Saturday, September 23, 2023

Instagram Threatens to Ban Don Jr.; Twitter Exposed (Again) for Blacklisting

'Because it doesn’t fit the narrative, the social media masters are going to make sure that no one actually hears the truth...'

Social media juggernaut Instagram threatened to delete Donald Trump Jr.’s account on Wednesday for spreading allegedly false information about the Wuhan coronavirus and the drug hydroxychloroquine.

The warning was part of a zero-tolerance social media stance shared by Silicon Valley’s biggest tech giants.

The popular photo-sharing application is a subsidiary of the embattled Facebook, which has taken sharp criticism and faced pressure from both the Right and Left over its policies for selectively filtering and censoring content.

But where did President Donald Trump’s namesake get his information? CNN.

Trump Jr. posted several screenshots of CNN articles that contradicted each other in every way except for the clear disdain for the president that informs nearly all of its coverage.

The president and his allies have, in turn, repeatedly dismissed the organization as “fake news.”

An April 11 headline read, “President Trump is wrong in so many ways about hydroxychloroquine studies. Here are the facts.” A July 2 headline read, “Study finds hydroxychloroquine helped coronavirus patients survive better.”

Comparing the articles was meant to show how CNN’s political bias subverts its news reporting.

But Instagram deleted at least four such posts for “harmful false information” and then threatened to delete Trump’s Jr.’s account—with 3.1 million followers—if he violates the social media company’s “community guidelines” again.

“These are actual headlines from CNN,” Trump Jr. wrote after the posts were taken down, adding, “but because it doesn’t fit the narrative the social media masters are going to make sure that no one actually hears the truth.”

In response to the Wuhan virus pandemic, Facebook has introduced measures to censor what it considers “misinformation,” including warning labels on certain posts, arbitrary deletions and directing users to content from “authoritative” mainstream news outlets.

Facebook—and by extension Instagram—has been issuing automatic warning notices to users who “like” unapproved coronavirus posts, and it even disseminates World Health Organization materials, despite the WHO’s role in covering for China’s global pandemic.

But as Trump Jr. pointed out, there’s no apparent accountability for CNN or other approved news organizations when they knowingly spread false information for political purposes.

“The censorship is real and it continues,” Trump Jr. wrote on Instagram.

“There is nothing they won’t do to manipulate the truth and facts to suit their ends,” he wrote.

“This is how they’re going to try to sway the 2020 election,” he continued. “Don’t let then get away with it”

Trump Jr. also said his Twitter engagement has dropped dramatically in past few weeks despite having 5.3 million followers.

The observation came as an unrelated exposé confirmed how Twitter moderators are blacklisting conservative users.

Leaked screenshots published on Motherboard, a component of Vice Media, show an internal administration tool that Twitter staffers use to blacklist selected accounts from searches and trends.

The screenshots show admin-account features that include tags called “Trends Blacklist” and “Search Blacklist.”

The revelation shows more evidence of targeted censorship after the company confirmed its longstanding practice of “shadow banning” earlier this year.

It also raised questions as to whether Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey may have perjured himself when testifying before Congress that the platform did not engage in questionable practices such as shadow-banning users.

Many conservatives and libertarians, including prominent supporters of President Trump, have long assumed they were shadow-banning targets, meaning their accounts were intentionally hidden from broader view.

But—perhaps emboldened in an election year—Twitter officially made the practice part of its terms of service in January.

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