The best synopsis I’ve seen of the Twitter Files comes from the account of journalist Benjamin Carlson. Carlson wrote, “No agency should be unaccountable. No institution is indispensable.”
What is the real story of the Twitter Files? It’s a much bigger deal than many realize.
I’ve spent hours reading the great reporting (now thousands of words in 7+ parts) by
@mtaibbi, @bariweiss, and @ShellenbergerMD
Here are 7 crucial takeaways everyone needs to know:
1. 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.
2. Many things called conspiracy theories were true:
•FBI was working w Twitter and paid TW $ millions
•Blacklists & shadow bans were real
•US intel lobbied to censor accounts
•Covid-19 convo heavily manipulated
•Twitter rules changed & enforced by whim
3. Censorship is being cloaked in the language of safety:
• ‘Safety, harm, violence’ redefined to apply to ideas
• Opinions & info deemed ‘unsafe’ subject to silencing
• Jokes, memes, questions about origin of covid off limits
4. The government is policing opinion:
• FBI has 80 staff monitoring speech
• Small accounts on left and right flagged
• FBI held frequent meetings w TW
• Facebook, Youtube, and Instagram = similar?
• Private censors & police control what you say to whom.
5. 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
6. 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.
7. The slippery slope is real:
•Staff rebellion led to Trump ban
•Staff called for more 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?