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Twitter’s New Rules Lead to Fears of Meme Ban

“Synthetic and manipulated media” to be targeted.

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Twitter’s announcement that it will begin a crackdown on “synthetic and manipulated media” has led to fears that political memes could be censored in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election.

On Monday, Twitter said that it was “working on a new policy to address synthetic and manipulated media on Twitter.”

According to the Big Tech giant, “synthetic and manipulated media” is “media that’s been significantly altered or created in a way that changes the original meaning/purpose, or makes it seem like certain events took place that didn’t actually happen.”

Many pointed out that this description could easily describe memes and other satirical media that is intended to humorous but not necessarily factually accurate.

“The majority of responses back to Twitter Safety’s post was that the move was expected and grounded in hurt feelings of Democrats to put controls on Republicans before the 2020 Presidential election,” writes Kari Donovan.

If Twitter does start to ramp up censorship of memes, it wouldn’t be the first Big Tech outfit to do so.

Earlier this year, Instagram announced it would use “52 global “fact checking partners” to censor “false photos and memes on its platform,” according to Poynter.

Last year, Facebook also announced it was developing a new AI algorithm that can detect and ban “offensive” memes.

Back in September, the Pentagon declared war on memes as DARPA launched a new program to fight “polarizing viral content” before it spreads.

A study undertaken by researchers at University College London found that the most effective memes in the run up to the 2016 presidential election largely originated in two places – the subreddit r/the_donald – a forum devoted to boosting President Donald Trump, and 4chan’s politically incorrect /pol forum.

A VICE write-up of the study acknowledges that the most “effectively spread” memes originated on r/the_donald and /pol.

The Donald subreddit was subsequently placed in quarantine and 4chan has been repeatedly blamed as a radicalizing outpost for mass shooters and right-wing extremists.

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Twitter Is STILL Refusing to Unlock NY Post’s Account

The platform has told the Post that access will not be restored until all Hunter Biden coverage is completely deleted.

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Steve Watson

Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The New York Post’s Twitter account has been locked since last Wednesday, and Twitter is refusing to restore access until the newspaper deletes all posts pertaining to its Hunter Biden coverage.

Despite Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey admitting that it was wrong to immediately censor the Post’s tweets, the company is still blocking the account, reports Fox Business.

The Post has been unable to use the social network since last week.

“Anyone who looks at The Post’s Twitter feed can’t even see the tweets about the Biden stories, which have been replaced by messages saying, ‘This Tweet is no longer available,’” the Fox Business report notes.

“Twitter confirmed to FOX Business that the Post ‘has been informed what is necessary to unlock their account,’” including “six tweets about its reporting on 2020 Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden,” the report adds.

Twitter blocked the initial NY Post story, as well as follow ups and related stories.

The company also initially blocked other users from posting anything about the scandal, but appeared to do a 180 on the policy after backlash.

The NY Post says that Twitter told them that “While we’ve updated the policy, we don’t change enforcement retroactively. You will still need to delete the Tweets to regain access to your account.”

The newspaper claims that Twitter has not given them any indication of how their reporting violates Twitter’s terms of service, nor has it provided information on how to resolve the issue.

“Twitter hasn’t responded to an inquiry from The Post asking how it determined that the stories in question were allegedly based on ‘hacked materials,’” the Post reported.

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Jack Dorsey Admits Censorship of New York Post Story Was “Wrong”

But Twitter refuses to unblock other censored URLs.

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Matt Crossick - PA Images/Getty Images

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has admitted that the social media giant’s censorship of a New York Post story alleging Joe Biden’s involvement in a foreign lobbying scandal was “wrong”.

The controversy began on Wednesday when the Post, citing leaked emails, claimed Hunter Biden had introduced his father, then-Vice President Joe Biden, to a top executive in a Ukrainian energy firm a year before Biden pressured the government of Ukraine to fire a prosecutor who was investigating the company.

Twitter quickly followed up by determining the information to be a violation of its “hacked materials” policy and blocked users from both tweeting a link to the article and sending it to each other via direct message.

Numerous prominent Twitter users were also locked out of their accounts for attempting to post the story and Twitter even blocked a link to the Republican Republican Judiciary website at house.gov that carried a copy of the New York Post article.

After a firestorm of complaints and the prospect of being dragged before another Republican committee, Dorsey acknowledged that Twitter had made a mistake.

“Straight blocking of URLs was wrong, and we updated our policy and enforcement to fix. Our goal is to attempt to add context, and now we have capabilities to do that,” tweeted Dorsey.

Dorsey’s climb down is remarkable, but his admission that blocking URLs is “wrong” apparently doesn’t extend to other websites that are blocked by the platform.

As numerous respondents to Dorsey pointed out, both video hosting websites BitChute and Banned.video are still blocked by Twitter.

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Twitter Blocks Link to Republican Judiciary Website in Another Attempt to Censor Biden Scandal

“Twitter is now blocking a government website.”

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Republican House Judiciary

After blocking links to the New York Post story about Joe Biden’s foreign lobbying scandal, Twitter has now followed up by blocking a link to the official Republican Judiciary website at house.gov.

Both Facebook and Twitter prompted a censorship firestorm yesterday after they attempted to censor a New York Post article that claimed Hunter Biden had introduced his father, then-Vice President Joe Biden, to a top executive in a Ukrainian energy firm a year before Biden pressured the government of Ukraine to fire a prosecutor who was investigating the company.

Twitter also locked many prominent users out of their accounts for tweeting links to or screenshots from the article, including media organizations, reporters, celebrities and government organizations.

The social media giant claimed it was enforcing a policy that forbids “hacked materials” from being posted on its site, despite the fact that Hunter Biden’s laptop was legally in the possession of the computer repair shop that had it since Biden didn’t pay for the repair.

Twitter also said that it forbids the sharing of “personal and private information — like email addresses and phone numbers,” although just like the “hacked materials” policy this is only ever selectively enforced.

Now the company has taken its censorship blitzkrieg one step further by actually blocking a link to the Republican Judiciary website.

The official House Judiciary Twitter account tweeted a link to the webpage with the text, Twitter has blocked users from tweeting the link to the @nypost’s story on Hunter Biden. So we put it on our website for you to read and share. Click, share, and RT!”

However, when users attempt to click on the link, they are met with a message that reads, “Warning: this link may be unsafe,” before a description that says the article contains “violent or misleading content that could lead to real-world harm.”

“Twitter is now blocking a government website,” commented journalist Tim Pool.

We’ve officially crossed the rubicon.

Social media giants, acting as front groups for the Democratic Party, are now behaving as if they have more power than the government of the United States.

And to a great extent – partly due to the failure of Republicans to regulate Big Tech monopolies – they do.

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