For something as utterly decisive and damning as the first several installments of the “Twitter Files,” it’s very intriguing to see the Left scramble to assuage, debunk, and account for the clearly inappropriate and possibly treasonous activity of the then rogue social media company, Twitter.
From this camp, we’ve heard from the typical celebrities who threaten to leave but then never do, because it isn’t financially expedient for them to do so. There are those saying the “Twitter Files” story is a “nothing burger,” which is far from an eloquent defense of Twitter’s actions. And there are those holding the hard line that censoring and banning dissenting or differing voices is justified and even patriotic. The argument is swirling about too that Twitter has become “unsafe” since Elon Musk has taken over, yet Musk’s team has cracked down rigorously on child exploitation content on the platform. What does “safe” mean any more to progressives?
From what we know so far with these “Twitter Files,” an outrageously partisan leadership team at Twitter knowingly censored, banned, and limited conservative voices, or, more generally, views that were not their own. This censorship was endemic, systemic, and very much deliberate. In the name of “safety,” Twitter bosses controlled what consumers could see and couldn’t see.
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In Part I of the Twitter Files, journalist Matt Taibbi showed how Twitter bent its own policies to suppress the bombshell report about Hunter Biden’s laptop. We knew in Oct. 2020 and we know now that the contents of this laptop were authentic and incriminating. Yet Twitter crushed the story, which the New York Post broke first, and subsequently suspended the Post’s Twitter page.
In Part II of the Twitter Files, journalist Bari Weiss uncovered what many of us knew was already happening: through various means and technological techniques, Twitter safety team execs were limiting the content of leading conservative voices, or in one instance, a Stanford Professor/Medical Doctor who dared voice concern about Covid lockdowns for kids. This premise, coming from a leading medical expert, turned out to be true, yet was blacklisted from trending on Twitter. As it turns out, the “trends blacklist” was a relatively mild form of “visibility filtering,” as it’s commonly known at Twitter. Other voices were hit with “search blacklists,” “do not amplify” tags and other censorship classifications.
In the following installments, more evidence was shown, in the form of screenshots of internal communications, of a spectrum of malpractice ranging from favoritism all the way to Marxist-style suppression. In the most recent Twitter Files edition, journalists rightly contrasted tweets of Donald Trump and the Ayatollah Khomeini. The first tweet from the former president praised the 75M people who voted for him in 2020, the second from Iran’s spiritual leader called for the liquidation of all Jews. The first was cause for a total ban from Twitter, the second resulted in no action at all.
Those of us who are privy to history know that where free speech is obstructed, totalitarianism makes its home.
The kicker is that all of this work was being coordinated by shadowy departments within Twitter, like the Strategic Response Team — Global Escalation Team, and the department of Global Trust and Safety. These apparent arbiters of truth regularly collaborated to shut down one particular point of view, using every tool at their disposal, including government agencies and Democrat lawmakers. They regularly met, internal Slack messages imply, with the FBI, the Whitehouse, and Democrat politicians. Twitter’s former Deputy General Counsel, Jim Baker, who joined the Twitter team after a tenure at the FBI, happened to be a critical cog in the wheel that produced the false Steele Dossier and surrounding Russia Collusion scheme. These facts are, of course, not acceptable.
It might not surprise you that most mainstream media platforms don’t have much to say about the Twitter Files or have some method of explaining it away. But those of us who believe in free speech, who don’t think that opposing viewpoints are “dangerous,” can’t allow this one to slip away.
This one thing, free speech, defines and guides free societies. And those of us who are privy to history know that where free speech is obstructed, totalitarianism makes its home.
Joe D’Orsie is state representative-elect in Pennsylvania’s 47th legislative district.