Twitter is like crack — something we keep using even though we know better, even though it might kill us. All the social networks have some resemblance to that drug, but Twitter most of all. It especially mesmerizes people in the media who feel they must make their mark on it or suffer the worst fate imaginable — to be ignored.
Twitter is also said to be seriously biased against the right, sometimes even the milder center-right. At first, this seemed exaggerated, but the truth may be greater than we imagined. The well-respected Sean Davis of The Federalist was skeptical, but just found one of his tweets was “shadowbanned.” Twitter even admitted it. And the subject was important, perhaps even crucial, as it related to the ongoing Russia/FISA investigations. Davis tweeted:
Twitter confirmed to me today via e-mail that it did shadowban one of my tweets about Lisa Page’s congressional testimony in order to “keep people safe[.]” Twitter deliberately deleted the tweet/URL, yet kept it visible for me when I was logged in so I’d think it was still up.
To “keep people safe” [bold obviously mine]. How’s that for Politburo-speak? Orwell couldn’t have done better. The Social Justice Warriors seem to have taken over Twitter — or maybe that’s what its management really is. You can read Davis’ whole thread here.
In any case, it’s just the tip of a discriminatory iceberg based on algorithms we will never know. In the early days of computers, we used to say “garbage in/garbage out.” Now it’s “ideology in/ideology out.” And everyone gets indoctrinated, most often without realizing it.
Meanwhile, to borrow a phrase, what is to be done?
Twitter and its fellow social media sites (Facebook, etc.) are all tech giants patronized by an extraordinary percentage of humanity, including conservatives and libertarians of all stripes. These companies are, as we know, private and therefore the same conservatives and libertarians are loath to interfere with them.
Nevertheless, some are proposing anti-trust legislation of various sorts. Whether you like this or not, in the short run it is highly unlikely to happen. The Democrats control the House and, whatever public pronouncements they may make, are not about to handcuff the very companies that are getting them elected, especially now.
And then there are those on the right who sought to establish their own social media companies. We know how that went. The “first mover” advantage was way too strong.
So now what?
Well, obviously (but don’t tell Bill Kristol), Donald J. Trump.
POTUS is the five-hundred-pound gorilla on Twitter. If he left it, the stock (up 8.80% ytd) would tank. Jack Dorsey, its “progressive” CEO and also CEO of Square payments, would be left holding the proverbial bag (some would say he deserves it).
Problem is — catch — Trump can’t leave now. Twitter is, alas, the best way for him to get through to the public. The MSM distorts nearly everything he says and even Fox News hasn’t been completely reliable of late. And Trump, also of late, is getting pretty good at tweeting. He doesn’t make as many mistakes as he used to. He might even be getting as good as James Woods — and that’s pretty damn good indeed.
Trump will need Twitter even more during the election, once the Democrats have settled on their candidate and the media can take full aim — even more than now, if that’s possible — at the president. He will have to have a way to fire back.
But AFTER the election, assuming he wins and even if not, he can quit. He would be doing a great service, liberating us from at least one of the pernicious social media sites. Those of us who are parents have watched in despair at the negative influence these companies have had on our children (particularly Facebook in that regard). Without social media, we could all go outside and play again. Hey, spring is around the corner.
So do it, Donald. After the election. Ankle Twitter, in Hollywood parlance. It may be as important as peace with North Korea. It certainly will do a lot to fight addiction, because it’s one of our more serious drugs, not as dangerous as fentanyl, but close — a fentanyl of the mind.
Roger L. Simon — co-founder and CEO emeritus of PJ Media — is an award-winning novelist and an Academy Award-nominated screenwriter.