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Twitter tries a better alternative to censorship

Public tug-of-war platform Twitter is opting to label, rather than censor, tweets it considers misleading about the COVID-19 situation.

Twitter’s latest tweak was announced in a blog post entitled: Updating our Approach to Misleading Information. “Starting today, we’re introducing new labels and warning messages that will provide additional context and information on some Tweets containing disputed or misleading information related to COVID-19,” it said.

The disputed part is hilarious, since dispute is what characterises Twitter. What they mean is ‘disputed by sources we favour’. Whether or not something is misleading once more depends on which sources you consider to be definitive. For example Facebook has defaulted to the World Health Organisation as the unimpeachable source on all things ‘rona.

Since all decisions on accuracy are subjective, with the exception of ‘settled science’ (itself a hotly disputed concept), those in a position to make them should do so with humility and a soft touch. Sadly they all to often opt for outright censorship in the mistaken belief that will resolve whatever problems they think the banned speech creates.

Twitter is taking a more sensible approach in this case, by attaching labels to tweets it takes issue with, hyperlinked to either its own curated repository of ‘correct’ information or an external trusted source. Both will be subject to their own biases, of course, but at least outright censorship has been averted and people are being permitted to use their own judgment about what to believe.

Having said that, there is an escalating scale, including superimposing a warning, that can still lead to censorship if the tweet is considered harmful enough. Twitter is, of course, free to police its platform as it sees fit, but if it opts to censor too many marginal tweets then this sensible concession will quite rightly be viewed as window dressing and an empty gesture.


2 comments

  1. Avatar Joe normal 16/09/2020 @ 11:18 am

    Twitter model is inherently broken with the new “mute tweets from those with few or little followers” or “Mute tweets from new accounts’ options, so prominent people will not hear you any more if you are a nobody, even the “Top Tweets” to a hash tag will only show established accounts with many followers,
    So if you’re Joe Normal with no followers forget about twitter, your wasting your time, no one will read your tweets

  2. Avatar Angeline Pacy 06/10/2021 @ 6:56 pm

    In my experience, and many others in the research industry, Twitter especially but also Yelp, YouTube and Facebook have been a place of public health and competing research censorship for many years (starting round 2015).

    I did the networking for a former client, GeroNova Research, for many years (in exchange for life-saving compounds, as they are the world’s leading experts in Lipoic acid and make the industry standard of R-Lipoic acids; meanwhile, the government owns most of the patents for the competing entantiomer called alpha lipoic acid which is an unfinished bulk products often filled with manufacturing biproducts and toxic s-lipoic acid). I was not even a paid employee but a consultant. Initially, all of my profiles were immensely popular.

    I had daily interactions and new followers that were organic. It wasn’t long before I noticed a definitive slow-down in activity. I decided to run my own testing and released a series of tweets from the main company profile on Twitter. I then logged into other accounts to view the tweets. They would not appear on any of my news feeds. GeroNova Research is just one example. I had other platforms in public health and neurology.

    Soon, I found that what we are fed (our news) is not just old and out-dated by weeks to months to years, it’s contrived. Everything we see must be questioned for commercial interests as well as a strong undercurrent of eugenics that dominates mainstream healthcare news (with America leading the way). We must have platforms without bias and censorship. We must look at net neutrality. There is very little.

    Medicine has become a clever 3rd Reich. They just found a propaganda wheel to spin it like altruism and coat it with sugar. It’s truly unregulated capitalism at its worst (fascism) and we call it communism but that’s not what it is. It’s becoming fascist (merger of public and private interests) mixed with totalitarianism. Both sides are corrupt. Don’t mistake the need for reform with the need to refund everything.

    Simply discussing adverse reactions, a lack of clarity in the safety databases, or past experiences with the dangers of these highly controversial drugs can get even middle-of-the road scientists and healthcare professionals shadow banned and profiled. That’s not science. We’re one nation under the mighty dollar and soon it will be more feudalism because the neuropsychiatric damages of the fall-out of commercial interests will continue to disable hard-working Americans. “Florida Man” is everywhere. You could be the next “Florida Man,” a biproduct of sick regulations, negligence, and one-model healthcare that maims as many people as it claims to help. But, not if we educate ourselves outside the current censorship and consider all evidence in medicine and physician /patient experiences that are silenced.

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