In a stark example of China’s model of censorship and authoritarianism, a version of the 1999 movie Fight Club appeared online, with an edited ending for a Chinese audience in which the police ‘figure out the whole plan’, arrest the protagonists and ship them off to a lunatic asylum.
In the original ending, Edward Norton’s character watches as multiple buildings explode, the culmination of his alter ego Tyler Durden’s plot to bring down a corrupt, consumerism obsessed civilisation.
However, as Vice notes, in the version distributed in China that end scene is cut and replaced with a black screen and a caption reading “Through the clue provided by Tyler, the police rapidly figured out the whole plan and arrested all criminals, successfully preventing the bomb from exploding.”
It adds, “After the trial, Tyler was sent to lunatic asylum receiving psychological treatment.”
The report notes that “the film was edited by the copyright owner and then approved by the government before it was sold to streaming sites for distribution. The Chinese publisher of the film, Pacific Audio & Video Co., is an affiliate of the state-owned Guangdong TV.”
The author of the book on which Fight Club is based on weighed in via a Substack posting, writing “Tyler and the gang were all arrested. He was tried and sentenced to a mental asylum. How amazing. I’d no idea! Justice always wins. Nothing ever exploded. Fini.”
Others submitted their own contributions via Twitter:
Of course, this is entirely commonplace for all western movies and shows played in China. As Bloomberg notes, a version of the 2005 movie Lord of War starring Nicholas Cage as an arms smuggler ends with the final 30 minutes of footage replaced with white text on a black screen saying “Yuri Orlov confessed all the crimes officially charged against him in court, and was sentenced to life imprisonment in the end.”
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Elon Musk Increases Personal Security Over Concerns About His Safety
“The risk of something happening to me is quite significant.”
Elon Musk revealed that he has increased his personal security in response to concerns over his safety following the release of the first dump of ‘Twitter files’.
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Elon Musk Releases THE TWITTER FILES
How Twitter Collaborated With “The Biden Team” To Cover Up The Hunter Laptop Story
In a greatly anticipated Friday night drop of what has was expected to be a cache of information involving the censoring of Hunter Biden’s notebook story days ahead of the 2020 presidential election, moments ago Elon Musk – who worked in collaboration with the notoriously independent gonzo journalist Matt Taibbi of “Vampire Squid” fame – has published the “Twitter Files.”
Shortly before their release, Matt Taibbi sent the following email to his substack subscribers:
Dear TK Readers:
Very shortly, I’m going to begin posting a long thread of information on Twitter, at my account, @mtaibbi. This material is likely to get a lot of attention. I will absolutely understand if subscribers are angry that it is not appearing here on Substack first. I’d be angry, too.
The last 96 hours have been among the most chaotic of my life, involving multiple trips back and forth across the country, with a debate in Canada in between. There’s a long story I hope to be able to tell soon, but can’t, not quite yet anyway. What I can say is that in exchange for the opportunity to cover a unique and explosive story, I had to agree to certain conditions.
Those of you who’ve been here for years know how seriously I take my obligation to this site’s subscribers. On this one occasion, I’m going to have to simply ask you to trust me. As it happens, there may be a few more big surprises coming, and those will be here on Substack. And there will be room here to to discuss this, too, in time. In any case, thanks for your support and your patience, and please hold me to a promise to make all this up to you, and then some.
Moments later Elon confirmed that he did, in fact, work with Taibbi:
And this is what Taibbi has been tweeting in the past few minutes (link here):
1. Thread: THE TWITTER FILES
2. What you’re about to read is the first installment in a series, based upon thousands of internal documents obtained by sources at Twitter.
3. The “Twitter Files” tell an incredible story from inside one of the world’s largest and most influential social media platforms. It is a Frankensteinian tale of a human-built mechanism grown out the control of its designer.
4. Twitter in its conception was a brilliant tool for enabling instant mass communication, making a true real-time global conversation possible for the first time.
5. In an early conception, Twitter more than lived up to its mission statement, giving people “the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers.”
6. As time progressed, however, the company was slowly forced to add those barriers. Some of the first tools for controlling speech were designed to combat the likes of spam and financial fraudsters.
7. Slowly, over time, Twitter staff and executives began to find more and more uses for these tools. Outsiders began petitioning the company to manipulate speech as well: first a little, then more often, then constantly.
8. By 2020, requests from connected actors to delete tweets were routine. One executive would write to another: “More to review from the Biden team.” The reply would come back: “Handled.”
9. Celebrities and unknowns alike could be removed or reviewed at the behest of a political party:
10.Both parties had access to these tools. For instance, in 2020, requests from both the Trump White House and the Biden campaign were received and honored. However:
11. This system wasn’t balanced. It was based on contacts. Because Twitter was and is overwhelmingly staffed by people of one political orientation, there were more channels, more ways to complain, open to the left (well, Democrats) than the right.
12. The resulting slant in content moderation decisions is visible in the documents you’re about to read. However, it’s also the assessment of multiple current and former high-level executives.
… Okay, there was more throat-clearing about the process, but screw it, let’s jump forward
16. The Twitter Files, Part One: How and Why Twitter Blocked the Hunter Biden Laptop Story
17. On October 14, 2020, the New York Post published BIDEN SECRET EMAILS, an expose based on the contents of Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop:
18. Twitter took extraordinary steps to suppress the story, removing links and posting warnings that it may be “unsafe.” They even blocked its transmission via direct message, a tool hitherto reserved for extreme cases, e.g. child pornography.
19. White House spokeswoman Kaleigh McEnany was locked out of her account for tweeting about the story, prompting a furious letter from Trump campaign staffer Mike Hahn, who seethed: “At least pretend to care for the next 20 days.”
20.This led public policy executive Caroline Strom to send out a polite WTF query. Several employees noted that there was tension between the comms/policy teams, who had little/less control over moderation, and the safety/trust teams:
21. Strom’s note returned the answer that the laptop story had been removed for violation of the company’s “hacked materials” policy: https://web.archive.org/web/20190717143909/https://help.twitter.com/en/rules-and-policies/hacked-materials
22. Although several sources recalled hearing about a “general” warning from federal law enforcement that summer about possible foreign hacks, there’s no evidence – that I’ve seen – of any government involvement in the laptop story. In fact, that might have been the problem…
23. The decision was made at the highest levels of the company, but without the knowledge of CEO Jack Dorsey, with former head of legal, policy and trust Vijaya Gadde playing a key role.
24. “They just freelanced it,” is how one former employee characterized the decision. “Hacking was the excuse, but within a few hours, pretty much everyone realized that wasn’t going to hold. But no one had the guts to reverse it.”
25.You can see the confusion in the following lengthy exchange, which ends up including Gadde and former Trust and safety chief Yoel Roth. Comms official Trenton Kennedy writes, “I’m struggling to understand the policy basis for marking this as unsafe”:
26. By this point “everyone knew this was fucked,” said one former employee, but the response was essentially to err on the side of… continuing to err.
27. Former VP of Global Comms Brandon Borrman asks, “Can we truthfully claim that this is part of the policy?”
28. To which former Deputy General Counsel Jim Baker again seems to advise staying the non-course, because “caution is warranted”:
29. A fundamental problem with tech companies and content moderation: many people in charge of speech know/care little about speech, and have to be told the basics by outsiders. To wit:
30. In one humorous exchange on day 1, Democratic congressman Ro Khanna reaches out to Gadde to gently suggest she hop on the phone to talk about the “backlash re speech.” Khanna was the only Democratic official I could find in the files who expressed concern.
31. Gadde replies quickly, immediately diving into the weeds of Twitter policy, unaware Khanna is more worried about the Bill of Rights:
32.Khanna tries to reroute the conversation to the First Amendment, mention of which is generally hard to find in the files:
33.Within a day, head of Public Policy Lauren Culbertson receives a ghastly letter/report from Carl Szabo of the research firm NetChoice, which had already polled 12 members of congress – 9 Rs and 3 Democrats, from “the House Judiciary Committee to Rep. Judy Chu’s office.”
34.NetChoice lets Twitter know a “blood bath” awaits in upcoming Hill hearings, with members saying it’s a “tipping point,” complaining tech has “grown so big that they can’t even regulate themselves, so government may need to intervene.”
35.Szabo reports to Twitter that some Hill figures are characterizing the laptop story as “tech’s Access Hollywood moment”:
36.Twitter files continued: “THE FIRST AMENDMENT ISN’T ABSOLUTE”
Szabo’s letter contains chilling passages relaying Democratic lawmakers’ attitudes. They want “more” moderation, and as for the Bill of Rights, it’s “not absolute”
37. An amazing subplot of the Twitter/Hunter Biden laptop affair was how much was done without the knowledge of CEO Jack Dorsey, and how long it took for the situation to get “unfucked” (as one ex-employee put it) even after Dorsey jumped in.
38. While reviewing Gadde’s emails, I saw a familiar name – my own. Dorsey sent her a copy of my Substack article blasting the incident
39. There are multiple instances in the files of Dorsey intervening to question suspensions and other moderation actions, for accounts across the political spectrum
40. The problem with the “hacked materials” ruling, several sources said, was that this normally required an official/law enforcement finding of a hack. But such a finding never appears throughout what one executive describes as a “whirlwind” 24-hour, company-wide mess.
41. It’s been a whirlwind 96 hours for me, too. There is much more to come, including answers to questions about issues like shadow-banning, boosting, follower counts, the fate of various individual accounts, and more. These issues are not limited to the political right.
42. Good night, everyone. Thanks to all those who picked up the phone in the last few days.
* * *
The release was telegraphed one week ago, when Musk acknowledged that revealing Twitter’s internal discussions surrounding the censorship of the New York Post‘s Hunter Biden laptop story right before the 2020 US election is “necessary to restore public trust.”
Recall that the Post had its Twitter account locked in October 2020 for reporting on the now-confirmed-to-be-real“laptop from hell,” which contained still-unprosecuted evidence of foreign influence peddling through then-Vice President Joe Biden – including a 2015 meeting with an executive of Ukrainian gas giant Burisma.
Users who tried to share the link to the article were greeted with a message saying, “We can’t complete this request because this link has been identified by Twitter or our partners as being potentially harmful.”
Then, days after Musk’s tweet, Twitter’s former head of Trust and Safety, Yoel Roth, admitted it was a ‘mistake’ to censor the Hunter Biden laptop story.
In his first public appearance since becoming an ex-employee, Roth suggested that the Hunter Biden laptop story was simply ‘too difficult’ for Twitter to verify. Alternatively, the company could have perhaps simply trusted the Post, one of America’s oldest publications that doesn’t have a reputation for fabricating bombshell stories – like Twitter does with countless anonymous bombshells from other major publications.
“We didn’t know what to believe. We didn’t know what was true. There was smoke,” Roth said during an interview at the Knight Foundation conference, as noted by the Epoch Times. “And ultimately for me, it didn’t reach a place where I was comfortable removing this content from Twitter.”
“It set off every single one of my finely tuned APT28 ‘hack and leak campaign’ alarm bells,” he said, referring to a notorious team of cyberspies affiliated with Russian military intelligence. “Everything about it looked like a hack and leak.”
When asked whether if it was a mistake to censor the story, Roth replied, “In my opinion, yes.”
Would Roth have suppressed the story if it was a Don Jr. laptop full of incriminating evidence?
* * *
Finally, it will be very interesting to see which “independent”, “impartial” and “objective” members of the Mainstream Media cover the Twitter Files, which unlike all that Russia collusion bullshit, was a real and actionable attempt to interfere with US democracy by covering up one of the most explosive political stories of a generation, not to mention an event that would have swayed the 2020 presidential election.This post was originally published at Zero Hedge
Former Twitter exec, Vijaya Gadde played a key role in suppressing Hunter Biden story a year earlier
She was appointed adviser to President Biden’s DHS in 2021
Twitter owner Elon Musk has revealed that under the previous management regime, former Twitter Legal, Policy and Trust & Safety Lead, Vijaya Gadde, played a key role in censoring the infamous Hunter Biden laptop story in October 2020.
Not only did Gadde play a pivotal role in censoring a story alleging that Joe Biden and his son Hunter engaged in a corruption scandal just weeks before the election that saw Joe Biden ascend to the presidency, but after Biden became President, his administration appointed her to an advisory role on a committee that helped shape the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS’s) “misinformation and disinformation” work that same year in December 2021.
The DHS’s misinformation and disinformation work has faced growing scrutiny and public backlash throughout 2022. Most notably, its “Disinformation Governance Board,” which was introduced in April 2022, was paused one month later, and officially shut down in August 2022 after raising First Amendment concerns and being threatened with legal action.
The Hunter Biden laptop story was one of the top stories of the 2020 election cycle and was heavily suppressed by Twitter weeks before the presidential election. Twitter blocked links to the story, locked accounts that attempted to share the article, and even censored memes and tweets that criticized the censorship.
This week, Musk shared documents about Twitter’s censorship of the story with journalist Matt Taibi who posted highlights on Twitter.
Taibi tweeted that the decision to censor the story was “made at the highest levels of the company but without the knowledge of [then-]CEO Jack Dorsey.” Instead, Gadde played “a key role” in the censorship. Taibi shared a document showing Gadde discussing the warning label that would be applied to the story when Twitter censored it.
On the day that Twitter censored the story, Democratic Congressman Ro Khanna emailed Gadde to let her know that the decision was “generating huge backlash” on Capitol Hill and that the censorship “seems a violation of the 1st Amendment principles.” He also suggested that by censoring the story, Twitter had made it “become a bigger deal than it would have been.”
Dorsey also forwarded Gadde a copy of an article by Taibi that blasted Twitter for censoring the story.
Taibi noted that employees inside Twitter were “struggling to understand the policy basis” for censoring the story and that the justification executives used to censor the story (claiming that it violated Twitter’s “hacked materials” policy) was just an “excuse.”
In one internal communication, Twitter’s former Vice President of Global Communications, Brandon Borrman, asked: “Can we truthfully claim that this is part of the policy?”
One former Twitter employee told Taibi that “everyone knew this was fucked” after Twitter started censoring the story.
In addition to playing a key role in the censorship of the Hunter Biden laptop story, Gadde also reportedly played a key role in banning former President Donald Trump from Twitter.This post was originally published at Reclaim the Net
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