Twitter’s Editorializing Discredits Its Claim To Function Merely As A Platform, Exposes It As A Publisher

Twitter’s Editorializing Discredits Its Claim To Function Merely As A Platform, Exposes It As A Publisher

Twitter's activism is moving beyond aggressive censorship and taking shape in the form of its editorialized 'trending topics' descriptions.
Tristan Justice
By

Twitter temporarily suspended a Spanish politician earlier this month for the declaration of a fact. The criminal post? “A man cannot get pregnant. A man has no uterus or eggs.”

The culprit, Francisco José Contreras of Spain’s right-wing Vox Party, was slapped with a 12-month suspension for violation of “hate speech” guidelines.

“No threatening, harassing or fostering violence against other people on the basis of their race, ethnic origin, nationality, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religion, age, disability or disease is permitted,” the company explained.

The recent episode is just among the latest in this kind of speech restriction. The Silicon Valley tech giant has wielded its unchecked power over the 21st-century digital public square to manipulate debate and determine truth, even to the latter’s detriment, in solidarity with a far-left agenda.

Twitter censorship has escalated in recent months to become a routine consequence for vocal dissent from the leftist matrix. As the Overton Qindow shifts further in leftists’ favor among some of the nation’s most influential institutions, alternative avenues for online speech are conspired against by the Silicon Valley oligarchs. See what happened to Parler.

Lately, Twitter’s activism is moving beyond aggressive censorship and taking the form of its “trending topics,” where employees directly editorialize the content. The company no longer operates merely as a platform to share third-party content, but is now aggregating its own narratives as a publisher.

The publisher/platform distinction is important, because under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, platforms enjoy legal immunity for hosted third-party content. Publishers don’t.

Silicon Valley’s tech giants cling to an identity as platforms in order to maintain broad government protections, but their rampant censorship in one direction has exposed them as publishers who determine what users may and may not see. Twitter’s trending topics section, in particular, has unmasked the company’s role as a publisher. In fact, its own editorial staff has even told users to block conservatives.

“Their entire business model is built off of your engagement, attention, and outrage,” wrote Sam Stryker last month. His LinkedIn profile identifies him as the editorial lead for the company’s entertainment content division. “Block them and go!”

The message was echoed by another employee of Twitter’s trends, whose pinned tweet for months has read, “We can agree to disagree,” in a mix of upper- and lower-case letters to emphasize mockery. “Yes if the subject is pizza toppings. NOT about people’s right to live as the person they are without fear of violence and discrimination.”

The post below highlights the leftist lens through which Twitter’s editorial writers present the content trending on the website. In its description of Missouri Democrat Rep. Cori Bush using the phrase “birthing people” to describe women, the words “women” and “mothers” remain absent, and the description offers credence to “people who are able to give birth regardless of their gender identity.”

The company also described women as “people who experience menstruation.”

In April, Twitter described the Georgia voting bill made controversial by leftists who decried voter ID requirements for ballot access racist as a “new voter suppression law,” as if the idea black people are unable to obtain valid ID isn’t racist itself.

Below is how Twitter defined state-sanctioned racism under “Critical Race Theory” when it trended in April, citing the Encyclopedia Britannica to frame the racist doctrine as “‘loosely organized framework of legal analysis’ based on the premise that race is ‘a socially constructed category that it used to oppress and exploit people of color.'”

Word choices aside, Twitter’s decisions of what stories to amplify and how to amplify them say just as much about the company’s editorial practices.

In April, the website featured what was framed as blockbuster reporting from USA Today describing a scene of humiliating discrimination as a lead trend for at least two days. Sgt. Bruce Weaver, a black national guardsman, was forced to carry chains for three days, went the tale that Weaver said “mirrored slavery.”

A bit of digging in the story, however, which is paywalled on USA Today’s website, revealed all candidates were required to carry the chains to remind them to follow the chain of command.

Another Twitter top trend in April pushed face masks for vaccinated individuals “even though growing evidence suggests that vaccinations prevent transmission.” The Centers for Disease Control updated recommendations last week to relax guidelines, no longer demanding vaccinated people wear masks in most settings.

Another trending topic promoted a story from Insider celebrating the first 100 days of the Biden administration as triumphant while Republicans are characterized as struggling to criticize its apparent success.

Given crises on several fronts, from runaway inflation to rising gas prices, turmoil at the Southern border, and radical escalation of the culture wars, there’s been no difficulty.

For weeks now, Twitter has also attempted to discredit the April Arizona election audit commissioned by the Republican-led state Senate.

“Why some officials have raised concerns over the ongoing Republican-commissioned audit of election results in Arizona,” reads the Twitter headline above its trending topic. Users are led down a storyline constructed by tweets with links to articles from the Associated Press, New York Times, and CNN in an attempt to cast doubt on the idea an audit could restore faith in Arizona elections.

All sell the narrative that a thorough review of the results presents a dangerous threat to election integrity.

Twitter frequently blocks speech that some leftists find offensive, but allowed “Uncle Tim” to trend for hours after South Carolina Republican Sen. Tim Scott, who is black, delivered the GOP rebuttal to President Joe Biden’s joint address to Congress.

Two days earlier, Twitter was attempting to cast doubt about COVID-19 case reporting in Florida and Texas, states that relaxed restrictions early in comparison to other states run by lockdown liberals. At the same time, a new bombshell story broke about Biden climate envoy John Kerry. As secretary of state in the Obama White House, Kerry reportedly leaked covert Israeli operations in Syria to Iranian adversaries. Only the Florida and Texas trend received an editorial description in which Twitter employees promoted misinformation to play down the states’ successes.

Earlier this month, Twitter employees also seemed to take it as an insult when Biden, presiding over a new era of inflation, rising gas prices, and lackluster employment, garnered a comparison to former President Jimmy Carter, and made a trending topic out it after a post from Donald Trump Jr.

Twitter’s trend description made sure to remind users, “Carter is a Nobel Peace Prize winner whose humanitarian record is largely respected.”

Tristan Justice is the western correspondent for The Federalist. Follow him on Twitter at @JusticeTristan or contact him at [email protected]

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