Category Archives: Big Tech

Twitter Source Leaks Internal Slack Channel Reconfirming Shadowbanning is Real (VIDEO)

Cristina Laila
April 27, 2022

A Twitter source leaked an internal slack channel reconfirming shadowbanning is indeed real.

Twitter executives have used Orwellian doublespeak to explain their ‘Terms of Service’ and how they moderate content on their platform.

In 2018, Project Veritas released an undercover video showing Twitter engineers bragging about how they target pro-Trump accounts by banning them or hiding their content.

  • Steven Pierre, Twitter engineer explains “shadow banning,” says “it’s going to ban a way of talking”
  • Former Twitter software engineer Abhinav Vadrevu on shadow banning: “they just think that no one is engaging with their content, when in reality, no one is seeing it”
  • Former Twitter Content Review Agent Mo Norai explains banning process: “if it was a pro-Trump thing and I’m anti-Trump… I banned his whole account… it’s at your discretion”

Twitter responded to Project Veritas’ video back in 2018 and said they ‘do not shadowban accounts.’

A Twitter source leaked an internal slack channel confirming that Twitter does indeed shadowban accounts.

WATCH:

Will Elon Musk Keep Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s Executive Who Led the Company’s Censoring and Banning of Patriotic Americans?

Joe Hoft
April 27, 2022

Will Elon Musk keep the top person at Twitter who censored and banned conservatives on the Big Tech giant once he takes over?  

Vijaya Gadde is responsible for the censorship and banning policies at Twitter.  She is famous for this and apparently took great pride in it.  In her role she allows the Ayatollah of Iran to promote hate speech on the platform but she took down the account of the leader of the free world, President Donald Trump.

Ms. Gadde through her actions has little regard for the first amendment in the US Constitution which protects free speech.  The far-left Democrat Party and communists around the world praise her work.  She took down Trump – the biggest and best Twitter user in history – because she and her top management colleagues just didn’t like him.  She didn’t hide it.

Vijaya tweeted openly about President Trump who beat the corrupt Clinton and Obama machines and made America prosperous and the world safe again.  But she didn’t like him and those who supported him.

Breitbart noted:

Writing for the Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post in 2015, Gadde argued that certain users were trying to “silence discourse in the name of free expression.”

“I’m often inspired by the vigorous debates on controversial issues that occur on Twitter, but I’ve also been seriously troubled by the plight of some of our users who are completely overwhelmed by those who are trying to silence healthy discourse in the name of free expression,” she wrote.

As Breitbart News previously profiled, Gadde has a history of donating to Democrats and even publicly defended Yoel Roth, a Twitter official responsible for fact-checking policy, when he called members of the Trump administration “Nazis.”

“No one person at Twitter is responsible for our policies or enforcement actions,” she said. “We are a team with different points of view and we stand behind our people and our decisions to protect the health of the public conversation on our platform.”

Far-left Politico reported on Gadde’s response to Musk’s purchase of Twitter:

Shortly after billionaire Elon Musk bought the powerful social media platform, top Twitter lawyer Vijaya Gadde called a virtual meeting with the policy and legal teams she oversees to discuss what the new ownership could mean for them.

Gadde cried during the meeting as she expressed concerns about how the company could change, according to three people familiar with the meeting. She acknowledged that there are significant uncertainties about what the company will look like under Musk’s leadership.

Twitter spokesperson Trenton Kennedy said Gadde became emotional when discussing her team’s impact and the pride she feels in them.

Under Gadde’s tenure, Twitter got further and further left, eventually banning the President of the United States.  When confronted on Twitter’s rules that go against US free speech law three years ago, Gadde ignored the fact that Twitter was a US company and instead claimed its users were global.   This appeared to be the justification for banning conservatives on the site.

Ms. Gadde was behind the company’s policies that banned huge numbers of conservatives. President Trump was banned because Twitter determined that the President was behind the violence at the US Capitol on Jan 6, 2021. Yet, the site took down the President’s tweet condemning the violence and telling people to go home.

When others shared documents from Hunter’s laptop they were banned claiming this was basically Hunter’s material and therefore the person sharing the material needed to obtain his approval before sharing, totally discounting the fact that Hunter lost that ownership when he signed a contract with a PC repairman.

Americans hope and pray that the company under Elon Musk addresses Twitter’s bias and protects free speech while censoring Twitter’s bias.

Truth Social Is Top Free App, with Twitter Second on IOS Apps Store

Sophie Mann
April 27, 2022

Truth Social on Tuesday ranked as the No. 1 free app on the online iOS apps store, with the Twitter app in second.

The massive surge for the social media app started by former President Donald Trump even caught the attention of the billionaire who is now in the process of buying Twitter.

“Truth Social is currently beating Twitter & TikTok on the Apple Store,” Elon Musk tweeted.

Truth Social was started by Trump and is owned by the Trump Media and Technology Group. The site was launched in late February but had limited new arrivals as the result of an extended beta testing period, which also creating a significant wait list of potential users.

However, the company recently completed the site’s long-prepared migration to Rumble, which has eliminate the backlogs.

On Monday, as Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced a deal with Twitter to buy the platform for roughly $44 billion, Trump said he would not return to it. 

“I am not going on Twitter, I am going to stay on Truth,” he said on Fox News.

Trump Media and Technology Group CEO Devin Nunes told Just the News on Friday that the backlog of accounts waiting to use to the platform has been cleared and is now open to millions of users. 

That same day, Truth Social said the company had completed its move to a new cloud system run by Rumble that would allow it to onboard millions of new users.

Truth Social had throttled new user onboarding after its launch in February, focusing on an extended beta period to test the platform and finish the migration to Rumble’s cloud.

Despite the controlled rollout, early influencers on the Truth Social platform have reported higher engagement with fewer followers than what they generated with platforms like Twitter and Instagram.

“The traffic to the site and to the show is off the chart,” radio host Dan Bongino recently told Just the News, directly challenging reports the platform is a failure. “The engagement is extraordinary right now.”

Nunes explained the reasoning behind a controlled rollout in a recent Just the News TV interview, saying he preferred ensuring quality control over a rushed deployment.

“If you look at Truth Social, where we continue to grow every single day, even though we’re just barely in the testing phase, we continue to prove out the process and focus on our quality and reliability,” Nunes said earlier this month.

TWITTER DEVELOPERS BLOCKED To Prevent Sabotage After Leftist Employees Panic Over Purchase of Highly Censored Platform By Free Speech Advocate Elon Musk

Patty McMurray
Apr 26, 2022

Multiple sources report that Twitter employees who are furious about their new owner’s pledge to restore free speech on one of the world’s largest social media platforms are lashing out in anger and frustration.

Andy Ngo reports that he’s hearing from sources that Twitter employees on internal chats are saying their biggest fear is that the account for President Donald J. Trump will be restored. According to Ngo, many of the employees are expressing hatred for Elon Musk and that they’re sick of hearing about “free speech,” and are “concerned about their mental health.”

Conservative lawyer Mike Cernovich suggests that Twitter employees are shredding documents like Enron.

Disclose TV shared a report from Bloomberg that Twitter’s source code is locked to make it harder for employees to make unauthorized changes to the platform.

Andy Ngo tweeted about sources who told him that Twitter has locked down the ability of its employees to make changes to the platform after Musk sealed the $44 billion deal to purchase the highly censored platform yesterday.

Its “absolutely insane” @ Twitter right now in the virtual valves of private slack rooms & employee group texts, according to an internal source. Their take/breakdown just now: “I feel like I’m going to throw up..I rly don’t wanna work for a company that is owned by Elon Musk.”

The source at Twitter continued, “I don’t rly know what I’m supposed to do…oh my god, my phone’s been blowing up…We have a meeting about it at 5 pm…the CEO is going to address everyone about it” (it=elon) “I hate him, why does he even want this?” they asked…

The employee continued re Elon: 3/“ I feel like he’s this petulant little boy and that he’s doing this to troll…he doesn’t know anything about our policies and what we do…his statement about our algo was fucking insane… “Were just gonna let everyone run amok?…nobody knows.”

Smith deleted his 4th tweet, but fortunately, Sean Davis, the CEO and co-founder of the Federalist was able to capture a screenshot of his post that exposed a Twitter employee who told him that a part of his job is to monitor “toxicity and health trends” on Twitter (conservative speech and any news or information related to alternative treatments for COVID?). The Twitter employee goes on to say he doesn’t know how Musk’s free speech approach to the social media platform will “affect my job.”

The Daily Mail is reporting that Twitter has blocked its developers from making changes to the app to prevent it from being sabotaged by left-wing staff angry at Elon Musk’s $44billion takeover – amid an outbreak of hysteria among liberal social media personalities who are threatening to quit the social media giant.

The Tesla founder said he wanted to re-establish the principle of free speech on the platform and has joined criticism of its moderation policies which are accused of disproportionately targeting conservative voices, but his critics claim he will allow ‘hate to flourish.’

Twitter has now banned any product updates that are not ‘business-critical,’ with the company’s vice-president required to give approval for any to go ahead. The move aims to prevent angry staff from ‘going rogue,’ a source told Bloomberg, and comes after employees dismissed Musk as ‘dangerous to democracy.’

Here’s a video of Twitter employees in Brazil mocking the purchase yesterday.

Do you think it’s appropriate for Elon Musk to lock down the source codes and prevent hostile employees from sabotaging his newly acquired social media platform?

Twitter Accepts Elon Musk’s Buyout Deal

Lauren Feiner
Published April 25, 2022

Twitter’s board has accepted an offer from billionaire Elon Musk to buy the social media company and take it private, the company announced Monday.

The stock closed up 5.64% for the day after it was halted for the news.

“Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated,” Musk said in a statement included in the press release announcing the $44 billion deal. “I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans. Twitter has tremendous potential – I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it.”

The cash deal at $54.20 per share is valued at around $44 billion, according to the press release. Twitter will become a private company once the deal is complete.

The announcement ends a weeks-long saga Musk kicked off when he disclosed a large stake in the company. Soon after, the company said he would join the board, only for Musk to reverse course on that plan several days later. Then, he offered to buy the company at $54.20 per share, his “best and final.” That offer valued Twitter at about $43 billion.

Assuming the deal closes and Musk takes ownership of Twitter, the company will be controlled by the world’s richest person and someone who’s been a heavy critic of the platform while using it in legally contentious ways, mostly through sensitive posts about his car manufacturer, Tesla. Though Musk has indicated that his primary interest in Twitter has to do with what he views as the company’s censorship of free speech, Musk critics are justifiably concerned that the billionaire’s control over the platform will result in the silencing of their voices and others with whom he may disagree.

Twitter’s board sought to fend off a hostile takeover by adopting a so-called poison pill, or shareholder rights agreement, that would allow other shareholders to buy the stock at a discount should Musk or another person or group acquire more than 15% of outstanding common stock. The plan would dilute that person’s holdings in a strategy commonly employed to prevent unwanted acquisitions.

The board seemed to have two reasons to consider rejecting the deal. The first was that the offer, while priced well above Twitter’s current share price, was arguably too low given it had recently surged above that price tag.

The second was that it was initially unclear how Musk would fund the deal. Despite being the world’s richest person, much of his wealth is tied up in Tesla stock, meaning he would likely have to borrow against his holdings to fund the deal.

But the offer became more concrete once Musk announced in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that he received commitments for $46.5 billion to help finance the potential deal. That included about $25.5 billion in debt financing from Morgan Stanley Senior Funding and other firms. He said he committed about $21 billion in equity financing.

Musk said in the same filing he was exploring a tender offer to purchase shares of Twitter directly from shareholders.

Musk’s interest in Twitter comes from his own frequent use of the platform. The Tesla and SpaceX CEO often uses his large platform to share jokes, engage with his 83.6 million followers and make business announcements.

The latter has gotten him in some trouble. He came under SEC investigation after tweeting in 2018 that he had secured funding at $420 per share to take Tesla private. The agency charged Musk with securities fraud as a result of those tweets. Musk and Tesla reached a revised settlement agreement over those charges in 2019, which Musk is now attempting to terminate.

Musk said at the TED2022 conference in Vancouver earlier this month that he did in fact have funding secured at the time of that tweet, adding that he was “forced to concede to the SEC unlawfully” in the settlement. The SEC declined to comment on Musk’s remarks at the time.

Shortly after the conference, a court filing from a class-action lawsuit by shareholders against Musk revealed that the judge presiding over that case concluded Musk knowingly made false statements about the funding at the time of the tweet.

Also at the TED2022 conference, Musk shared how he would like to see the platform change under his ownership.

“I think it’s very important for there to be an inclusive arena for free speech,” he said at the time, acknowledging that some content moderation would be needed to deal with explicit calls to violence and ensure the service complied with the laws in the country in which it operates.

He also said he generally would prefer “time-outs” to permanent bans, which could suggest a path for former President Donald Trump to rejoin the platform under Musk’s control. Twitter banned Trump from the platform following his tweets around the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, citing “the risk of further incitement of violence.”

Some Republican lawmakers have expressed excitement at the prospect of Musk owning the company after complaining for years of what they say is censorship of conservative voices by mainstream tech companies. Twitter and others have said they do not censor speech based on ideology, but instead enforce their stated community guidelines.

On Friday, House Judiciary Committee Republicans asked Twitter board members to preserve records related to Musk’s bid, setting the stage for a potential congressional probe and subpoenas should the party win back control of the chamber after this year’s midterm elections.

Here’s the full announcement from Twitter:

“Twitter, Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by an entity wholly owned by Elon Musk, for $54.20 per share in cash in a transaction valued at approximately $44 billion. Upon completion of the transaction, Twitter will become a privately held company.

Under the terms of the agreement, Twitter stockholders will receive $54.20 in cash for each share of Twitter common stock that they own upon closing of the proposed transaction. The purchase price represents a 38% premium to Twitter’s closing stock price on April 1, 2022, which was the last trading day before Mr. Musk disclosed his approximately 9% stake in Twitter.

Bret Taylor, Twitter’s Independent Board Chair, said, “The Twitter Board conducted a thoughtful and comprehensive process to assess Elon’s proposal with a deliberate focus on value, certainty, and financing. The proposed transaction will deliver a substantial cash premium, and we believe it is the best path forward for Twitter’s stockholders.”

Parag Agrawal, Twitter’s CEO, said, “Twitter has a purpose and relevance that impacts the entire world. Deeply proud of our teams and inspired by the work that has never been more important.”

“Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated,” said Mr. Musk. “I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans. Twitter has tremendous potential – I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it.”

Transaction Terms and Financing

The transaction, which has been unanimously approved by the Twitter Board of Directors, is expected to close in 2022, subject to the approval of Twitter stockholders, the receipt of applicable regulatory approvals and the satisfaction of other customary closing conditions.

Mr. Musk has secured $25.5 billion of fully committed debt and margin loan financing and is providing an approximately $21.0 billion equity commitment. There are no financing conditions to the closing of the transaction.

For further information regarding all terms and conditions contained in the definitive transaction agreement, please see Twitter’s Current Report on Form 8-K, which will be filed in connection with the transaction.

First Quarter 2022 Earnings Results

Twitter plans to release its first quarter fiscal year 2022 results before market open on April 28, 2022. In light of the pending transaction announced today, Twitter will not hold a corresponding conference call.

Advisors

Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC, J.P. Morgan, and Allen & Co. are serving as financial advisors to Twitter, and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Professional Corporation and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP are serving as legal counsel. Morgan Stanley is acting as lead financial advisor to Mr. Musk. BofA Securities and Barclays are also acting as financial advisors. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is serving as legal counsel.”

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

Former Intelligence Officials, Citing Russia, Say Big Tech Monopoly Power is Vital to National Security

When the U.S. security state announces that Big Tech’s centralized censorship power must be preserved, we should ask what this reveals about whom this regime serves.

A group of former intelligence and national security officials on Monday issued a jointly signed letter warning that pending legislative attempts to restrict or break up the power of Big Tech monopolies — Facebook, Google, and Amazon — would jeopardize national security because, they argue, their centralized censorship power is crucial to advancing U.S. foreign policy. The majority of this letter is devoted to repeatedly invoking the grave threat allegedly posed to the U.S. by Russia as illustrated by the invasion of Ukraine, and it repeatedly points to the dangers of Putin and the Kremlin to justify the need to preserve Big Tech’s power in its maximalist form. Any attempts to restrict Big Tech’s monopolistic power would therefore undermine the U.S. fight against Moscow.

While one of their central claims is that Big Tech monopoly power is necessary to combat (i.e., censor) “foreign disinformation,” several of these officials are themselves leading disinformation agents: many were the same former intelligence officials who signed the now-infamous-and-debunked pre-election letter fraudulently claiming that the authentic Hunter Biden emails had the “hallmarks” of Russia disinformation (former Obama Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former Obama CIA Director Michael Morrell, former Obama CIA/Pentagon chief Leon Panetta). Others who signed this new letter have strong financial ties to the Big Tech corporations whose power they are defending in the name of national security (Morrell, Panetta, former Bush National Security Adviser Fran Townsend).

The ostensible purpose of the letter is to warn of the national security dangers from two different bipartisan bills — one pending in the Senate, the other in the House — that would prohibit Big Tech monopolies from using their vertical power to “discriminate” against competitors (the way Google, for instance, uses its search engine business to bury the videos of competitors to its YouTube property, such as Rumble, or the way Google and Apple use their stores and Amazon uses its domination over hosting services to destroy competitors). 

One bill in the Senate is co-sponsored by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), and has attracted ample support in both parties, as has a similar House bill co-sponsored by House Antitrust Committee Chair David Cicilline (D-RI) and ranking member Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO). The amount of bipartisan support each bill has garnered — and the widespread animosity toward Big Tech reflected by this Congressional support — has shocked Google, Amazon, Apple, and Facebook lobbyists, who are accustomed to getting their way in Washington with lavish donations to the key politicians in each party. 

This letter by former national security officials is, in one sense, an act of desperation. The bills have received the support of the key committees with jurisdiction over antitrust and Big Tech. In the Senate, five conservative Republican Committee members who have been outspoken critics of Big Tech power — Grassley, Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Josh Hawley (R-MI), Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) — joined with Democrats to ensure the passage of one bill out of the Judiciary Committee by a 16-6 vote, with a companion bill passing that Committee with the support of 20 of twenty-two Senators. As The Intercept‘s Sara Sirota and Ryan Grim report: “Both bills have Big Tech reeling” since “a floor vote would likely be a blowout for Big Tech.”

The extreme animus harbored by large parts of the left and right toward Big Tech make it very difficult for any lawmaker to go on record in opposition to these proposed bills if they are forced to publicly take a position in a floor vote. Many Senators with financial ties to Big Tech — including the two California Senate Democrats who represent Silicon Valley and are recipients of their largesse (Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla) — have expressed reservations about these reform efforts and have refused to co-sponsor the bill, yet still voted YES when forced to vote in Committee. This shows that public pressure to rein in Big Tech is becoming too large to enable Silicon Valley to force lawmakers to ignore their constituents’ wishes with lobbyist donations. These politicians will work behind the scenes to kill efforts to rein in Big Tech, but will not vote against such efforts if forced to take a public position.

As a result, Big Tech’s last hope is to keep the bill from reaching the floor where Senators would be forced to go on record, a goal they hope will be advanced by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York due to his close ties to Silicon Valley. “Both [Schumer’s] children are on the payroll of companies the proposals would seek to rein in,” reported The New York Post: “Jessica Schumer is a registered lobbyist at Amazon, according to New York state records. Alison Schumer works at Facebook as a product marketing manager.” Despite that, Schumer claimed to The Intercept that he supports both bills and will vote in favor of them, even though he has engaged in maneuvers to impede the bills from getting a full floor vote.


This is where these former intelligence and national security officials come in. While these former CIA, Homeland Security and Pentagon operatives have little sway in the Senate Judiciary and House Antitrust Committees, they command great loyalty from Congressional national security committees. Those committees, created to exert oversight of the U.S. intelligence and military agencies, are notoriously captive to the U.S. National Security State. The ostensible purpose of this new letter is to insist that Big Tech monopoly power is vital to U.S. national security — because it is necessary for them to censor “disinformation” from the internet, especially now with the grave Russian threat reflected by the war in Ukraine — and they thus demand that the anti-Big-Tech bills first be reviewed not only by the Judiciary and Antitrust Committees, but also the national security committees where they wield power and influence, which have traditionally played no role in regulating the technology sector:

We call on the congressional committees with national security jurisdiction – including the Armed Services Committees, Intelligence Committees, and Homeland Security Committees in both the House and Senate – to conduct a review of any legislation that could hinder America’s key technology companies in the fight against cyber and national security risks emanating from Russia’s and China’s growing digital authoritarianism. 

Why would these former national security and intelligence officials be so devoted to preserving the unfettered power of Big Tech to control and censor the internet? One obvious explanation is the standard one that always runs Washington: several of them have a financial interest in serving Big Tech’s agenda. 

Unsurprisingly, Apple CEO Tim Cook has himself pushed the claim that undermining Big Tech’s power in any way would threaten U.S national security. And there is now an army of well-compensated-by-Silicon-Valley former national security officials echoing his message. A well-researched Politico articlefrom September — headlined: “12 former security officials who warned against antitrust crackdown have tech ties” — detailed how many of these former officials who invoke national security claims to protect Big Tech are on the take from the key tech monopolies:

The warning last week from a dozen former national security leaders was stark: An antitrust crackdown on Silicon Valley could threaten the nation’s economy and “cede U.S. tech leadership to China.”

But the group was united by more than their histories of holding senior defense and intelligence roles in the Trump, Obama and George W. Bush administrations: All 12 have ties to major tech companies, either from working with them directly or serving with organizations that get money from them, according to a POLITICO analysis….

Seven of the 12, including Panetta, hold roles at Beacon Global Strategies, a public relations firm that according to a person familiar with the matter counts Google as a client…Five of the former officials, including former director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Robert Cardillo and former National Security Agency deputy director Richard Ledgett, serve as advisory board members at Beacon. Panetta and Michael Morell, a former acting CIA director under President Barack Obama, are senior counselors for the firm….

Frances Townsend, who was a counterterrorism and homeland security adviser to President George W. Bush, is on the national security advisory board for American Edge, a Facebook-funded groupthat opposes changes to strengthen antitrust laws….Townsend is also on the board of directors of the Atlantic Council, which counts Facebook and Google as funders; the board of trustees for Center for Strategic and International Studies, which counts Apple and Google as funders; and the board of directors of the Council on Foreign Relations, which receives money from Microsoft and counts Facebook and Google in its highest membership category.

As Rep. Buck, the Colorado House Republican who favors reform, put it: “It is not surprising that individuals who receive money from Big Tech are defending Big Tech. At the end of the day, Big Tech is harming U.S. competition and innovation through anticompetitive practices.” In other words, these former intelligence officials are exploiting their national security credentials to protect an industry in which they have a deep financial interest. 

The view that preservation of Big Tech is vital for national security is by no means a unanimous view even in that world. Retired Gen. Wesley Clark and others have vehemently argued that this claim is a “myth.” As veteran internet security expert Bruce Schneier observed: “These bills will encourage competition, prevent monopolist extortion, and guarantee users a new right to digital self-determination.” But the National Security State has enough True Believers combined with paid shills to make it appear as if Americans should be desperate to preserve and protect Big Tech’s power because this power is crucial to keeping America safe and, particularly, fighting Russia.

There are indeed valid and rational reasons for these officials to view Big Tech monopoly power as a vital weapon in advancing their national security agenda. As I documented last week when reporting on the unprecedented censorship regime imposed in the West regarding the war in Ukraine, Big Tech censorship of political speech is not random. Domestically, it is virtually always devoted to silencing any meaningful dissent from liberal orthodoxy or official pieties on key political controversies. But in terms of foreign policy, the censorship patterns of tech monopolies virtually always align with U.S. foreign policy, and for understandable reasons: Big Tech and the U.S. security state are in a virtually complete union, with all sorts of overlapping, mutual financial interests:

Note that this censorship regime is completely one-sided and, as usual, entirely aligned with U.S. foreign policy. Western news outlets and social media platforms have been flooded with pro-Ukrainian propaganda and outright lies from the start of the war. A New York Timesarticle from early March put it very delicately in its headline: “Fact and Mythmaking Blend in Ukraine’s Information War.” Axios was similarly understated in recognizing this fact: “Ukraine misinformation is spreading — and not just from Russia.” Members of the U.S. Congress have gleefully spreadfabrications that went viral to millions of people, with no action from censorship-happy Silicon Valley corporations. That is not a surprise: all participants in war use disinformation and propaganda to manipulate public opinion in their favor, and that certainly includes all direct and proxy-war belligerents in the war in Ukraine.

Yet there is little to no censorship — either by Western states or by Silicon Valley monopolies — of pro-Ukrainian disinformation, propaganda and lies. The censorship goes only in one direction: to silence any voices deemed “pro-Russian,” regardless of whether they spread disinformation….Their crime, like the crime of so many other banished accounts, was not disinformation but skepticism about the US/NATO propaganda campaign. Put another way, it is not “disinformation” but rather viewpoint-error that is targeted for silencing. One can spread as many lies and as much disinformation as one wants provided that it is designed to advance the NATO agenda in Ukraine (just as one is free to spread disinformation providedthat its purpose is to strengthen the Democratic Party, which wields its majoritarian power in Washington to demand greater censorship and commands the support of most of Silicon Valley). But what one cannot do is question the NATO/Ukrainian propaganda framework without running a very substantial risk of banishment.

It is unsurprising that Silicon Valley monopolies exercise their censorship power in full alignment with the foreign policy interests of the U.S. Government. Many of the key tech monopolies — such as Google and Amazon — routinely seek and obtain highly lucrative contracts with the U.S. security state, including both the CIA and NSA. Their top executives enjoy very close relationships with top Democratic Party officials. And Congressional Democrats have repeatedly hauled tech executives before their various Committees to explicitly threaten themwith legal and regulatory reprisals if they do not censor more in accordance with the policy goals and political interests of that party.

Needless to say, the U.S. security state wants to maintain a stranglehold on political discourse in the U.S. and the world more broadly. They want to be able to impose propagandistic narratives without challenge and advocate for militarism without dissent. To accomplish that, they need a small handful of corporations which are subservient to them to hold in their hands as much concentrated power over the internet as possible. 

If a free and fair competitive market were to arise whereby social media platforms more devoted to free speech could fairly compete with Google and Facebook— as the various pending bills in Congress are partially designed to foster — then that new diversity of influence, that diffusion of power, would genuinely threaten the ability of the CIA and the Pentagon and the White House to police political discourse and suppress dissent from their policies and assertions. By contrast, by maintaining all power in the hands of the small coterie of tech monopolies which control the internet and which have long proven their loyalty to the U.S. security state, the ability of the U.S. national security state to maintain a closed propaganda system around questions of war and militarism is guaranteed. 


In this new letter, these national security operatives barely bother to hide their intention to exploit the strong animosity toward Russia that they have cultivated, and the accompanying intense emotions from the ubiquitous, unprecedented media coverage of the war in Ukraine, to prop up their goals. Over and over, they cite the grave Russian threat — a theme they have been disseminating and manufacturing since the Russiagate fraud of 2016 — to manipulate Americans to support the preservation of Big Tech’s concentrated power, and to imply that anyone seeking to limit Big Tech power or make the market more competitive is a threat to U.S. national security:

This is a pivotal moment in modern history. There is a battle brewing between authoritarianism and democracy, and the former is using all the tools at its disposal, including a broad disinformation campaign and the threat of cyber-attacks, to bring about a change in the global order. We must confront these global challenges. . . . U.S. technology platforms have given the world the chance to see the real story of the Russian military’s horrific human rights abuses in Ukraine. . . . At the same time, President Putin and his regime have sought to twist facts in order to show Russia as a liberator instead of an aggressor. . . . 

The Russian government is seeking to alter the information landscape by blocking Russian citizens from receiving content that would show the true facts on the ground. .. . . . Indeed, it is telling that among the Kremlin’s first actions of the war was blocking U.S. platforms in Russia. Putin knows that U.S. digital platforms can provide Russian citizens valuable views and facts about the war that he tries to distort through lies and disinformation. U.S. technology platforms have already taken concrete steps to shine a light on Russia’s actions to brutalize Ukraine. . . . Providing timely and accurate on-the-ground information – and disrupting the scourge of disinformation from Russian state media – is essential for allowing the world (including the Russian people) to see the human toll of Russia’s aggression. . . . [T]he United States is facing an extraordinary threat from Russian cyber-attacks . . . 

In the face of these growing threats, U.S. policymakers must not inadvertently hamper the ability of U.S. technology platforms to counter increasing disinformation and cybersecurity risks, particularly as the West continues to rely on the scale and reach of these firms to push back on the Kremlin . . . . Russia’s invasion of Ukraine marks the start of a new chapter in global history, one in which the ideals of democracy will be put to the test. The United States will need to rely on the power of its technology sector to ensure that the safety of its citizens and the narrative of events continues to be shaped by facts, not by foreign adversaries.

It is hardly controversial or novel to observe that the U.S. security state always wants and needs a hated foreign enemy precisely because it allows them to claim whatever powers and whatever budgets they want in the name of stopping that foreign villain. And every war and every new enemy ushers in new authoritarian powers and the trampling of civil liberties: both the First War on Terror, justified by 9/11, and the New Domestic War on Terror, justified by 1/6, should have taught us that lesson permanently. Usually, though, U.S. security state propagandists are a bit more subtle about how they manipulate anger and fear of foreign villains to manipulate public opinion for their own authoritarian ends. 

Perhaps because of their current desperation about the support these bills have attracted, they are now just nakedly and shamelessly trying to channel the anger and hatred that they have successfully stoked toward Russia to demand that Big Tech not be weakened, regulated or restricted in any way. The cynical exploitation could hardly be more overt: if you hate Putin the way any loyal and patriotic American should, then you must devote yourself to full preservation of the power of Google, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon. 

It should go without saying that these life-long security state operatives do not care in the slightest about the dangers of “disinformation.” Indeed — as evidenced by the fact that most of them generated one Russiagate fraud after the next during

Room Erupts When Elon Musk Gives 2-Word Answer About His Next Move

Martin Walsh
April 15, 2022

Tesla CEO Elon Musk gave a simple response when asked about whether he has a “plan B” option for Twitter.

During a TED talk, host Chris Anderson asked Musk if there was a “Plan B” if his current offer to buy Twitter in an all-cash deal were rejected.

“There is,” Musk said.

“Well, I think we would want to err on — if in doubt, let the speech — let it exist. If it’s a gray area, I would say let the tweet exist. But obviously, in a case where there’s perhaps a lot of controversies that you would not want to necessarily promote that tweet, you know. So, I’m not — I’m not saying that I have all the answers here, but I do think that we want to be just very reluctant to delete things and have — just be very cautious with permanent bans. You know, timeouts, I think, are better than sort of permanent bans,” he continued.

“But just in general, like it said, it won’t be perfect, but I think we wanted to really have like the perception and reality that speech is as free and reasonably possible, and a good sign as to whether there is free speech is, is someone you don’t like allowed to say something you don’t like? And if that is the case, then we have free speech. And it’s damn annoying when someone you don’t like says something you don’t like. That is a sign of a healthy, functioning free speech situation,” he added.

WATCH:

On Wednesday, Musk announced that he had formally offered to buy Twitter outright.

Musk offered to buy the company for $54.20 a share, which he said was his “best and final offer,” representing a 54 percent premium over the day before he began investing in the company in late January. It would value the company at about $43 billion.

Musk said “I don’t have confidence in management” and that he couldn’t make the changes he wanted in the public market.

In a letter to Twitter, Musk said that he believes the company “will neither thrive nor serve [its free speech] societal imperative in its current form. Twitter needs to be transformed as a private company.”

“If the deal doesn’t work, given that I don’t have confidence in management nor do I believe I can drive the necessary change in the public market, I would need to reconsider my position as a shareholder,” he said.

Musk has hired Morgan Stanley as an advisor to help with the takeover of the social media giant.

Days ago, it was speculated that his decision not to take the job means he is now free to improve his position within the company, as in, buy more stock.

Musk signed an agreement with Twitter for the following terms as long as he serves on the board: “Mr. Musk agrees that, for so long as Mr. Musk is serving on the Board and for 90 days thereafter, Mr. Musk will not, either alone or as a member of a group, become the beneficial owner of more than 14.9% of Company’s common stock outstanding at such time, including for these purposes economic exposure through derivative securities, swaps or hedging transactions.”

But since Musk declined to join Twitter’s board, he is no longer bound by that stipulation, journalist Yashar Ali noted.

Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal said in a statement released Sunday night that it was Musk’s decision to not join the company’s board after he was offered a seat.

“Elon Musk has decided not to join our board,” Agrawal said. “The Board and I had many discussions about Elon joining the board, and with Elon directly. We were excited to collaborate and clear about the risks. We also believed that having Elon as a fiduciary of the company where he, like all board members, has to act in the best interests of the company and all our shareholders, was the best path forward. The board offered him a seat.”

“We announced on Tuesday that Elon would be appointed to the Board contingent on a background check and formal acceptance,” Agrawal continued. “Elon’s appointment to the board was to become officially effective 4/9, but Elon shared that same morning that he will no longer be joining the board. I believe this is for the best.

“We have and will always value input from our shareholders whether they are on our Board or not. Elon is our biggest shareholder and we will remain open to his input,” Agrawal added.

“There will be distractions ahead, but our goals and priorities remain unchanged,” the statement added. “The decisions we make and how we execute are in our hands, no one else’s. Let’s tune out the noise, and stay focused on the work and what we’re building.”

Musk Offers to Buy Twitter, Social Media Platform Valued at $43 Billion

Sophie Mann
April 14, 2022

Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk has offered to buy all of Twitter at a price that values the social media platform at more than $43 billion. Musk called the offer his “best and final,” and said if it was not accepted he would have to “reconsider my position as a shareholder.”

He made the offer in a regulatory filing Thursday.

“I invested in Twitter as I believe in its potential to be the platform for free speech around the globe, and I believe free speech is a societal imperative for a functioning democracy,” wrote the Tesla CEO in a letter to the company’s board chair.

Last week, he bought a 9% stake in Twitter, making him the platform’s largest shareholder. 

His filing Thursday continued: “However, since making my investment I now realize the company will neither thrive nor serve this societal imperative in its current form. Twitter needs to be transformed as a private company.”

“As a result, I am offering to buy 100% of Twitter for $54.20 per share in cash, a 54% premium over the day before I began investing in Twitter and a 38% premium over the day before my investment was publicly announced. My offer is my best and final offer and if it is not accepted, I would need to reconsider my position as a shareholder.”

Musk is the CEO of the pioneering electric vehicle company Tesla. His personal worth is valued at about $259 billion. 

“Twitter has extraordinary potential,” he also wrote. “I will unlock it.”

Oops: WaPo Tries to Start War with Musk, But Everything Goes Bad When People Notice What Got Printed

Mike Landry, The Western Journal
April 12, 2022

“Democracy Dies in Darkness,” says the mast of The Washington Post.

And the Posties say it with a straight face, despite the publication’s ownership by one of the czars of knowledge, commerce and all other things extant and of importance, Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.

The Post pages recently dripped with irony as an op-ed contributor called for regulation “to prevent rich people from controlling our channels of communication.”

That’s what the Post said, or at least that’s what Ellen K. Pao wrote in Friday’s edition of a newspaper owned by one of the wealthiest human beings on the planet.

Ah, you can’t make this stuff up.

Pao, a tech investor, was addressing the big purchase of Twitter stock by Tesla’s Elon Musk and Musk’s critical view of Twitter’s practices of censorship — censorship that has included booting a then-sitting president of the United States, Donald Trump, off the platform in January 2021.

Pao is not amused.

“For those of us who care about equity and accountability, Musk’s appointment to such a prominent role at a platform that serves hundreds of millions of users daily is highly disconcerting — a slap in the face, even,” she wrote.

Pao has her equity bona fides. She and six other women founded Project Include, aimed at diversity and inclusion in the high-tech industry.

And she has the scars from her battles in Silicon Valley. In 2012 she filed a discrimination suit against her employer Kleiner Perkins after its top executives, including a man who mentored her, deemed her unqualified for promotion.

She sued, claiming retaliation from a junior partner with whom she was romantically involved.

And she’s alarmed that Musk believes Twitter should be less restrictive on “speech that many see as hateful, abusive or dangerous.”

She gave examples — Musk shows “very little empathy” in his tweets, is insulting, and posted, then deleted, a tweet comparing Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister, to Adolph Hitler.

Critical of Musk’s claim to be “a free-speech absolutist,” Pao said private platforms should not allow everything to be published.

Teenage girls have been harmed by postings on Facebook, she wrote, and former CEOs of Twitter have expressed regret for what they have allowed to be posted on their platforms.

Of course, because Pao’s argument is ultimately against the peskiness of free speech and its attendant First Amendment, to bolster her position she must provide some direct and indirect ad hominem attacks against Musk.

There is rampant sexism and racism at Tesla, she said, citing some court cases against the company.

That’s proof, according to Pao, that Musk should be nowhere near social media.

“There are clearly dangers to creating workplaces in which people feel free to say and do things that demean their co-workers,” she said. “There are dangers to abetting such abuse on social media platforms, too.”

In addition, Pao wrote “Musk’s appointment to Twitter’s board shows that we need regulation of social-media platforms to prevent rich people from controlling our channels of communication.

“For starters, we need consistent definitions of harassment and of content that violates personal privacy.”

On Sunday night, Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal announced Musk would not be joining the Twitter board after all.

Pao said that without regulation of social media, people will continue to be harmed, especially “those who have been harmed for centuries — women and members of marginalized racial and ethnic groups.

“The people who benefit from unrestricted amplification of their views will also be the same people who have benefited from that privilege for centuries,” she concluded.

So is that the real gripe of Pao, daughter of Taiwanese immigrants — Musk is a white man; guys like that must be censored?

No one advocates absolute freedom in media.

U.S. laws have done a good job of providing limits regarding libel, slander, calls for violence and pornography.

Pao can be commended for when, as a temporary CEO of Reddit, she banned revenge porn from that platform, prompting other platforms to follow her lead.

But traditions following court cases surrounding the First Amendment have provided adequate protections against media abuse while recognizing the importance of the free exchange of ideas.

That free exchange remains something that individuals like Ellen Pao — and all of Silicon Valley — must be kept from limiting or destroying.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

Musk Updates SEC Filing: Bad News for Anyone Who Thought He’d Stay Silent About Twitter

Jack Davis, The Western Journal
April 11, 2022

A new filing clears the way for major Twitter shareholder Elon Musk to play both an inside game and an outside one as he pursues whatever plan he has in mind for the social media giant.

Musk, CEO of Space X and Tesla, bought a huge share of Twitter but turned down a seat on Twitter’s board.

In addition, Musk has filed a new Securities and Exchange Commission document that takes off just about all restrains upon the wild card investor, according to The Verge.

Read more: https://www.westernjournal.com/musk-updates-sec-filing-bad-news-anyone-thought-stay-silent-twitter/#ixzz7QGElfHT1