When Elon Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion in October, he promised to scrutinise the previous administration. Whether this was because he genuinely wanted to emancipate the company or because he was annoyed at being forced to pay the price he paid (after being sued), who knows but it provides for some interesting reading.
Musk enlisted the help of several journalists, including Matt Taibbi, Bari Weiss, Michael Shellenberger and Lee Fang. Apparently, his one request was that any information found must first be revealed on Twitter.
On 2 December, the first instalment of the Twitter files was released with the most recent, ninth part, published on Christmas Eve.
So, what have we learnt so far?
Benjamin Carlson provides a good summary:
History changed because of this:
Hunter Biden’s alleged corruption censored;
Covid 19 lockdown debate stifled;
You may agree with each decision. But there is no denying that halting information flow and free debate had real consequences.
Many things called conspiracy theories were true:
FBI was working with Twitter and paid them million of dollars;
Blacklists and shadow bans were real;
US intel lobbied to censor accounts;
Covid-19 conversation was heavily manipulated;
Twitter rules changed and enforced by whim.
Censorship is being cloaked in the language of safety:
‘Safety, harm, violence’ redefined to apply to ideas;
Opinions and information deemed ‘unsafe’ subject to silencing;
Jokes, memes, questions about the origin of Covid off limits.
The government is policing opinion:
FBI has 80 staff monitoring speech;
Small accounts on left and right flagged;
FBI held frequent meetings with Twitter;
Facebook, Youtube and Instagram = similar?
Private censors & police control what you say and to whom.
Social media executives lie freely:
Twitter execs repeatedly and publicly denied shadow bans;
In reality, bans were in place as “visibility filtering”;
Ultimately, no accountability to public.
Free speech is controlled by a small group:
Biggest decisions in Twitter Files made by 3-4 individuals;
Despite misgivings and doubts, once made, decisions stuck;
Now it’s Musk.
One difference: his embrace of public polls to set policy.
The slippery slope is real:
Staff rebellion led to Trump ban;
Staff called for mover covid-19 censorship;
2021-22 saw increase of bans and ‘one-offs’.
This is how you get Billy Baldwin in the crosshairs.
Once you silence a president, who has a right to speak?
This is all massive stuff but nothing most of us didn’t already know or suspect. And the Fauci files that Musk keeps saying he will release haven’t been published yet.
But the important question is, why have the Main Stream Media barely reported on it? If we had learnt that the secret services in another country had meddled with elections in their country, it would be everywhere. But happens in the West and nothing.
I keep getting adverts from the BBC popping up telling me to trust them.
So what have the BBC written about the Twitter files to earn my trust? It seems they have only written a brief article, two weeks ago, merely touching on the issues mentioned above. The article titled “Twitter Files spark debate about ‘blacklisting’” says we are missing the context as to whether other accounts have faced similar treatment. Furthermore, they question whether the restricted accounts were in breach of rules for example spreading false claims about Covid.
The BBC continues, “restricting accounts can be a useful tool if they are spreading harmful material.” and “there have been various reports suggesting marginalised groups including trans and plus size people were more likely to have their accounts restricted.”
So, unfortunately, I can’t trust you BBC, you haven’t written one sentence on the implications such meddling could have had on the US elections. If there had been an equivalent Russian Twitter Files, you would have been on the case every single day.
Marianna Spring, the BBC’s infamous disinformation correspondent analyses the situation at the end of the article. Unsurprisingly, but predictably, her main point is that how you interpret the “Twitter Files” depends on how you think misinformation should be dealt with. She also says that those caught up in the revelations have received backlash online.
Again, nothing about how the misinformation and censorship may have changed the outcome of the US election.
But that’s about it from the BBC.
Next on to the Guardian. They have one article called “I read Elon Musk’s ‘Twitter Files’ so you don’t have to” which pretty much sums up their position. The article describes the censorship as “individual examples of rightwing users being on the end of light-touch moderation” and Jay Bhattacharya as a “Covid sceptic”.
And again, other than this, the Guardian haven’t reported on the issue since.
The more right wing leaning newspapers have a few more stories. The Times and Telegraph reported on how Twitter aided the Pentagon, how Donald Trump was banned and a Republican claim that the Biden family is the most corrupt in history.
The Daily Mail is probably the only UK paper to have covered this story in detail.
So why, after all of the revelations from the “Twitter Files” is much of the Main Stream Media so happy to ignore what had been going on? It’s a rhetorical question. I know the answer and you know the answer but one which erodes any remaining trust we might have in MSM reporting.
Most people, especially older people, trust the BBC, read the odd headline and watch the evening news. So, when the real scandals revealed in the “Twitter Files” are never reported on, the general population don’t have a clue. Even with well-read people, I have tried to discuss the topic but they haven’t even heard of the “Twitter Files”, let alone what has been revealed.
And this is before the Fauci files are released, if they ever are. But if they are, then don’t for one second think that the general public will hear about them or change their position on anything to do with Covid. It just won’t happen unfortunately. If the MSM do report on the Fauci files, it will be brief and they will conclude that lockdowns were necessary to prevent deaths and vaccines are a miracle from God.
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I find this censorship thoroughly depressing. The course of the past 3 years would have been substantially different and better for each and every one of us if free debate had been allowed to flourish.
First I felt very lonely with my contrarian views and it took quite a while to find kindred spirits.
The good news is, that if this happened again I will know where to find different opinions much more easily. It will be much more difficult to suppress different opinions.
It’s no wonder that the Inspector General’s report on the FBI didn’t find much wrongdoing.
They don’t think that they are doing anything wrong.....
80 FBI people monitoring just one social media organization....secretly?
Sounds a lot like secret police.
And they interfered in a presidential election (at least).
So let me get this straight;
It’s ok for the FBI to help steal a presidential election,
but it’s not ok for Donald Trump or anyone else to complain about a stolen election.....
This shit is not supposed to happen in this country.