State censorship on social networks : the Twitter Files

chronicle

On December 3, 2022, Kim Dotcom shares the link to this recording of a panel discussion with Elon Musk
  • December 2, 2022

36 days after his acquisition of the social networking service, Elon Musk releases the first episode of the Twitter Files. The topic of the day is How and Why Twitter Blocked the Hunter Biden Laptop Story.

On October 14, 2020, the New York Post has published Smoking-gun email reveals how Hunter Biden introduced Ukrainian businessman to VP dad. The data surfaced from a laptop computer, that the son of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden had dropped off at a repair shop in Delaware. The issue was about influence peddling, dated back to 2014, when Joe Biden was Vice President and his son, board member of Burisma, a Ukrainian natural gas holding company. On October 14, 2020, a few weeks before the presidential election, Twitter has used its moderation tools in order to censor the article of the New York Post. With the support of more than fifty crooked former intelligence officials, Joe Biden claimed during a debate, on October 22, that the laptop story was a garbage and a Russian plant.

Journalist Matt Taibbi writes on Twitter the thread of this first episode

Documents are proving that Twitter staff used to censor at the request of the White House and more frequently, of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). In the case of Hunter Biden’s laptop, the pretext was violation of hacked materials policy. The gag order came from the head of legal, policy and trust at Twitter, Vijaya Gadde, whom Politico was then praising. Elon Musk sacked her on October 27, 2022

Vijaya Gadde in 2014 (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg)
  • December 3, 2022

The case is deeply rotten, so polarized within mainstream media. Symptomatic is the reaction of the Daily Beast columnist Wajahat Ali. The issue is technical, ethical and legal, serious, but the alleged journalist tackles the messenger for ideological reasons, with a moralizing tone

Matt Taibbi…what sad, disgraceful downfall. I swear, kids, he did good work back in the day. Should be a cautionary tale for everyone. Selling your soul for the richest white nationalist on Earth. Well, he’ll eat well for the rest of his life I guess. But is it worth it ?

  • December 4, 2022

A touch of humor, so true (Paris time)

  • December 16, 2022

The topic of the Twitter Files, sixth episode, is Twitter, the FBI subsidiary

Within the bureau, the Foreign Influence Task Force (FITF) has been formed in 2017, in order to identify and counteract malign foreign influence operations targeting the United States. Its agents were correspondents of the social networking service. In the cases exposed, they did not flag foreign operatives but lambda US users, whose accounts

may [have] potentially constitute[d] violations of Twitter’s Terms of Service, for any action or inaction deemed appropriate within Twitter policy

I know that administrative language, could have written that message. The tone was not imperative but actually, the FBI was requesting censorship. It was up to Twitter to find, in its moderation tools, the pretexts for satisfying the requests. Among the cases exposed, a total of 23 flagged accounts, 11 were permanently suspended

Many tweets were no more than obvious jokes and political satyrs. From my experience in law enforcement and intelligence, I guess that the agents were required to some return, in order to justify their collective payroll. Their production was the volume of suspended accounts. That is my French understating of the mechanism.

Censorship is a weird mission for investigators or intelligence officers. I have started to work before social networks, before web at home, do not understand that strategy. Quite the contrary, social networks are a prolific source of information. That reminds the censorship or self censorship in mainstream media, where alleged journalists seem more concerned with fighting disinformation than reporting information, in Western societies that marketing has rotten to the core, where reality has no more significance.

  • December 19, 2022

Author Michael Shellenberger writes the 7th episode of the Twitter Files, the FBI & the Hunter Biden Laptop

On December 9, 2019, the FBI has already seized the laptop at the repair shop, has become aware of its content. On September 15, 2020, in the context of an ongoing campaign about foreign influence risks, the FITF has given a classified briefing for Jim Baker, deputy general counsel at Twitter and former general counsel of the FBI.

On October 14, 2020, when the New York Post drops its bombshell, Yoel Roth is head of Site Integrity at Twitter. He states first that the laptop story isn’t clearly violative of our Hacked Materials Policy, nor is it clearly in violation of anything else. But Baker, despite his close ties with his former colleagues or because of them, seems convinced that the materials from the laptop are either faked, hacked or both. Baker manages to sell his tale to Roth and Vijaya Gadde, while the crooked FBI is spreading everywhere the rumor that the laptop story is a Russian interference

The influence operation is real, like the censorship. But the culprit is the FBI. Elon Musk will sack Jim Baker early December 2022.

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2 responses to “State censorship on social networks : the Twitter Files”

  1. […] my whole Twitter Files chronicle, when a State is censoring social networks […]

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