have people thinking wrong thoughts about a war,” without even really explaining why that’s important in any coherent and sensical fashion.
There’s no longer any pretense that the internet is being censored to protect the public interest. It’s just open censorship of information about a war, solely because they take it as a given that it’s their job to control the things people think and say about that war. They’re coming right out and saying yes, we are the platforms you come to in order to share ideas and information with your fellow humans, and yes, we are agents of the US empire. This is a dramatic escalation.
'Disinformation' Label Serves to Marginalize Crucial Ukraine Facts https://t.co/f9iQoHXzpT
— FAIR (@FAIRmediawatch) May 18, 2022
All this public hand wringing about misinformation and disinformation is itself disinformation. They’re not worried about the spread of disinformation, they’re worried about the spread of information. Your rulers are not concerned that you’ll start learning false things about Covid or the war in Ukraine, they are worried you’ll start learning true things about your rulers. That’s what all this fuss is really about.
They are locking down our minds and sanitizing our information ecosystem for the protection of the empire. I will keep saying this and saying this for as long as I am able: we’ve got to wake up and stop these bastards before it is too late.
My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following me on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fi, Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. All works co-authored with my American husband Tim Foley.
Ken / May 22, 2022
This all reads like everything that destroyed the anti-war, organised labor, & Socialist movements during President Wilson’s regime with USA’s entry into WW1 and the Creel Commission. Things like anything up 1/2 the soldiers dying on the voyage across the Atlantic from the Kentucky Flu (1918-19 flu).
Is #FreeAssange 2022’s Convict No. 9653, Eugene V Debs?
thorsjackhammer / May 21, 2022
‘Operation Woke-ism’ is being conducted by the establishment controlled oppositions for a reason, and that reason is highly likely the reverse of what it appears to be advocating. Like most of the establishments MSM narratives, you need to reverse their purported goals to get closer to their actual goals.
Vesa / May 21, 2022
Sorry to say but i have lost my faith to people. Most of them are just herd to be guided to direction the master shows. Madness is everywhere, no sense any more to try explain context, history, causes to anybody. Natostan and road to hell is our future. I dont want to try anymore but only concentrate to little nice things like beer after walking in the woods, good music, swimming in lake after.exercise and so on.
Max424 / May 21, 2022
Brain Bertekic at The New Atlas with an update on the current military situation in Ukraine. Will those $40 billion worth of US howitzers make a difference?
If my math is somewhere in the ballbark, I believe this means that each of the M114 155 mm towed howitzers we are sending to the Donbass front, is worth roughly $350 million. It’s must be a helluva weapon, even our untested* Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II multi-role combat aircraft don’t cost that much.
Here’s a picture of the 114 doing the Lord’s work in Vietnam.
The Russian’s don’t stand a chance. They should just give up and evacuate their Army of Occupation into a Nato dentention facility.
*Untested could also mean that it has yet to beaten. It all depends on how you look at it.
Max424 / May 21, 2022
A quick walk next to a busy thoroughfare in Chengdu, population 16 million double-plus.
What stands out in this one? Not much. The usual aspects are on display. Everyone seems peaceful, happy, and contented, there is no garbage on the ground and there are no cops anywhere to be seen; seeing a cop in China is almost as rare as seeing a man in a suit, which to say, almost never.
And of course, whether I like it not, quite often when I’m walking or biking from one place to another along a pedestrian walkway next to major street in a humongously large Chinese city, I find myself in a very quiet place surrounded by greenery. This is not a park, it just looks like one, the park is up ahead, to my left or to my right, the choice will be mine, because no matter which point of the compass I choose to follow, I will be in a park in a matter minutes, because I am surrounded by them.
The oppression I see most overtly on display in China, is their citizens are being forced to walk through parks should they chose to get from Point A to Point B on foot.
There are no other options available for pedestrians.
That said, I link this video because I’ve come to the conclusion that no tree in China is being left behind. If their trunks aren’t being painted white to protect them from the heat, they are wrapped up nice and tight in burlap, to protect them from the cold.
And as is very evident in this video, any tree that needs tri or quad stake support to grow straight and true, will be given it.
Which leads me to the conclusion after 100 hours of grinding virtual forensic analysis of this ongoing China Synthesis, the Communist Party of China cares far more about the health and happiness of its trees than my government does for its citizens.
Realist / May 21, 2022
Wow! With those new standards being applied by Twits-R-Us the American DoD and State Dept will never be able to publish a word about the Ukraine conflict again. Every one of those standards are just routinely violated with the submission of basically nothing but adventure novels by the US gov., kind of like Trudeau’s “Adventures of the Red Rascal” that have long been an important part of Democrat fantasies about all the forever wars represented in the Doonesbury comic strip.
Pap-a-lap / May 21, 2022
Outsourcing the Ministry of Truth – perfect!
WCH / May 21, 2022
I still do not understand why anyone with half a brain is on Twitter. Who gives a shit what idiots write. Move on.
Glenn / May 21, 2022
Trump rallied his people with his “Stop the Steal” rally on January 6.
Biden ran his own “Stop the Steal” campaign by bringing the NATO/Ukraine proxy up to Russia’s borders.
There’s no tactical difference between Trump and Biden.
Both claim to Stop the Steal by Starting the Steal.
He started it! I tell ya. He hit me back first!
Milton / May 21, 2022
Is there a way to search for Twitter-flagged tweets. That’s the info that I would find credible.
svay / May 21, 2022
I first got internet at home around the time PropOrNot issued their list of dodgy websites. I found it quite a good guide as to which were worth looking at.
WillD / May 21, 2022
Extraordinary level of arrogance, or perhaps delusion, that Twitter thinks it can do what no other media organisation or many Western intelligence agencies can do – and that is determine what is really going on in a ‘crisis’ situation, when propaganda, misinformation, disinformation, ignorance, confusion, stupidity, bias, opinion and other things distort the interpretation of such verifiable facts that are available.
Are they going to employ an army of ignorant and poorly paid ‘fact checkers’ like FB? Who will just flag anything and everything they don’t understand or like? And give credence to MSM and other users with blue ticks, regardless of what they say?
I suspect this is also aimed at Musk, as a spoiler of some sort against his anti-censorship stance.
Michael / May 21, 2022
By the criteria that you posted, we won’t be hearing much from Ukraine’s MoD on Twitter anymore.
X Fretensis / May 20, 2022
No WMD’s found in Iraq! “What do you wanna have us do? Give Iraq back?”
Russian troops did not commit atrocities in Bucha. “Hey! They could’ve if they wanted!”
Ukraine troops deserting. “Obviously you dunno nothing about tactics – it’s called redeployment. Deserting and retreating is something the Russkis do”.
Russian economy booming. “Yeah? They don’t know nothing about economics. Gotta go now to get another job to fill the car with fuel”.
Always said – take what the MSM says and turn it 180 degrees. That will be closer to the truth.
Maeve / May 20, 2022
I’m just so disgusted with nihilism today. This administration sending weapons and $40 plus billion to neo-nazis with no accounting, to the most corrupt nation in Europe, while a demented dude can’t even scribble his signature writing off all the student loan debt that has destroyed generations of people. No healthcare, no living wages, colleges only for rich kids. And Silicon Valley infecting the minds of the N. American people drooling in front of their Facebook pages framed by their little little Ukrainian flags. I’m just so disgusted.
Jonathan Pratt / May 20, 2022
As Adam Curtis Points out, Liberal Paternalism of the 1970s was seen as bad from “who watches the watchers” perspective and we got Reagan and Thatcher as populist reaction.
The revolution has to be within. There’s no way to fix all this through broken systems run by crazy people.
Ishkabibble / May 20, 2022
“I will keep saying this and saying this for as long as I am able: we’ve got to wake up and stop these bastards before it is too late.”
Ishkabibble / May 20, 2022
I see it’s still Groundhog Day, so I must also keep saying this and saying this for as long as I am able.
AFTER we “wake up”, just exactly HOW do “we stop these bastards before it’s too late”?
Here’s what you, me, We, the Woke, We Who Already Understand What’s Going On, We Who Want A Better, Healthier World are eventually going to HAVE TO DO because
there. is. no. other. way! to remove our warmongering, false-narrative-creating oppressors’ 536 Rs and Ds from federal elected positions of power. (If you know of another way, please spell it out, right here, right now and, BTW, reading another hundred really great books that tell you who’s holding the reins of power in one hand and your balls in the other, wishing upon a star, dream, dream, dreaming; hoping and praying and deep, deep, deep self-study and drug-trips are not going to do that job.)
If you do not want More Of The Same that you’ve gotten after every election in the past, do not vote for another R or D, ever, no matter what an R or D promises! Jimmy Dore explains EXACTLY why.
All it will take to literally change the world is for 80 million American voters to vote those 536 R and D fuckers out of office — to NOT vote for an R or a D.
Pascal / May 21, 2022
Not bad! However I suggest the magic wand as perhaps a more realistic option.
pretzelattack / May 20, 2022
a day or two ago I saw this ridiculous article making the rounds by somebody named Fiona Hill claiming that Putin “smelled funny”. Is Twitter going to ban this from being retweeted? did she authoritatively establish that Putin in fact “smelled funny”? I think she is some kind of mainstream media spokesgrifter, so maybe we should just trust her huh.
Pascal / May 20, 2022
Glenn Greenwald just knocked off one of those pathological liars with an exceptional talent – even by his standards!
Teaser: “When the CIA wants the American public contaminated with its lies and disinformation, Nicolle Wallace’s lips begin moving”.
Vito Bellini / May 20, 2022
Cockroaches of the kind have always been around – … just ignore!… Besides, that “Fiona” is most probably hiding somewhere deep in the cowboy’s exhaust tube, so no wonder about the smell.
James / May 20, 2022
It’s likely too late. The mainstream TV news both national and local has been a joke for a half century. Cable news was wild at first but locked down quickly. Liberals started alt-media, way too late in liberal fashion, like Air America, with Sam Seder and Rachel Maddow, which didn’t last long before being co-opted. The interwebs were the wild freaking west and had a good run, but that’s coming to an end. It doesn’t seem that people in the US will rise up over censorship, maybe if they’re hungry or freezing, but not if they can get two pizzas for ten bucks.
paulholdsworth / May 20, 2022
welcome to the 2022 doublespeak show
Third-Eye Roll / May 20, 2022
“Authoritative” shares the same root-word with “authoritarian”, which the so-called “left” seems to not notice.
svay / May 20, 2022
Both come from the Latin auctor, from augēre – to make to grow, originate, promote, increase – giving us the English author, so where does that leave Caitlin?
DaveNItUp / May 20, 2022
Called my mom in Florida for Mothers Day…don’t talk much anymore…she watches MSNBC everyday for as long as she can stay awake. Kept it light for the most part…she complained about Salvation Army closing do to lack of employees and how anyone who needs services can’t make it anymore…then dovetailed into Putin and his oligarchs and the poor Ukrainians. Meanwhile, in my affluent metro area the big concern is revamping our now semi-dated outdoor hoity toity shopping area into one of those newer “amazing” live work play abominations just like the “other” affluent areas that are better than us. Humanity is overmatched…can’t say they, especially my affluent compatriots, don’t deserve what’s coming…just hope I live long enough it…the pain is the learning…what a time to be alive!
Eff / May 20, 2022
I see this as confirmation of twitter’s active (!) role in the Great Reset, as they have just told me that they support “situations of armed conflict, public health emergencies, and large-scale natural disasters”.
svay / May 20, 2022
This would have been better on yesterday’s post, as it concerns another Bush confession – this time, regarding the US promising Gorbachev that NATO wouldn’t expand eastwards. Two Russian ‘pranksters’ called him up, pretending to be Zelensky:
https://twitter.com/i/status/1527420205340803075 (2 minute video)
“Believing that he was actually speaking with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, former U.S. President George W. Bush has been duped by a prankster into admitting that NATO expansion eastward towards Russia had violated a U.S. promise not to do so. “Listen, times change,” Bush says in a video created by the Russian prankster duo known as Vovan and Lexus.”
Vera Gottlieb / May 20, 2022
Not funny but humorous just the same: the fox guarding the hen house.
Susan Mercurio / May 20, 2022
I thought that Elon Musk buying Twitter was supposed to stop censorship, not increase it. After all, that was the big flap with all of the corporate media.
I said I’d believe it when I saw it. Time will tell, or, in this case, time has told.
svay / May 20, 2022
Not yet! He still hasn’t bought it, and these recent moves to amp up censorship are down to current CEO Parag Agrawal.
Jupiter / May 20, 2022