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Twitter vows to fight ‘election misinformation.’ More censorship coming

A couple walks into a polling center to vote in the midterm elections on November 6, 2018, in Provo, Utah.
A couple walks into a polling center to vote in the midterm elections on November 6, 2018, in Provo, Utah. | Getty Images/George Frey

In the run-up to November’s midterm elections, Twitter is priming itself to go on a censoring spree in the name of fighting misinformation.  

What could possibly go wrong? 

The social media platform made the announcement Thursday that it was “activating enforcement of our Civic Integrity Policy for the 2022 U.S. midterms.” 

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The tech giant said it would institute so-called prebunks, information designed to counter “misleading narratives,” on top of putting its finger on the scale to prevent tweets containing “misinformation” from reaching users through notifications. 

“Twitter plays a critical role in empowering democratic conversations, facilitating meaningful political debate, and providing information on civic participation—not only in the U.S., but around the world,” the company concluded. “People deserve to trust the election conversations and content they encounter on Twitter.” 

This new policy is ripe for abuse. Twitter has proven time and again it cannot be trusted to serve as a neutral judge of what is or isn’t misinformation.  

The most obvious example of this failure to act neutrally is the botched handling of the Hunter Biden laptop case.  

Twitter was perfectly comfortable “prebunking” the story before the 2020 presidential election. It aggressively blocked the New York Post story reporting on Hunter’s laptop and prevented anyone from linking to it on the site. 

That decision may very well have altered the results of the election.  

Per The Washington Times: 

Trump pollster John McLaughlin found that 4.6% of Biden voters would have changed their minds if they had known about [the Hunter Biden laptop], easily enough to flip results in key states. Another survey by The Polling Company showed that even more Biden voters in seven swing states — 17% — would have switched their votes if they had been aware of the laptop and other stories. 

Not content to indirectly impact the results of an election, Twitter literally takes its marching orders from Democrats.  

Alex Berenson, a former New York Times reporter who was smeared as a COVID-19 conspiracy theorist, obtained documents revealing the White House demanded the site ban him.  

Berenson said on his Substack that according to internal Slack conversations between Twitter employees, Andrew Slavitt, a senior member of Biden’s COVID-19 response team, had mentioned Berenson specifically as a source of COVID-19 misinformation and encouraged the platform to ban him. 

The Daily Signal reached out to Twitter for comment but did not receive a response. 

On top of colluding with the Democrats to eliminate their opposition online, Twitter has permitted blatant lies surrounding elections to stay posted, so long as they benefit the Democrat Party. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tweeted in May 2017 following President Donald Trump’s election victory that “our election was hijacked,” while in April 2020, future White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre tweeted about how Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp stole the election from Stacy Abrams. 

Our election was hijacked. There is no question. Congress has a duty to #ProtectOurDemocracy & #FollowTheFacts.

— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) May 16, 2017

Reminder: Brian Kemp stole the gubernatorial election from Georgians and Stacey Abrams.

— Karine Jean-Pierre (@K_JeanPierre) April 2, 2020

Isn’t that misinformation? 

Despite both tweets being blatantly false and calling into question the integrity of legitimate elections, Twitter has allowed the tweets to stay up with no markings or warnings. 

And we’re supposed to trust it can be neutral for the midterms?  

Heritage Foundation policy analyst Will Thibeau sees the extreme danger in allowing Twitter to unilaterally act as unelected and unreliable arbiters of truth.  

“While the meat of Twitter’s announcement details efforts to protect against deception about election results, times, and locations, the platform gives themselves broad leeway to protect against misleading information about the procedures or circumstances around participation in a civic process,” he told The Daily Signal. “What political conversation on Twitter wouldn’t fall under this scope in an election year?” 

He continued:  

In 2021, the Media Research Center found Twitter censors Republican Members of Congress 53 times for every instance of censorship applied to a Democrat Representative. By wrapping their effort to censor information in an announcement on the ‘civic process,’ Twitter is, once again, laying the groundwork to de-platform voices who don’t align with the political ideology of Silicon Valley. 

The Daily Signal is the media arm of The Heritage Foundation.  

It’s clear that Twitter can’t be trusted to fairly and neutrally judge what is considered misinformation. It has proven time and again that all it cares about is promoting the radical left’s policies and political goals.  

Now, more than ever, there must be reforms to how Big Tech platforms like Twitter are allowed to operate.  

Twitter claims it wants to ensure fair elections take place around the world. 

Then it should open source its algorithms to ensure people know exactly what’s going on behind the scenes, as well as provide details into its content moderations and decisions. 

How better to ensure that everything is fair if people know they won’t be censored for political speech that offends the sensibilities of coastal elites?  

If Twitter wants to be viewed as a reputable source of information, it needs to prove to the American people it deserves that trust.  

Its previous behavior should make everyone suspicious.  

Douglas Blair is a contributor to The Daily Signal and a graduate of Heritage's Young Leaders Program.

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