Censorship and Bias on Twitter

 

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Recently, on The Joe Rogan Experience (podcast) he again had Jack Dorsey, Twitter CEO along with Tim Pool, and independent journalist joined by Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s top layer and also in charge of Trust and Safety to discuss what appears to some as a left-wing bias at Twitter towards conservatives on the platform. The podcast itself was terrific, and very long, but if anyone hasn’t had the opportunity to listen to it, it’s well worth. the investment of time.

This wasn’t a softball interview at all and there were times that Tim had Jack and Vijaya on their heels as he gave example after example in the threee-plus hour show of why it appeared to conservatives, that their accounts seemed to be targeted for suspension or even a lifetime ban, when there were many high profile people on the left that could be accused of similar offenses and yet their accounts remain intact.

Both Jack and Vijaya spoke about trying to do better but that they needed to prioritize what they considered suspension or ban-worthy with the most important being someone being doxxed, or actual death threats towards another person being preeminent. I would say that yes, I would agree with that, but with all of the examples presented to them of the same behavior occurring on the left, why are those accounts still active? This is where the conversation kept circling back around to and there was never a good answer given.

What this podcast pointed out is the numerous problems Twitter have with deciding what is worthy of a penalty and what is not. Although they claimed there was nothing purely ideological in the decision making, it became clearer during the podcast that indeed there was an ideological bent. Tim, a couple of times, seemed to become exasperated with the dialogue and let them know with his tone.

The excuse for suspensions or bannings always seemed to come back to context of a particular tweet or Twitter conversation. that seemed to me to be loaded because people often have disagreements on the platform without being suspended. I know I have.

Tim actually brought up the specific example of the Covington Catholic Schools kids, where there were tweets calling for violence against them and at least one calling for them all to be doxxed. None of those accounts were penalized in any way. It seems that just wearing a MAGA cap is enough for someone to be threatened and that is okay with Twitter. He also brought up the permanent ban of Meghan Murphy, who was having a disagreement with someone about the transgender issue where she basically said “A man cannot be a woman. A woman cannot be a man”. So there seems to be subjects that if one holds an opinion that is not approved of, that person may be suspended or banned as well.

It may also be words. Several months back, someone I follow was placed in restricted mode for a day (meaning only his followers could see his tweets) for using the word queer, as in, How queer? That word means, odd, strange, unusual, funny, and a lot more that have nothing to do with sexual orientation.  But the person, or algorithm that made the decision to restrict this user didn’t know that. So now users have to be aware of even specific words they might use in a tweet because someone, without any understanding may take what is used as offensive.

The idea of government regulation came up in that, here in the U.S., the idea of censorship is illegal unless there’s incitement to violence or other narrow circumstances that could cause harm to people. Tim seems to think it’’s coming here in the U.S., eventually and although personally it bothers me whenever the Federal Government decides to become involved, mainly because they’re idiots, I think he may be right: we’ll see a move to regulate all of these social media platforms in an attempt to level the field.

I’ve left out a lot here, but I think I covered the main point as to censorship and bias and I encourage everyone listen for themselves and get their own take away from the podcast.

 

 

 

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