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BOO HOO! Climate Activists Alarmed That Twitter Now Allows Dissenting Views on Global Warming

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By Bryan Jung for The Epoch Times

An organization that says it is a coalition of “climate and anti-disinformation organisations” says Twitter under CEO Elon Musk is allowing more dissenting views on climate change.

Climate Action Against Disinformation (CAAD), released a Jan. 19 study (pdf), accusing Musk of allowing misinformation about the climate crisis to spread on the social media platform.

The study accused Twitter of boosting the hashtag “#ClimateScam” to users when searching the word “climate,” as its top search result.

The hashtag has suddenly spiked on Twitter search results since July 2022, with its appearance increasing ever since, according to CAAD.

The report said that “in 2022, denialist content made a stark comeback on Twitter in particular.”

Twitter Search

CAAD alleged that at least 91,000 Twitter users reported the #ClimateScam hashtag more than 362,000 times by December.

“The source of its virality is entirely unclear, and re-emphasises the need for transparency on how and why platforms surface content to users,” said the study’s authors.

They said that term appeared to be trending despite “data that shows more activity and engagement on other hashtags such as #ClimateCrisis and #ClimateEmergency.”

The research team claimed that the rise of the term in search results could not be explained by user personalization, the volume of content, or popularity.

“A basic search for ‘climate’ on Facebook did not autofill with overtly sceptic or denialist terms; searching explicitly for #ClimateScam only showed 1.5k users mentioning the term, versus 72k for #ClimateEmergency and 160k for #ClimateCrisis.”

CAAD complained that the source of the #ClimateScam hashtag was unclear and that there was a need for transparency on how the search result came up. (Oh my! NOW they want “transparency!” –TPR)

“Equally, TikTok returned no search results for #ClimateScam, but instead suggested the phrase ‘may be associated with behaviour or content that violates our guidelines.’”

Interest Groups

The authors said that not enough of the content was labeled as misinformation by Twitter’s new management and claimed that it could not find a comparable trend or uptick in “#ClimateScam” on other platforms.

CAAD is partially funded by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), a think tank, which is heavily funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The ISD said it is working with social media platforms to explore radicalization online, to minimize the impact of extremist recruitment by groups in Europe and North America.

Since buying Twitter in October, Elon Musk has reduced the social media team’s staff by 50 percent and cut down its content moderation team to protect freedom of expression.

Musk has been a critic of Twitter’s past relationship with federal authorities and the intelligence services, and has released several batches of the so-called “Twitter Files” since late last year.

So, how does it feel to lose your power, wackos?
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Capsule Summaries of all Twitter Files Threads to Date, With Links and a Glossary

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Thanks Matt.

For those who haven’t been following, a compilation of one-paragraph summaries of all the Twitter Files threads by every reporter. With links and notes on key revelations

It’s January 4th, 2023, which means Twitter Files stories have been coming out for over a month. Because these are weedsy tales, and may be hard to follow if you haven’t from the beginning, I’ve written up capsule summaries of each of the threads by all of the Twitter Files reporters, and added links to the threads and accounts of each. At the end, in response to some readers (especially foreign ones) who’ve found some of the alphabet-soup government agency names confusing, I’ve included a brief glossary of terms to help as well.

In order, the Twitter Files threads:

 

  1. Twitter Files Part 1: December 2, 2022, by @mtaibbi

    TWITTER AND THE HUNTER BIDEN LAPTOP STORY

    Recounting the internal drama at Twitter surrounding the decision to block access to a New York Post exposé on Hunter Biden in October, 2020.

    Key revelations: Twitter blocked the story on the basis of its “hacked materials” policy, but executives internally knew the decision was problematic. “Can we truthfully claim that this is part of the policy?” is how comms official Brandon Borrman put it. Also: when a Twitter contractor polls members of Congress about the decision, they hear Democratic members want more moderation, not less, and “the First Amendment isn’t absolute.”

     

    1a. Twitter Files Supplemental, December 6, 2022, by @mtaibbi

    THE “EXITING” OF TWITTER DEPUTY GENERAL COUNSEL JIM BAKER

    A second round of Twitter Files releases was delayed, as new addition Bari Weiss discovers former FBI General Counsel and Twitter Deputy General Counsel Jim Baker was reviewing the first batches of Twitter Files documents, whose delivery to reporters had slowed.

     

  2. Twitter Files Part 2, by @BariWeiss, December 8, 2022

    TWITTER’S SECRET BLACKLISTS

    Bari Weiss gives a long-awaited answer to the question, “Was Twitter shadow-banning people?” It did, only the company calls it “visibility filtering.” Twitter also had a separate, higher council called SIP-PES that decided cases for high-visibility, controversial accounts.

    Key revelations: Twitter had a huge toolbox for controlling the visibility of any user, including a “Search Blacklist” (for Dan Bongino), a “Trends Blacklist” for Stanford’s Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, and a “Do Not Amplify” setting for conservative activist Charlie Kirk. Weiss quotes a Twitter employee: “Think about visibility filtering as being a way for us to suppress what people see to different levels. It’s a very powerful tool.” With help from @abigailshrier, @shellenbergermd, @nelliebowles, and @isaacgrafstein.

 

  1. Twitter Files, Part 3, by @mtaibbi, December 9, 2022

    THE REMOVAL OF DONALD TRUMP, October 2020 – January 6th, 2021

    First in a three-part series looking at how Twitter came to the decision to suspend Donald Trump. The idea behind the series is to show how all of Twitter’s “visibility filtering” tools were on display and deployed after January 6th, 2021. Key Revelations: Trust and Safety chief Yoel Roth not only met regularly with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, but with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). Also, Twitter was aggressively applying “visibility filtering” tools to Trump well before the election.

 

  1. Twitter Files Part 4, by @ShellenbergerMD, December 10, 2022

    THE REMOVAL OF DONALD TRUMP, January 7th, 2021

    This thread by Michael Shellenberger looks at the key day after the J6 riots and before Trump would ultimately be banned from Twitter on January 8th, showing how Twitter internally reconfigured its rules to make a Trump ban fit their policies.

    Key revelations: at least one Twitter employee worried about a “slippery slope” in which “an online platform CEO with a global presence… can gatekeep speech for the entire world,” only to be shot down. Also, chief censor Roth argues for a ban on congressman Matt Gaetz even though it “doesn’t quite fit anywhere (duh),” and Twitter changed its “public interest policy” to clear a path for Trump’s removal.

     

  2. Twitter Files Part 5, by @BariWeiss, December 11, 2022

    THE REMOVAL OF DONALD TRUMP, January 8th, 2021

    As angry as many inside Twitter were with Donald Trump after the January 6th Capitol riots, staffers struggled to suspend his account, saying things like, “I think we’d have a hard time saying this is incitement.” As documented by Weiss, they found a way to pull the trigger anyway.

    Key revelations: there were dissenters in the company (“Maybe because I am from China,” said one employee, “I deeply understand how censorship can destroy the public conversation”), but are overruled by senior executives like Vijaya Gadde and Roth, who noted many on Twitter’s staff were citing the “Banality of Evil,” and comparing those who favored sticking to a strict legalistic interpretation of Twitter’s rules — i.e. keep Trump, who had “no violation” — to “Nazis following orders.”

 

  1. Twitter Files Part 6, by @mtaibbi, December 16, 2022

    TWITTER, THE FBI SUBSIDIARY

    Twitter’s contact with the FBI was “constant and pervasive,” as FBI personnel, mainly in the San Francisco field office, regularly sent lists of “reports” to Twitter, often about Americans with low follower counts making joke tweets. Tweeters on both the left and the right were affected.

    Key revelations: A senior Twitter executive reports, “FBI was adamant no impediments to sharing” classified information exist. Twitter also agreed to “bounce” content on the recommendations of a wide array of governmental and quasi-governmental actors, from the FBI to the Homeland Security agency CISA to Stanford’s Election Integrity Project to state governments. The company one day received so many moderation requests from the FBI, an executive congratulated staffers at the end for completing the “monumental undertaking.”

 

  1. Twitter Files Part 7, by @ShellenbergerMD, December 19, 2022

    THE FBI AND HUNTER BIDEN’S LAPTOP

    The Twitter Files story increases its focus on the company’s relationship to federal law enforcement and intelligence, and shows intense communication between the FBI and Twitter just before the release of the Post’s Hunter Biden story.

    Key Revelations: San Francisco agent Elvis Chan “sends 10 documents to Twitter’s then-Head of Site Integrity, Yoel Roth, through Teleporter, a one-way communications channel from the FBI to Twitter,” the evening before the release of the Post story. Also, Baker in an email explains Twitter was compensated for “processing requests” by the FBI, saying “I am happy to report we have collected $3,415,323 since October 2019!”

     

The ten teleporter documents referred to in Mike Shellenberger’s FBI thread.
  1. Twitter Files Part 8, by @lhfang, December 20, 2022

    HOW TWITTER QUIETLY AIDED THE PENTAGON’S COVERT ONLINE PSYOP CAMPAIGN

    Lee Fang takes a fascinating detour, looking at how Twitter for years approved and supported Pentagon-backed covert operations. Noting the company explicitly testified to Congress that it didn’t allow such behavior, the platform nonetheless was a clear partner in state-backed programs involving fake accounts.

    Key revelations: after the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) sent over a list of 52 Arab-language accounts “we use to amplify certain messages,” Twitter agreed to “whitelist” them. Ultimately the program would be outed in the Washington Post in 2022 — two years after Twitter and other platforms stopped assisting — but contrary to what came out in those reports, Twitter knew about and/or assisted in these programs for at least three years, from 2017-2020.

    Lee wrote a companion piece for the Intercept here:

     

  2. Twitter Files Part 9, by @mtaibbi, December 24th, 2022

    TWITTER AND “OTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCIES”

    The Christmas Eve thread (I should have waited a few days to publish!) further details how the channels of communication between the federal government and Twitter operated, and reveals that Twitter directly or indirectly received lists of flagged content from “Other Government Agencies,” i.e. the CIA.

    Key revelations: CIA officials attended at least one conference with Twitter in the summer of 2020, and companies like Twitter and Facebook received “OGA briefings,” at their regular “industry” meetings held in conjunction with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. The FBI and the “Foreign Influence Task Force” met regularly “not just with Twitter, but with Yahoo!, Twitch, Cloudfare, LinkedIn, even Wikimedia.”

 

  1. Twitter Files Part 10, by @DavidZweig, December 28, 2022

    HOW TWITTER RIGGED THE COVID DEBATE

    David Zweig drills down into how Twitter throttled down information about COVID that was true but perhaps inconvenient for public officials, “discrediting doctors and other experts who disagreed.”

    Key Revelations: Zweig found memos from Twitter personnel who’d liaised with Biden administration officials who were “very angry” that Twitter had not deplatformed more accounts. White House officials for instance wanted attention on reporter Alex Berenson. Zweig also found “countless” instances of Twitter banning or labeling “misleading” accounts that were true or merely controversial. A Rhode Island physician named Andrew Bostom, for instance, was suspended for, among other things, referring to the results of a peer-reviewed study on mRNA vaccines.

 

  1. and
  2. Twitter Files Parts 11 and 12, by @mtaibbi, January 3, 2023

    HOW TWITTER LET THE INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY IN

    and

    TWITTER AND THE FBI “BELLY BUTTON”

    These two threads focus respectively on the second half of 2017, and a period stretching roughly from summer of 2020 through the present. The first describes how Twitter fell under pressure from Congress and the media to produce “material” showing a conspiracy of Russian accounts on their platform, and the second shows how Twitter tried to resist fulfilling moderation requests for the State Department, but ultimately agreed to let State and other agencies send requests through the FBI, which agent Chan calls “the belly button of the USG.” Revelations: at the close of 2017, Twitter makes a key internal decision. Outwardly, the company would claim independence and promise that content would only be removed at “our sole discretion.” The internal guidance says, in writing, that Twitter will remove accounts “identified by the U.S. intelligence community” as “identified by the U.S.. intelligence community as a state-sponsored entity conducting cyber-operations.”

    The second thread shows how Twitter took in requests from everyone — Treasury, HHS, NSA, FBI, DHS, etc. — and also received personal requests from politicians like Democratic congressman Adam Schiff, who asked to have journalist Paul Sperry suspended.

 

GLOSSARY OF “TWITTER FILES” TERMS

  1. Government Agencies and NGOs

    CISA: The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, an agency within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

    CENTCOM: Central Command of the Armed Forces

    ODNI: Office of the Director of National Intelligence

    FITF: Foreign Influence Task Force, a cyber-regulatory agency comprised of members of the FBI, DHS, and ODNI

    “OGA”: Other Government Agency, colloquially — CIA

    GEC: Global Engagement Center, an analytical division of the U.S. State Department

    USIC: United States intelligence community

    HSIN: Homeland Security Information Network, a portal through which states and other official bodies can send “flagged” accounts

    EIP: Election Integrity Project, a cyber-laboratory based at Stanford University that sends many reports to Twitter

    DFR: Digital Forensic Research lab, an outlet that performs a similar function to the EIP, only is funded by the Atlantic Council

    IRA: Internet Research Agency, the infamous Russian “troll farm” headed by “Putin’s chef,” Yevgheny Prigozhin

     

  2. Twitter or Industry-specific terms

    PII: Can have two meanings. “Personally identifiable information” is self-explanatory, while a “Public Interest Interstitial” is a warning placed over a tweet, so that it cannot be seen. Twitter personnel even use “interstitial” as a verb, as in, “Can we interstitial that?”

    JIRA: Twitter’s internal ticketing system, through which complaints rise and are decided

    PV2: The system used at Twitter to view the profile of any user, to check easily if it has flags like “Trends Blacklist”

    SIP-PES Site Integrity Policy — Policy Escalation Support. SIP-PES is like Twitter’s version of a moderation Supreme Court, dealing with the most high-profile, controversial rulings

    SI: Site integrity. Key term that you’ll see repeately in Twitter email traffic, especially with “escalations,” i.e. tweets or content that have been reported for moderation review

    CHA: Coordinated Harmful Activity

    SRT: Strategic Response Team

    GET: Global Escalation Team

    VF: Visibility Filtering

    GUANO: Tool in Twitter’s internal system that keeps a chronological record of all actions taken on an account

    VIT: Very Important Tweeter. Really.

    GoV: Glorificaiton of Violence

    BOT: In the moderation content, an individualized heuristic attached to an account that moderates certain behavior automatically

    BME: Bulk Media Exploitation

    EP Abuse: Episodic abuse

    PCF: Parity, commentary and fan accounts. “PCF” sometimes appears as a reason an account has escaped an automated moderation process, under a limited exception

    FLC: Forced Login Challenge. Also called a “phone challenge,” it’s a way Twitter attempts to verify if an account is real or automated. “Phone challenges” are seen repeatedly in discussions about verification of suspected “Russia-linked” accounts

    IO: Information Operations, as in The GEC’s mandate for offensive IO to promote American interests.

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Twitter and the FBI “Belly Button”

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I want to thank fellow writer Matt Taibbi for this great article.

Twitter tried to balk at cooperating with government agencies deemed “political.” In the end, it allowed everyone access through the FBI “Belly Button”

In the first week of May, 2020, at the peak of Covid-19 panic, Twitter senior legal executive Stacia Cardille received a communication from the Global Engagement Center (GEC), the would-be operational/analytical arm of the U.S. State Department. Founded in the Obama years under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the GEC was like the State Department’s wannabe version of the NSA or the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Appended to an attachment with a long list of names was a note from the GEC — remember, these were the Trump years — that read, in part:

We are providing these 5,500 accounts that display inorganic behavior and follow two or more of the 36 Chinese diplomatic twitter accounts that we have identified in the report. Due to the fact that these accounts follow two or more of these diplomatic accounts, and a good portion of them are newly created, we believe that they are suspicious.

Let’s stop right there. You do not need to have a legal background to see that something doesn’t look right. Why would a Federal agency send a public company this type of information? Why would you not do your own investigation to see if any laws are being broken?

Twitter should have brought in legal experts to see if this was true. And if it was, why wouldn’t the federal agency turn this over to the DOJ?

 

 

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Thanks to Musk, we now know the so called conspiracy theories were actual facts.

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Thanks to Musk, we now know the so called conspiracy theories were actual facts. So everything about the FBI and Twitter working together was true. The shadow banning, banning, exchanging information and Twitter being paid to block people and information. 

What was pathetic was the FBI statement saying they only made recommendations. Let’s say that’s all they did. Why would a government agency be making suggestions on who to ban or what information should be allowed?

This from Musk.

“To be totally frank, almost every conspiracy theory that people had about Twitter turned out to be true. Is there a conspiracy theory about Twitter that didn’t turn out to be true? So far, they’ve all turned out to be true. If not more true than people thought.”

 

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Something Conservatives knew was happening. Twitter Confirms Shadow Banning Conservatives

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Twitter Confirms Shadow Banning Conservatives

By Jeremy Frankel    |   Thursday, 08 December 2022 09:55 PM EST

 

Journalist Bari Weiss dropped a second round of “Twitter Files” Thursday.

Following last week’s release by new owner Elon Musk through journalist Matt Taibbi that said it revealed Twitter’s collusion with the Biden 2020 presidential campaign, Weiss  revealed “that teams of Twitter employees build blacklists, prevent disfavored tweets from trending, and actively limit the visibility of entire accounts or even trending topics—all in secret, without informing users.”

Weiss dropped the second batch of files on Thursday in a lengthy Twitter thread, continuing: “Twitter once had a mission ‘to give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers.’ Along the way, barriers nevertheless were erected.”

The thread continued with examples, such as Stanford’s Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, who was placed on a “Trends Blacklist” after arguing that COVID-19 lockdowns would harm children. The blacklist prevented his tweets from trending.

Conservative radio and TV host Dan Bongino was placed on a “Search Blacklist” at one point, while the account of conservative activist Charlie Kirk was set to “Do Not Amplify.”

“Twitter denied that it does such things,” Weiss continued. “In 2018, Twitter’s Vijaya Gadde (then Head of Legal Policy and Trust) and Kayvon Beykpour (Head of Product) said: ‘We do not shadow ban.’ They added: ‘And we certainly don’t shadow ban based on political viewpoints or ideology.'”

“What many people call ‘shadow banning,’ Twitter executives and employees call ‘Visibility Filtering’ or ‘VF.’ Multiple high-level sources confirmed its meaning,” Weiss continued. “‘Think about visibility filtering as being a way for us to suppress what people see to different levels. It’s a very powerful tool,’ one senior Twitter employee” said.

“‘VF’ refers to Twitter’s control over user visibility. It used VF to block searches of individual users; to limit the scope of a particular tweet’s discoverability; to block select users’ posts from ever appearing on the ‘trending’ page; and from inclusion in hashtag searches. All without users’ knowledge,” Weiss said.

A Twitter engineer said, and two other Twitter employees confirmed: “We control visibility quite a bit. And we control the amplification of your content quite a bit. And normal people do not know how much we do.”

Weiss added that the Strategic Response Team-Global Escalation Team, or SRT-GET, was the group that made the decision on whether to limit the reach of specific users. This team handled up to 200 “cases” per day.

 

However, there was also a level that existed beyond official ticketing or following Twitter’s policy on paper, called the “Site Integrity Policy, Policy Escalation Support,” or “SIP-PES.”

“This secret group included Head of Legal, Policy, and Trust (Vijaya Gadde), the Global Head of Trust & Safety (Yoel Roth), subsequent CEOs Jack Dorsey and Parag Agrawal, and others,” Weiss continued, adding, “This is where the biggest, most politically sensitive decisions got made. ‘Think high follower account, controversial,’ another Twitter employee told us. For these ‘there would be no ticket or anything.'”

One of these accounts was Libs of TikTok (LTT), which was both placed on the Trends Blacklist and designated as “‘Do Not Take Action on User Without Consulting With SIP-PES.'”

Libs of TikTok, which was started by Chaya Raichik in November 2020 and has over 1.4 million followers, received six suspensions in 2022 alone, Raichik said. “Twitter repeatedly informed Raichik that she had been suspended for violating Twitter’s policy against ‘hateful conduct.'” These suspensions each blocked Raichik from posting for up to a week.

However, Weiss continued, “in an internal SIP-PES memo from October 2022, after her seventh suspension, the committee acknowledged that ‘LTT has not directly engaged in behavior violative of the Hateful Conduct policy.'”

The group internally justified her suspensions by claiming that her posts “encouraged online harassment of ‘hospitals and medical providers’ by insinuating ‘that gender-affirming healthcare is equivalent to child abuse or grooming.'”

However, when Raichik herself was doxxed and a photo of her home and address went up on Twitter, Twitter Support responded: “We reviewed the reported content, and didn’t find it to be in violation of the Twitter rules.” The doxxing tweet is still up, and no action was taken, Weiss said.

“In internal Slack messages, Twitter employees spoke of using technicalities to restrict the visibility of tweets and subjects,” Weiss continued.

Roth said in one of these messages to a colleague that “a lot of times, SI has used technicality spam enforcements as a way to solve a problem created by Safety under-enforcing their policies. Which, again isn’t a problem per se — but it keeps us from addressing the root cause of the issue, which is that our Safety policies need some attention.”

Six days later, Roth messaged an employee on the Health, Misinformation, Privacy, and Identity research team requesting more research to support expanding “non-removal policy interventions like disabling engagements and deamplification/visibility filtering.”

“Roth wrote: ‘The hypothesis underlying much of what we’ve implemented is that if exposure to, e.g., misinformation directly causes harm, we should use remediations that reduce exposure, and limiting the spread/virality of content is a good way to do that.'” Weiss said.

Roth added, “We got Jack on board with implementing this for civic integrity in the near term, but we’re going to need to make a more robust case to get this into our repertoire of policy remediations — especially for other policy domains.”

“The authors,” who include journalists Abigail Shrier, Michael Shellenberger, Nellie Bowles and Isaac Grafstein, “have broad and expanding access to Twitter’s files,” Weiss said. “The only condition we agreed to was that the material would first be published on Twitter.

“We’re just getting started on our reporting. Documents cannot tell the whole story here. A big thank you to everyone who has spoken to us so far. If you are a current or former Twitter employee, we’d love to hear from you. Please write to: tips@thefp.com,” Weiss said.

Weiss concluded by telling readers to watch journalist Matt Taibbi for the next installment.

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Why the left no longer loves Twitter. Inclusiveness.

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Not so long ago the left just loved Twitter. Why? They for the most part would single out Conservatives and use a broad brush when they would call something racist or misinformation. But recently that changed. Gone are the days when COVID looked at from a scientific point of view was banned. Gone when you would be banned for calling the undocumented illegals.

Twitter has missed a few far right loons, but they also are still allowing race baiters and progressive racists spew their hate. So I guess it’s an even trade off. But I FOR ONE HAVE NO ISSUES WITH TWITTER. 64

Any threat especially against law enforcement or politicians will get you banned.
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