(UnitedVoice.com) – For several years, conservatives have suspected, with good reason, that tech giants were censoring their point of view. It now appears one of them is giving in to the liberal calls to censor the content of the President of the United States. If this practice is committed to, it will have long-lasting implications on how we view speech on the internet.
Last week, President Trump tweeted about a controversial incident two decades ago involving former Republican Congressman and current MSNBC host Joe Scarborough. After complaints from Scarborough and those close to him, Twitter made changes to its platform. When controversial tweets appear that Twitter doesn’t agree with, a warning is placed on the tweet warning readers to fact check the content. However, some of their alerts are problematic because the information is accurate.
One example of the concerns about Twitter’s behavior concerns Trump and Scarborough, who were friends at one time. However, since Trump won the presidency in 2016, Scarborough has been extraordinarily critical of the president on his MSNBC show, “Morning Joe.” He heavily promoted the Russian collusion hoax and advocated for impeachment last year.
In 2001, Lori Kaye Klausutis was a 28-year-old staffer for then Rep. Joe Scarborough (R-FL). On July 20, 2001, she was found dead in his office. On several occasions, Trump has tweeted that Scarborough was responsible for Klausutis’ death and that there should be an investigation. Last week, Scarborough’s wife, Mika Brzezinski, pleaded with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey that he take down Trump’s tweet. Klausutis’ husband also wrote a public letter and asked Twitter to take down Trump’s post.
Twitter denied their request. However, what they are now doing is much more dangerous.
Twitter Censoring Content
For several years, Twitter refused to get involved when it came to political leaders. It said that allowing politicians to post controversial tweets permitted the public to hold them accountable. Last year, Twitter shifted its position and said that world leaders could have warning labels placed on tweets the company deems as not accurate. Since Scarborough and Brzezinski pleaded publicly with Twitter, it is suddenly adding a notice on tweets they don’t agree with a link stating, “Get the facts about…”
Twitter did not annotate Trump’s tweets about Scarborough. However, on a tweet about mail-in-ballots, Twitter did place a warning label. When clicked, it goes to a page that relies on other liberal fact check websites that have been known to be anti-Trump. The sites include The Washington Post, CNN, NBC News, and the ACLU among others. The warning can only be seen on the main thread, not the tweet itself.
Twitter Mislabeling Factual Tweets
Twitter is relying less on human moderation and more on artificial intelligence (AI) to identify “fake” tweets. The problem with AI is that it’s only as good as its programming and can have built-in biases. As an example, on May 11, conspiracy theories on Twitter about 5G causing COVID-19 caught Twitter’s attention. Not only did Twitter mislabel tweets about the conspiracy, but they also mislabeled accurate tweets. Legitimate news stories from the Reuters, BBC, and Voice of America were given warning labels and a link to sources Twitter deemed appropriate. Tweets with that had the words 5G, COVID-19, coronavirus, or #5Gcoronavirus were all mistakenly labeled.
Trump Pushes Back
On Wednesday, Trump warned social media in a tweet that conservative voices won’t be silenced and that Twitter needed to clean up its act.
….happen again. Just like we can’t let large scale Mail-In Ballots take root in our Country. It would be a free for all on cheating, forgery and the theft of Ballots. Whoever cheated the most would win. Likewise, Social Media. Clean up your act, NOW!!!!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 27, 2020
The more Twitter, or any other tech giant, inserts itself into the political process, the more likely it is to impact an election. During an election season, politics is fraught with name-calling and accusations of misdeeds that are both true and false. The question is: do Americans want social media to run interference and risk getting it wrong, even once, and unfairly swinging an election?
By Don Purdum, Freelance Contributor
Copyright 2020, UnitedVoice.com