With Elon Musk purchasing Twitter, some very curious developments are taking shape.
The top legal counsel at Twitter got choked up talking about the forthcoming change in management. That to my mind seems like a positive sign of things to come, particularly where Musk has a mind to prevent a repeat of what happened with the Hunter Biden laptop story from the New York Post in the lead-up to the 2020 election.
In other news, the day after the official announcement that the buy offer was both made and finally accepted conservative accounts like those of Lauren Boebert, Ted Cruz, and Ron DeSantis saw increases in followers by the tens of thousands even as progressives like Stacie Abrams, AOC, and Bernie Sanders lost tens of thousands of followers.
Whether these swings represent actual users rejoining and leaving Twitter, or else the cleaning out of bots and lifting of shadow bans, one conclusion is inescapable.
Big Tech has been picking winners and losers for a generation now. More specifically, Big Tech has been picking winners and losers for my generation that came into young adulthood of our 20’s and 30’s during the Internet Age.
For all our life they have been mining our data, tracking our every decision online, studying our patterns, playing on our fears and hopes, and amplifying those of us who would advance their social and political agenda while simultaneously suppressing those of us who would undermine their Utopian vision.
A similar question should be asked here to what Pro-Lifers have been posing for years with regards to abortion: How many of our great authors, artists, scientists, inventors, and leaders were lost in their mothers’ wombs over the past five decades? God only knows.
Yet even with those of us who survived to young adulthood, how many great authors, artists, scientists, inventors, and leaders have been suppressed in my generation because the wealthy and powerful status quo had its finger on the scales in the digital realm?
The Jones Effect is so well-known for one very simple reason: it works. But it cuts both ways. And if an army of bots and artificially making a progressive like AOC can become a self-fulfilling prophecy, so also has shadow-banning, suspending, and deplatforming of young conservatives online served to stifle and chill the crop of would-be voices and personalities before they even had a chance, and probably very often without most of us being any the wiser about it.
For years, whistleblower insiders from Big Tech corporations like Twitter have had their interviews with the likes of Project Veritas published online explaining how partisan moderators and third-party fact-checkers can shut down people they don’t like online, effectively blacklisting their opposition from participating in the public discourse.
But for just as many years, by the same mechanisms which were being exposed in such stories, a great deal of the public has remained painfully and woefully ignorant of the breadth and scope of what has been lost in the process behind the scenes.
Shadow-banning, by the way, is the underhanded process of making a content creator’s published posts invisible to either all or some of their intended audience of followers – all without their direct knowledge, and without them being made aware of how or why.
Have you ever looked at your visibility settings on a post to Facebook, for instance? You can make it public, viewable to friends-only, viewable to all your friends except certain ones, viewable to only certain of your friends, or viewable only to you.
Can any of us really suppose those tools and settings are available only to us for our own content and audience? I should hope not. But then that is a strong possibility by virtue of who controls access to such information.
It’s looking good for that changing soon, and for us being almost free again. And praise God for that.
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