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Twitter reform – a hopeful sign

In the last 24 hours Elon Musk gave a hopeful sign of reform at Twitter, by removing a spurious “unsafe content” mask from a recent post.

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This morning came a hopeful sign that Elon Musk will succeed in reforming Twitter, at least somewhat. This sign also suggests that he meant what he said about making his platform even-handed in enforcement of its rules. Musk might not intend to emulate exactly the simple content standard of Andrew Torba’s Gab Social. But selective application of content standards will almost certainly come to an end, if this sign is any indicator.

The Twitter rule at issue

At issue is the notion that some content is not safe to share with anyone, of any persuasion. To be sure, some outside Web content would be unsafe. Even Gab Social forbids direct links to viruses, rootkits, key loggers, and other such malware and spyware, as everyone should. No one should have to risk infecting his computer with something that might turn it into an unwitting instrument of a Distributed Denial of Service attack, for example.

But blocking malware is one thing. Blocking controversial content for no better reason than that the staff do not want you to see it, is another. What, for example, is “hate speech”? As a practical matter, “hate speech” is anything that hurts the feelings of the staff’s favorite constituent or allied groups. The only truly rational policy on this subject that CNAV has found, is the one Gab Social sets. There you can express your opinion, however outrageous, with complete freedom – but others can slap it down just as freely. The exception to this rule is a kind of content that really does proceed from contempt and perhaps from self-loathing. It is also what one usually means by “Not Safe For Work.” Elon Musk would do well to review that one area of content standards that he might want to tighten.

But the previous management of Twitter concerned themselves, not with what was truly hateful, but with news that contradicts the Democratic Party narrative. Election integrity is one category of such news.

The story you are about to read is true…

Last Thursday (October 27), John Solomon and Natalie Mittelstadt at Just the News ran this story about irregular electioneering in Orange County, Florida. Cynthia Harris, a Democrat, narrowly lost a county commissioner’s seat on the day of the August Primary. CNAV has covered that race before, and also Laura Loomer’s Republican primary race in Florida’s 11th District. CNAV made three points:

  • Laura Loomer lost her primary only because Daniel Webster, the incumbent, carried Orange County by a lopsided margin. That margin consisted almost entirely of mailed-in ballots.
  • Cynthia Harris lost her own race after the Supervisor of Elections subtracted ten votes from her total. He said someone fed ballots to a scanner-tabulator more than once, creating the discrepancy.
  • Governor DeSantis’ election crimes unit arrested twenty people on charges of unlawful conduct of or relating to elections. Three of the suspects came from Orange County.

In the middle of this controversy, Harris charged that ballot harvesting had been happening in the African-American community for years. Ballot harvesters could earn $10 per ballot they collected. The Governor’s election crimes unit has launched a full investigation.

Naturally John Solomon tweeted that onto Twitter:

Notice that the tweet displays with a featured picture of the Governor, and an active link. It hasn’t always. That night, Twitter covered the tweet with an electronic mask calling the link “unsafe.” User Marcus Trueman screencapped it and showed it:

Greg Piper at Just the News covered the masking.

The mask is gone

But today the mask has disappeared. Joseph Weber at Just the News carried the story at 8:52 a.m. today. Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch appealed directly to Elon Musk about the masking, even before John Solomon himself did.

In a reply to both accounts, Elon Musk said:

I will look into this. Twitter should be even-handed, favoring neither side.

He would appear to have done more than “look into it.” Now you see the mask; now you don’t. The mask evidently dropped onto the tweet before Elon had the chance to fire the entire Twitter executive echelon. It has disappeared because Elon Musk made it disappear. More to the point, Elon Musk has made the clearest statement yet that the Twitter rules will no longer be selective, either in their letter or in their application.

Perhaps in another sign that this policy is in force and effect, the “I will look into this” tweet has a plethora of responses, roughly even between pro and con. This example of the “con” is typical:

And from the “pro” side:

Follow us on Twitter

In fact, this is such a hopeful sign that CNAV has opened a new Twitter channel, called Declarations of Truth. The short user name (still necessary by reason of Twitter’s structure) is @DecTruth. Follow us there. Here in fact is one of our first tweets:

The pResident (or Ambassador Rice, for all we know) seems to have just conceded the Midterms. What do you think?

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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

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