Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. New posts: Mondays & Wednesdays.
Twitter earns billions from advertising. But restricts Trump tweets on the grounds they might mislead.
Censorship by big tech companies is a growing problem. On Monday, a week prior to a national election, Twitter interfered with a tweet by the current president of the United States. The company took steps to prevent anyone from ‘liking’ or sharing this message from Donald Trump:
Big problems and discrepancies with Mail In Ballots all over the USA. Must have final total on November 3rd.
Twitter further inserted a warning above the tweet:
Some or all of the content shared in this Tweet is disputed and might be misleading about how to participate in an election or another civic process. [bold added]
As if the list of ideas that are disputed isn’t endless. Will we next be denied the opportunity to ‘like’ tweets that refer to Pluto as a planet, since its status is likewise disputed?
Some people dispute the efficacy of annual flu shots. Will Twitter, as a result, be neutering all tweets in favour of those vaccines? Some people dispute the notion that climate change is a crisis and an emergency – rather than a manageable problem. Will Twitter henceforth be preventing us from sharing 17-year-old Greta Thunberg tweets, which mention multiple things a week many grownups would dispute?
It’s hilarious that Twitter’s other concern is that Trump’s assertions might be misleading. This company survives on advertising. By huge multinational brands. Cosmetics. Casinos. Pharmaceuticals. We all know those ad campaigns are orchestrated by saints rather than spin doctors.
Seriously, folks. Spin is a fact of life. Sometimes it’s political. More frequently, it’s financial. The notion that Twitter exposes its users to billions of dollars worth of advertising, yet polices utterances by the US President lest they mislead tells us everything we need to know.
Big tech companies are about double standards and selective censorship. Their thumbs are firmly on the scale. Even during election campaigns.