From the news:
- Stanford professor of epidemiology (disease control) Jay Bhattacharya, M.D., recounts what he learned about being put on Old Twitter’s “trends blacklist” for warning about the consequences of COVID lockdowns for kids, among others. Vulnerable populations are his specialty. Elon Musk invited him to come and see for himself how he had been censored for saying what proved to be quite correct: Children were at more risk from prolonged lockdowns than from COVID. From the interview at Unherd:
Do you think the pandemic response might have gone differently if voices such as yours were not suppressed?
Yes… I do really believe censorship kills, and censorship killed during this pandemic. The policies could have been so much better… The policies that were adopted were incredibly damaging to the lives and livelihoods of so many people. 100million people thrown into poverty worldwide: that’s the estimate from the World Bank. Just the consequences of that itself are going to have tremendous effects on the lives and livelihoods of people going forward. And of course, all these children were robbed of an education for years. Those are absolutely monumental outcomes of the policies we adopted during the pandemic, and they should have been freely discussed. My view of the scientific evidence is that it was so clear, even at the time, that we should not have been closing schools. And if we had been allowed to have a free and fair discussion, I think the schools would not have closed — if there hadn’t been this sort of demerit system for people who spoke up against these kinds of policies.Jay Bhattacharya, “What I discovered at Twitter HQ” at Unherd (December 16, 2022)
Takeaway: Censorship prevents public policy makers from hearing both sides and that is bad for public policy.
- Twitter Files 7 dropped yesterday, via journalist and MD Michael Shellenberger, and it features a close relationship between Twitter and the FBI:
32. By mid-Sept, 2020, Chan & Roth had set up an encrypted messaging network so employees from FBI & Twitter could communicate.
They also agree to create a “virtual war room” for “all the [Internet] industry plus FBI and ODNI” [Office of the Director of National Intelligence]. pic.twitter.com/Dhy8LotZHU
— Michael Shellenberger (@ShellenbergerMD) December 19, 2022
From the New York Post, whose Hunter Biden laptop story was systematically suppressed:
Moreover, as Intercept reporter Lee Fang has detailed and as a former Twitter official confirmed, the FBI held weekly meetings in Silicon Valley with tech officials about policing disinformation. Of course, their definition of disinformation was so broad as to include virtually anything that made Joe Biden or Democrats look bad. ”Michael Goodwin, “FBI, Big Tech, Big Media: Partners in collusion” at Epoch Times (December 3, 2022)
That’s consistent with the incriminating laptop story as a whole.
Takeaway: It wasn’t just censorship. It was censorship involving the FBI. Those who keep insisting on a “smoking gun” at this point either don’t want to face up to the reality of what Twitter had become or else they tacitly accept and want to further it.
- Twitter’s iconic ex-CEO Jack Dorsey repents for not taking a stronger stand against the censorship:
This is my fault alone, as I completely gave up pushing for them when an activist entered our stock in 2020. I no longer had hope of achieving any of it as a public company with no defense mechanisms (lack of dual-class shares being a key one). I planned my exit at that moment knowing I was no longer right for the company…
The biggest mistake I made was continuing to invest in building tools for us to manage the public conversation, versus building tools for the people using Twitter to easily manage it for themselves. This burdened the company with too much power, and opened us to significant outside pressure (such as advertising budgets).jack’s, “a native internet protocol for social media” at Social Revue (December 13, 2022)
His suggestions are reasonable and worth reading. But, just to note, Dorsey was not straightforward with Congress when he claimed earlier that the platform did not censor users:
Asked by Democratic Congressman Mike Doyle if social media is being rigged to censor conservatives, Dorsey responded, “No.”
“Are you censoring people?” Doyle followed up, to which Dorsey again said, “No.”
Narrowing the focus of his inquiry, Doyle then questioned, “Twitter’s shadow-banning prominent Republicans… is that true?”
For a third time, Dorsey insisted, “No.”Jacob Smith, “Former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Attempts To Save Face After Elon Musk’s Censorship Revelations” at Bounding Into Comics (December 16, 2022)
Dorsey does not likely face consequences for misleading Congress, as he appears to have done, but all this must be embarrassing for him.
Takeaway: Even top executives at Twitter were perhaps not fully in accord with what the federal government, Big Business, and Big Tech wanted of them. How many felt forced to do it anyway?
More to come. Stay tuned.
You may also wish to read: As the Twitter files drop, ponder the future of mainstream media. Mainstream media are largely ignoring the story for reasons that go to the heart of their own growing weakness and unstoppable decline. Journalism will never matter anywhere near as much to the MSM again as doing what their betters want. And they increasingly view those who follow the story as a threat.