Truth isn’t in the eye of the beholder, but it will be if Biden’s ‘Minister of Truth’ gets her way — Analysis
Nina Jankowicz wants Twitter’s blue checks to edit your reality because you don’t care about theirs
Director of America’s new Disinformation Governance Board Nina Jankowicz has big plans for social media. Are people turning to her type of information? “influencer”?
During a Zoom call that went viral earlier this week, Jankowicz – after complaining that “Many people are involved in this endeavor. [on Twitter] who shouldn’t be verified, who aren’t legit in my opinion” – suggested that those verified individuals whom she does find “legit” should be able to edit other people’s tweets.
It’s easy to understand why Jankowicz might be feeling a little power-crazed – she was just named head of the closest thing the US has ever had to a Ministry of Truth, after all. However, Jankowicz granted a select group of blue-check insiders permission to basically spray paint their ideas of “truth” all over other user’s social media posts understandably didn’t go over very well with many on the platform.
Jankowicz clearly desires a Twitter that is hostile to Musk’s takeover. She had warned Musk about the potential for hate speech and disinformation, but Jankowicz was not disappointed. However, in describing the Twitter of her dreams she used Wikipedia to illustrate her vision. Wikipedia is a website she appears to love, her Twitter handle being @wiczipedia. “trustworthy” types are free to annotate reality to their heart’s content.
Wikipedia, however is far from being a reliable source of information and truth. Indeed, it doesn’t even pretend to be – the website carries a disclaimer noting that it aspires to “verifiability,”It is not truth but it is what we want, “verifiability” merely means that the largest possible number of “reliable sources”You can agree that something is true. Wikipedia has been plagued with hoaxes since its beginning, and while it’s treated as a reliable source unto itself by many users, citing it in an academic paper would get a student laughed out of any serious university.
Wikipedia has a history of vicious infighting. Different factions vie for control over what Wikipedia can do. Wikipedia is frequently viewed as the ultimate truth. Who decides where the sources come from? “reliable,”Many cases were left to mob rule. A few exceptions are “administrators”While trying to contain the explosion of lowercase democracy, many people talk up the capital-D type.
Jankowicz is assuming that MiniTru will play the same role as her on Twitter in deciding which Twitter users to follow. “trustworthy”able to take on the task of editing hundreds of million of tweets. She has already seen so many accounts sporting the blue checks, even those that she doesn’t find as important. “legit”Does she suggest that every user who has been verified be asked to verify their identity again, regardless of whether they are political or associated with certain people? Do you want to take a loyalty test in order to be eligible? Are you now, or have you ever been guilty of thinking impure thoughts about Our Democracy™?
Jankowicz, her associates. “reliable sources”They are not universally regarded as such. Former President Donald Trump may have left Twitter and taken his speculations about the veracity of the 2020 election with him, but he left behind millions of followers, many of whom carry their own blue checks and wouldn’t hesitate to start “annotating” their nemeses’ posts if they felt their speech was threatened.
They are not only prevented from doing so under the existing system but Twitter also slaps them ham-fisted “fact-checks” on topics considered controversial, much as Facebook and YouTube do. Yet, the best of us can still be influenced by the controversial topics. “trustworthy” verified users have been known to spread some howlers in the course of their self-styled defense of Truth, Justice and the American Way, such as Jankowicz’s own insistence that the now-validated “laptop from hell” belonging to presidential scion Hunter Biden was not in fact his computer at all but some Russian troll farm’s fantasy.
Although it would not be surprising, Jankowicz could still hold this view, considering that her inability to tell truth from fiction is what has allowed her to make decisions about the future. “disinformation.”However, this view was held at that time by everyone “legit”Twitter uses blue-check. Those who attempted to post otherwise were summarily ‘de-platformed.’ That anyone from any “reputable”Publication was allowed to revisit the story. The reason the US didn’t have a Ministry of Truth at the time for all social media output was that it did not exist.
Making almost too perfect a point, “Reliable sources” also happens to be the name of a show hosted by CNN’s Brian Stelter, a man whose show and network alike seem to be engaged in a race to see who can reach zero viewers fastest through prolonged displays of irrelevance. Given the dwindling audience for TV news’ “reliable sources,” it’s possible that Jankowicz, with her determination to turn Twitter into the bathroom wall of the internet for “trustworthy”Only users can see the text on the walls.
She and her “legit” friends don’t force their opinions into everyday users’ Twitter feeds, what’s to keep the platform’s massive user base even caring what they think? How will Americans be convinced to blame their inability to afford gasoline on some leader halfway around the world, or their inability to return to work on the medical decisions of people they’ve never met?
The purpose of Twitter and other social media platforms is to facilitate conversation. If any government is so insecure in its own arguments it feels the need to shield its people from competing viewpoints, there’s nothing stopping it from coming out with better arguments. It is painfully evident to all who watch the events unfold that freedom of expression in America has been slipping away, and it now has the support of the government.
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