The left is obsessed with labeling everything they don’t like as “misinformation,” but Big Tech is about to take its witchhunt against the right to a new extreme.
On Monday, Twitter announced it would be rolling out a new program designed to allow users to label other users’ content misleading or false — a plan that could easily be weaponized against the right and will certainly deepen the political divide.
“Today we’re introducing @Birdwatch, a community-driven approach to addressing misleading information,” the official Twitter Support account announced in a series of tweets. “And we want your help.”
Twitter put out a call for users to apply to test the program, telling potential applicants they “can add notes with helpful context to Tweets that you think are misleading” in a move that will surely attract people with an ax to grind as they help the “Twitter community decide when and what context is added to a Tweet.”
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) January 25, 2021
We’ll use the notes and your feedback to help shape this program and learn how to reach our goal of letting the Twitter community decide when and what context is added to a Tweet.
For details and how to apply to be a part of Birdwatch: https://t.co/bt5BzIpe4o (3/3)
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) January 25, 2021
The colossally awful idea will pit users against one another to decide what is acceptable truth, handing over the bully pulpit to an eager mob ready to become the new Thought Police.
Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, a longtime critic of the power social media CEO Jack Dorsey and others wield over the American public, expressed his dismay at this latest expansion of censorship.
“Empowering self-proclaimed ‘fact checkers’ and leftist Silicon Valley billionaires to dictate what is ‘misleading,’ only confirms what the American people already know to be true: Big Tech is designating itself to be the sole arbiter of truth and is using its power to silence dissent,” Cruz said to Fox News.
Other Republican lawmakers expressed their own skepticism with this new oversight program.
“Twitter turns libs into army of censors. Feeling very 1984,” North Carolina Rep. Dan Bishop tweeted.
Twitter turns libs into army of censors. Feeling very 1984… https://t.co/OcgPSBSfbo
— Rep. Dan Bishop (@RepDanBishop) January 25, 2021
“Crowd-sourced censorship… what could go wrong?” Colorado Rep. Ken Buck mused.
Crowd-sourced censorship… what could go wrong? https://t.co/VyAM1aTFh2
— Congressman Ken Buck (@RepKenBuck) January 25, 2021
Not surprisingly, the plan was unpopular with average Twitter users on both sides of the political spectrum.
This is a bad idea that will be misused and gamed by the far right without reducing anything. Please think harder on how you do things.
— Njolan Vøidsson’s Saga (@HitlerPuncher) January 25, 2021
cool we got the ministry of truth handled now do the massive amount of child trafficking material that’s publicly shared on your site all day every day
— Michelle 🐟 (@Chat_Mort) January 25, 2021
The plural of anecdote is not fact. Having a preponderance of people confirming or denying a claim is not the same as addressing misinformation.
This isn’t going to help. Who’s to say the people making notes are reliable and not misleading themselves? You’re inviting bias and allowing it to shape narrative.
— It’s ADAM. Now diabetes-free! (@Adsinjapan) January 25, 2021
Twitter needs designated subject matter experts that can intervene to stop a false claim. And pay them for their time and service.
— Mace Moneta (@MaceMoneta) January 25, 2021
Keith Coleman, Twitter’s vice president of product, assured Fox News that the program wasn’t censorship, but rather a way to add “context” to the information posted.
“We know people come to Twitter to stay informed, and they want credible information to help them do so,” Coleman said.
“We apply labels and add context to Tweets, but we don’t want to limit efforts to circumstances where something breaks our rules or receives widespread public attention.”
The Birdwatch participants need to be located in the U.S. and have a verified phone number, email address, and a Twitter account that hasn’t violated their policy within the last year.
Another small but troubling comment came among Coleman’s insistence about the evenhandedness of the program and its participants.
“As we develop algorithms that power Birdwatch — such as reputation and consensus systems — we aim to publish that code publicly in the Birdwatch Guide,” Coleman said, something that sound eerily like the start of a social credit system.
As Cruz pointed out, Big Tech — particularly Twitter — has run roughshod over conservatives and their opinions, succeeding in suppressing a major story that would have likely sunken President Joe Biden’s candidacy had the public been allowed to read it and silencing Donald Trump when he was still the sitting president.
Therefore, it isn’t unreasonable to conclude that Twitter will simply activate its already militant leftist base to bully, label, and silence anything they don’t like using “fact-checking” and “stopping misinformation” as their excuse.
Big Tech is huge and many of those companies have a monopoly and aren’t afraid to use it to manipulate the market and snuff out the competition.
Amazon demonstrated this when it threw competing conservative social media platform Parler off the internet, unashamed at wielding its tremendous influence to silence dissent.
It doesn’t matter if it’s only one bully like Dorsey or scads of his minions activated to do his bidding — Big Tech has no right to that much control over public discourse.
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