Foreign Policy screeched Saturday that Twitter’s recent pro-free speech changes made the platform “inimical to democracy.” The outlet alleged, without specific evidence, that disinformation and “extremist” content have sharply increased on the platform under Musk’s ownership in an article headlined: “Elon Musk’s Twitter Is Becoming a Sewer of Disinformation.”
It self-righteously lectured about restrictions removed from dictatorships’ state-sponsored content. The outlet’s primary complaint about Twitter, however, simply masked fury at free speech for those with whom it disagrees.
It particularly objected to the disintegration of Twitter’s previous blue check aristocracy through Musk’s making verification attainable by all users.
“Twitter’s recent elimination of verification, abolishment of the government affiliation label, reinstatement of previously banned accounts, significant reductions in trust and safety staff, and decreased focus on fighting disinformation have created an algorithmically fueled propaganda megaphone,” Foreign Policy pretentiously claimed. The outlet even cited an article by infamous censorship advocate and The Washington Post journalist Taylor Lorenz.
The July 15 piece especially mourned the loss of the Twitter “elite” after many users left the platform or lost verification when Musk opened up the verification program to anyone willing to pay. “Though Twitter kept the respectable-sounding ‘verification’ label for the new subscription service, any paying user can now obtain a blue check mark,” the outlet announced disapprovingly.
It seems the outlet favors a system where certain users receive preferential treatment while any content contrary to its opinions is censored.
“[H]ate and harassment” on Twitter have increased, Foreign Policy claimed. But it cited the Washington- and London-based radical leftist, anti-free speech group The Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH).
The group found, according to Foreign Policy, that “Twitter failed to act on 99 percent of tweets by Twitter Blue subscribers reported to Twitter the [sic] using the platform’s own tools for flagging hateful conduct.” The activist organization, however, is more of a constant censorship campaign than a credible research organization. MRC President and Founder Brent Bozell called CCDH “digital brownshirts.”
The outlet noted accurately that Twitter removed state-affiliated labels from state propaganda sources connected to authoritarian governments in China, Iran, and Russia, and that these accounts had restrictions removed.
While Foreign Policy brought up legitimate concerns such as Musk’s endorsement of China taking over the independent nation of Taiwan, it also exaggerated the influence of supposed Russian “disinformation.” The Twitter Files previously revealed that Americans were wrongly censored under the former overly zealous anti-Russian censorship effort.
Indeed, Foreign Policy seemed to have contradictory views. On the one hand, it condemned Musk for rejecting European Union regulations dangerous to free speech, while noting Musk’s history of admiring statements about the Chinese Communist Party. The outlet appears simply to pick and choose which censorship laws it demands Musk should follow.
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