12 January 2021

Twitter’s ban of the [US] president is proof of the company’s unprecedented and unaccountable power”

John Herrman, on the New York Times:

An informational label alone […] represents a particular set of assumptions about what the problem is in the first place. It assumes that users sharing disinformation are merely mistaken; that assertions of external authority and expertise are persuasive; that a Wikipedia article is enough to transport someone from a flat earth back to the round one they chose to leave behind; or that a warning about forbidden information won’t be enticing, but discouraging. (What kind of moon landing conspiracy theorist isn’t aware of the official — and, by the way, true — story about American astronauts landing on the moon?) […]

In short, the tech platforms responded to challenges of user moderation with performances of helplessness hiding assertions of power. These firms wrote the rules for their users. They chose when not to enforce them. The labels told us what was wrong and what wasn’t going to be done about it.

The piece by Herrman is by far the best take I’ve read on the whole Twitter/Trump — very lucrative — relationship.


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