It’s pretty well established at this point that Twitter has chosen sides in this election and is blatantly using its platform to suppress negative information about Democrats (or in the case of the New York Post’s story about Hunter Biden’s laptop, censor it altogether), create roadblocks for users trying to share/retweet articles from conservative news and opinion sites, and to act as fact-checkers.
They’ve gone way over the line, and it needs to stop.
For example, this morning I attempted to retweet a piece our Editor-at-Large Kira Davis wrote about Alabama resident, Bermudan immigrant, and all-around-amazing-person Rodney Smith, Jr.’s struggle to gain US citizenship. His application for a green card was recently denied, and he took to Twitter to ask his supporters to write letters to USCIS asking them to reconsider their denial. His ability to stay in the United States is in jeopardy, and if he’s deported to Bermuda he will lose everything he’s built here. Kira’s headline reads: “Rodney ‘Lawnmower Man’ Smith Is in Danger of Losing Everything and He Needs Our Help.”
Yet, when I attempted to retweet the story this popup from Twitter appeared.
“Want to read the article first?” it reads. If one touches the “info” button on the warning, it explains to the user that, “headlines sometimes don’t tell the whole story.” The tech giant claims this “safeguard” is to prevent people from sharing stories that don’t really say what the headline claims it says – as if those types of headlines haven’t been around forever – and to prevent the spread of “fake news.”
I haven’t seen those pop-ups on stories from the New York Times falsely claiming that Trump only paid $750 in taxes, but I digress. Also, Kira’s headline literally told the story. There was nothing sensationalist or fake about it at all. And it’s about a black immigrant’s struggle to stay in this country – which SHOULD be something that is in line with Twitter’s agenda, but since Rodney encourages service and entrepreneurialism instead of victimhood and dependency, they don’t want people to know about him.
Even worse is the large “ad” that started appearing on users’ home pages this morning.
Election results might be delayed.
With the increase in voting by mail, there might be a delay in the announcement of election results. This means you could encounter unconfirmed claims that a candidate has won their race.
They offer users the opportunity to “Learn how voting by mail is safe and secure” and to “Find out more” about why they believe election results might be delayed. By clicking “Learn how voting by mail is safe and secure” one is taken to a page where seemingly authoritative information about the safety and security of voting by mail appears.
“Experts and fact-checkers have continued to assure American voters that voting by mail is a safe and secure option,” they say, then provide helpful (sarcasm) bullet points:
What you need to know
– Claims that mail-in voting leads to fraud are unsubstantiated, according to ABC and other outlets
– Hundreds of thousands of mail ballots are expected to be rejected due to error, but most allegations of fraud are isolated and unfounded, according to USA Today
– Voter fraud of any kind is rare in the US, including in states that have allowed mail-in voting for years, according to MarketWatch
– The USPS says it is equipped to deal with the expected increase in mail due to the election
The “Find out more” button leads to a Twitter “moment,” where they explain:
State election officials and civic organizations are providing tips and resources to prepare voters for any potential delays in 2020 elections results. Follow here for important information on:
🗳️Distinguishing partial vote results from official results
☑️Official election resources in your state
📖How the US Electoral College process works
🗒️Additional resources for voters
Twitter curates the tweets and links on that page, deliberately leading voters only to the resources THEY believe are legit.
Experts are anticipating historic in-person & by mail turnout this year, which means we may not know the full results of voting on election night.
— Students Learn Students Vote Coalition (@SLSVCoalition) October 23, 2020
This one urges people to be “patient while every vote is counted.”
It’s pretty clear that this is being done so people will think it’s okay to wait for weeks while “every vote,” a/k/a a harvested and potentially fraudulent ballot, is counted, and to cast doubt on any claim by the Trump campaign on election night that President Trump won the election.
The “notices” started rolling out October 26 according to a glowing piece in Tech Crunch, which also deems the sources Twitter quotes as “authoritative”:
Starting today, Twitter users in the U.S. will see two large notices at the top of their feeds that aim to “preemptively debunk” misinformation related to voting. The striking messages are designed to push back against the deluge of false claims about the 2020 election.
The prompts will point users to Twitter Moments that collect authoritative information on both topics. The notices will also pop up in searches of relevant terms and hashtags.
Social media companies have scrambled to ready their platforms for the unique challenges of a deeply contentious U.S. election in the midst of a worsening national health crisis. While those efforts have been mixed — some weak, some more robust — serving proactive, attention-grabbing notices to everyone is a solid step up from the easy-to-miss misinformation “labels” that get tacked onto false claims across Twitter and Facebook.
Sadly, this outcome is all-too-likely:
Looking forward to Trump rightfully declaring victory on election night only to have his tweet censored by Twitter pic.twitter.com/0XPq38k25v
— Neoliberal Fanfiction (@neolib_fanfic) October 28, 2020
Buckle up, friends.