November 20

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Twitter Censorship–Absurdly Saving the Feelings of Public Figures


UPDATE Dec 7, 2020: The points I make in the following article just got reinforcement from—guess what? Yep, you guessed it—from Twitter itself! Read on to see what I mean...

And In Particular, Douchey Ones! 

So I guess you can say it finally happened—Twitter censorship hit yours truly. I finally got spanked by the little bird. 


And I say "finally" because while I've had the MannArtt account for many years, it's only recently that I started doing much with it. However, it's become increasingly clear in recent years that all the big social media platforms have lost their collective minds. 

I suppose this is appropriate in the Age of Trump, wherein at least 1/2 the American population has lost it's mind by supporting a #WhinyLittleBitch and the Grand Old Perverts' (GOP) politics of bullying and grievance (in other words: we're going to push you around and, win or lose, whine about how unfair things are afterwards).   

So while the spanking itself was over quickly and the hurt only lingered on for about a day or so, I couldn't help but wonder... WTF?!?!? 

I mean, seriously Twitter? What kind of stupid operation are you running over there? Calling Jack Dorsey! I've seen far more "abusive" tweets from sweet lil ol' grandmothers.

It allows Donald Trump and other public figures to verbally attack and insult anyone and everyone. As for #OrangeMenace, he  regularly spews hate and incites violence, as do many of his cretinous followers. And apparently, that's all OK. It's all fine. It's good. No need for Twitter censorship there. 

screenshot of trump offensive tweet which got a twitter violation

Hell, to state what is probably obvious to anyone paying attention to the social media world, this "fine" tweepy platform has been nothing but a profile in abject cowardice for most of the Trump administration.

#PresidentCheeto has tweeted out countless lies on the platform for years now—including some real humdingers—and yet the platform has only recently begun to not so much "fact check" him as flag his duplicitous and deluded communiques as being disputed. 

Talk about far too little, far too late!

Twitter Censorship–Absurdly Saving the Feelings of Public Figures 1

It appears that Twitter censorship, much like American justice writ large, has two levels; one for us plebes and one for the rich and powerful types. And boy are they different!

As for controlling what is said and protecting those who need to hear unvarnished truth, what I've said of Twitter could be said about the other social media platforms as well, not to mention the dread MSM (mainstream media) which has, in effect, coddled The Great Gasbag's incessant lying for most of his presidency.

I remember being in shock when they first started calling his lies... well, LIES! It only took 3+ years. Good job, guys. 

The Joke That Is American Mainstream "Journalism"

MAGAts and Trumpers have complained endlessly that the mainstream media echosphere (which includes the big social media networks) has been unfair to Donald Trump, while I would argue the exact opposite—and quite honestly, I think the proof is self-evident.

If anything, the supposed "foes" of Trump have handled him and his administration with kid gloves.

It wasn't too long ago that I was ready to leap through the TV to personally bitch slap Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper for listening in  silence as one Trump quisling after another spewed absolute tripe and vile deceit on our airwaves (yes, OUR airwaves) and these towering champions of journalistic integrity let them do it, with nary a head tilt. 

This goes to several larger issues in American journalism (certainly at the national level). The first of these is that deference to "authority" seems to supersede the entire point of the exercise. I mean, if journos either can't or won't hold pols honest in the moment, interviews shouldn't ever happen. Giving a lier a platform in which to do it, with few or no limits, seems to me to be the exact opposite of what it's supposed to be all about. 

In it's studied neutrality—both sides are equal, all views have merit—the American MSM has gone to the opposite corner from yellow journalism, to a place where lies, distortions and outright falsehood are as valid as truth. 

The second of these issues, closely related to the first, is access. For TV news people, in particular, it's all about "getting the interview." For the networks themselves, it's all about ratings. For big "gets," like Donald Trump, it's all about spreading the message (lies) as far as possible without hindrance. And in order to keep the big guests happy and continue their access, the big networks and name journos let them do it. 

With apologies to Bob Woodward, and the very few "old school" reporters who don't suffer fools gladly, who tell the freakin' truth regardless of what may happen to access in the future. 

I personally blame the MSM for the rise and ascent of Donald Trump, because instead of exposing him for the fraud and charlatan he was—with a long and well documented history to draw from—it chose to focus on his outrageous and offensive utterances. Not only did this make for great ratings, it allowed Amerika's lazy journos to completely slack off. 

It certainly served Trump very well. Somewhere along the way, he actually figured out that if he slings enough bullshit fast and loud enough, he pushes reporters to cover his words while, more often than not, completely missing his underhanded, shady, self-serving deeds. 

Oh, and I say "somewhere along the way," because at some point it hit home for Trump that what was a natural and uncontrolled proclivity—incessant jabber and world-salad bullshit spew—was the single most effective means of throwing serious and earnest reporters off subjects  they wanted to pursue and onto nonsense which would both, A) waste their time and B) shield him from scrutiny.  

He also figured out that the more outrageous he was, the more incensed and apoplectic "the libs" became, and the more TrumpCult adored him!

The man who once wanted to buy an NFL team and instead settled for the USFL New Jersey Generals—which, like every venture of his own, he soon ran into the ground—learned one lesson that's as true in politics as it is on the football field; there's no defence like a good offence.

Studied moral relativism allows TV journos to give both sides equal time and equal credibility. To use an extreme example, it was as if a death camp survivor and a Nazi prison guard were treated as having equally valid positions—even as the guard accuses the survivor of the being the perpetrator and he the victim.

And research? Fah! Who needs it. Sources? Who needs 'em. Nothing is as interesting or as eyeball-grabbing as the 24/7, all-consuming dumpster fire known as Donald J. Trump.  

I personally think American journalism is more or less intellectually and morally bankrupt. It's fitting in a way, since "old form" journalism, as corrupted as it is today, is effectively dead in an industry which, for all intents and purposes, is in it's death throes anyway. 

 

You Ain't POTUS And You Can't Tweet Like One!

So Trump and some of his quisling followers and deranged supporters can flout the rules with apparent abandon and without concern about Twitter censorship. But be some citizen-schmuck who dares to use tough talk and criticize these oh-so-sensitive, delicate lil snow flakes we've unfortunately elected to public office and...

WHAM! 

The hammer comes down. 

In like... well, almost in real time! It happened that fast. 

Wow!  

Here's what happened yesterday: I fired off a harsh but in no way threatening tweet to Arizona's miserably incompetent and malicious governor, Doug Ducey (i.e. Douchey).

He had been happily chirping about a night on the town with his lady love while tens of thousands in his state were going without food, facing down eviction, finding themselves on the streets and suffering mightily amid yet another Covid-19 wave—the worst so far, nationwide. 

The outrageousness and obnoxiousness of it really pissed me off! 

So, I fired off the tweet. You can see it below.

And not more than 30 seconds later... 

BLAMMO! 

Account locked!!!

Screenshot of Twitter Censorship Notice.

Twitter Censorship—We're All About Free Speech, So Long As We Like What You Say

The platform that loves to position itself as a bastion of unprecedented, unimpeded free speech is clearly full of, to use a Bidenism, "malarky." 

As you can see from the above, my tweet was flagged for violating the rules against "abuse and harassment." To which I would say...

If this tweet constitutes "abuse and harassment," you must think cuss words constitute a major felony. 

I suppose Twitter isn't technically wrong. Calling Ducey "another bootlicking #Trump POS" could be construed as abusive—assuming one is as thin-skinned as an "overly sensitive" five year old. I'm quite sure the man has been called far worse many, many times—even on Twitter! 

Ducey is a well-known Republican politician who has, like most of them, sold what there was of his soul for the "rich rewards" of servile obsequiousness to Donald Trump, the man most scholars and historians already characterize as the worst president of all time.

Ducey's dereliction of duty, willful ignorance and moronic decision-making have cost thousands of Arizonans their lives, and will certainly cost many thousands more before the Covid-19 pandemic is done and dusted. 

So I'm sorry, but I think what I wrote is actually a charitable characterization of the man, given his latest appallinging insensitive and aloof move. Alas, the Twitter Censorship Gods (i.e. Geeks?) see it differently.

OK then. You win, Twitter.  

Twitter Censorship–Absurdly Saving the Feelings of Public Figures 6

Still, given what goes on on the platform every day—insults and invective being slung by users at each other—my tweet is positively mild by comparison. Further, it represents a heartfelt opinion and assessment of Gov. Doug Ducey and his legacy. Boo hoo. And it was a one-off—my first and only tweet to the man locals call Douchey. 

So, harassment? Hardly. Abuse? Yeah, maybe, a bit. But Douchey is a big boy. Pols get taken to task all the time. Is Twitter in the business of saving the Governor's precious widdle feelings? More to the point, should it even be intervening in the case of public figures—in particular, elected officials?

Ducey NEEDS to hear how voters feel about him, whether he likes their choice of words or not. But apparently, Twitter will no longer allow anyone to say anything tough to a public figure. 

Outside of protecting the delicate feelings of these uber-tough-guy delicate-lil-snowflakes, how is this in any way good for freedom of speech and holding public officials accountable? 

So, I filed an appeal (for all the good it did me). Note that at all these big social  platforms, you never actually interact with a human being. It's not clear whether you're even dealing with one behind the scenes. In this age of AI, you may not be. There is no transparency in the process, no dialog, nobody to talk to. 

And all decisions are final. 

Twitter Censorship–Absurdly Saving the Feelings of Public Figures 9

Twitter Censorship Squad: Protecting Delicate GOP Snowflakes at all Costs!

Is there a "Twitter Censorship Squad" empowered by Jack Dorsey to protect the delicate sensitivities of stupid, venal, tone-deaf GOP politicians?

Does Twitter have a bunch of guys who squat on the accounts of Republican officials just waiting for the inevitable hate tweets? Maybe so, because it happened that fast. 

It's probably more likely that one of the words I chose tripped some insidious algorithm, but one has to wonder. I mean, I used the word "die" in there—though not in any way, shape or form threateningly. 

Something or somebody, somewhere at Twitter (and by the same token, at Facebook, YouTube, etc.) is INCREDIBLY STUPID! It's either the algo or the zit faced geeks they're hiring to be hall monitors—or maybe a bit of both. 

I've seen similar shit on YouTube and Facebook. Use a perfectly legitimate word the algo doesn't like and you're dead. For example, if you were to use the word "nazi" in a video, the YouTube algo just assumes that YOU are pro-Nazi or even an actual Hitlerite, regardless of context (and your video will be demonitized and submarined "appropriately"). 

It's like the way TeePublic banned my Confascerate Flag tshirt designs. Context doesn't matter. Use a banned word or an image they don't like and that's it; censorship kicks in!

Anyway, after 12 hours my account was restored. 

Thank You Sir, May I Have Another?

And I confess, I must thank Twitter for this object lesson in stupidity. First, in the stupidity of corporate giants/social media platforms. Second, in the stupidity of investing anything beyond bare minimum energy in social media platforms. 

Combined with recent bad experiences on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram—the hypocrisy, the lack of transparency, the arbitrariness, the total disregard for the time and effort one has put into building out a presence (not to mention making the platform in question money)—this Twitter mini-debacle is an excellent reminder that social media success, if one can even attain it, is fool's gold. 

Because it can be automated, I will probably continue to post status updates to social media. I may even weigh in, if I'm bored. But I will not expend much more time and energy there. Why invest in a "partner" who can (and clearly will) treat you like the proverbial red-headed stepchild? 

Twitter Censorship–Absurdly Saving the Feelings of Public Figures 12

Your (Bad) Social Media Experiences

If you've had similar senseless, stupid, aggravating experiences with any of the social media giants—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, even Google+ (RIP), or others—please feel free to vent below. 

Misery loves company. 

UPDATE

It's always great when you get confirmation of your beliefs. And no, I'm not talkin' about marginal "evidence" that simply reinforces one's own confirmation biases. At least in this case, I'm talkin' about evidence you can point to and compare by. 

No, I'm talkin', in this case, confirmation by way of fairly irrefutable proof kindly delivered (how nice) by freakin' Twitter itself! Here ya go...

Screenshot of Don Winslow's tweet.

Don Winslow called Florida Governor Ron DeSantis "a piece of shit." This is considerably harsher than what I called Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, yet his tweet wasn't nuked, nor, by all appearances was his account shut down, or any other sanction applied. 

Huh. How about that?

How is this not "abuse and harassment" when my tweet was? 

Might the difference have something to do with the fact that Winslow is a well-known author and Trump critic, with a large Twitter following, who has made something of a name for himself by doing hard-hitting, tough, no-nonsense infovids, along the lines of Meidas Touch and the Lincoln Project?

Whatever the case, I think it proves my case pretty definitively. And it also proves that on Twitter, as in US society, there are two different standards of treatment by authority figures,  depending on how well known and influential you are.


Am I wrong? What do you think? 

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About the Author

Mann is a former Hollywood/Fortune 500 Wunderkind/Creative Director who was lucky enough to escape the ad biz with his integrity and sanity still intact. Well, mostly.

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