If anyone wants to be informed, Twitter is one of the least likely platforms to find it. A fair and neutral playground marshalled by an unbiased hall monitor? Pfffft. We have included the best description of Twitter ever at the end. First some context.
Twitter updated its new rules on May 11th, 2020 vis-a-vis fact-checking and integrity. Of course, the platform, like YouTube and Facebook, decides what it deems appropriate. Who could forget when Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before the Senate that Silicon Valley – where most of the tech world is headquartered – is “an extremely left-leaning place” and the evidence shows what side of politics gets fact-checked.
Twitter’s Head of Site Integrity, Yoel Roth (@yoyoel) is an avid anti-Trumper. Several days after the 2016 election he proudly tweeted, “I’m just saying, we fly over those states that voted for a racist tangerine for a reason.” We should sleep soundly at night that he also referred to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as “a personality-free bag of farts.” Surely there is no risk of conservative bias with the integrity team at Twitter…sleep soundly.
Recall the time The NY Times hired Sarah Jeong who had tweeted “Cancel White People” among a laundry list of crude bile. Twitter did nothing despite being exposed and the newspaper endorsed her hire regardless (she has since been let go). Black conservative, Candace Owens exchanged the words “white” for “Jewish” and “Black” and was swiftly suspended.
We wrote yesterday of our amusement that Twitter chose to use a brazenly anti-Trump media outlet like CNN, which has been regularly caught lying to fact-check the president. How amusing it was to hear White House Counsel Kellyanne Conway tell reporters how the media has no problems immediately retweeting items without a second’s thought to verifying.
Stephen Fry perhaps made the most accurate description of the social media site a few years back.
“It’s no big deal – as it shouldn’t be. But yes, for anyone interested I have indeed deactivated my Twitter account…It’s quite simple really: the room had started to smell. Really quite bad.
Oh goodness, what fun Twitter was in the early days, a secret bathing-pool in a magical glade in an enchanted forest. It was glorious ‘to turn as swimmers into cleanness leaping.’ We frolicked and water-bombed and sometimes, in the moonlight, skinny-dipped. We chattered and laughed and put the world to rights and shared thoughts sacred, silly and profane. But now the pool is stagnant. It is frothy with scum, clogged with weeds and littered with broken glass, sharp rocks and slimy rubbish. If you don’t watch yourself, with every move you’ll end up being gashed, broken, bruised or contused. Even if you negotiate the sharp rocks you’ll soon feel that too many people have peed in the pool for you to want to swim there any more. The fun is over.
To leave that metaphor, let us grieve at what Twitter has become. A stalking ground for the sanctimoniously self-righteous who love to second-guess, to leap to conclusions and be offended – worse, to be offended on behalf of others they do not even know. It’s as nasty and unwholesome a characteristic as can be imagined. It doesn’t matter whether they think they’re defending women, men, transgender people, Muslims, humanists … the ghastliness is absolutely the same. It makes sensible people want to take an absolutely opposite point of view. I’ve heard people shriek their secularism in such a way as to make me want instantly to become an evangelical Christian…“