When the the State Department’s Global Engagement Center asserted that a 250 000 account network of Chinese propaganda operatives had infiltrated Twitter’s social media platform, the company responded by saying that they believed these accounts were “government entities, nongovernmental organizations, and journalists.”, and thus did not warrant any further action.
Apparently the State Department’s Global Engagement Center had been mistaken.
When the State Department’s Global Engagement Center tried alerting Twitter to an organized Russian twitter disinformation campaign aimed at spreading falsehoods about coronavirus, the social media company again chose to do nothing, and allowed these accounts to remain active.
In both cases, the social media company provided the same explanation: they wanted to see the evidence for themselves, which allegedly the GEC would not provide.
Admirable. Sticking up for their users and refusing to cave in to government overreach says a lot about Twitter’s organizational culture; but more importantly, it speaks volumes about their respect for the idea of freedom of speech.
If Wechat had done something like that in China, the executives probably would’ve been sent to jail, and that’s not an exaggeration — they actually could have been arrested, physically detained and thrown in a prison cell.
Although Twitter deserves to be congratulated for protecting their users and not succumbing to the panic by making hasty decisions in light of the growing coronavirus pandemic, it still raises a very important question. If Twitter will refuse to delete accounts at the request of counter-terrorism agencies because they haven’t been provided with enough evidence, why do they continue to ban ZeroHedge? The supposed ‘fake news’ story that resulted in the ban was proven correct…What could they possibly have to gain by doing something like that..
Could it be that Twitter is afraid of the PR nightmare that would come with admitting that they censored a news organization under false pretenses?
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