The Washington Post shuddered at the thought of social media platforms allowing free speech.
The Post journalists Naomi Nix and Sarah Ellison attempted to highlight the supposedly tragic loss of proactive online censorship. “Social media companies are receding from their role as watchdogs against political misinformation, abandoning their most aggressive efforts to police online falsehoods in a trend expected to profoundly affect the 2024 presidential election,” they wrote in their August 24 piece. The pair even argued that allowing misinformation is election interference. “An aggressive legal battle over claims that the Biden administration pressured social media platforms to silence certain speech has blocked a key path to detecting election interference,” wrote The Post journalists referencing the Missouri v. Biden suit.
Nix and Ellison complained about the timing of social media sites supporting some semblance of online free speech. Misinformation’s “retrenchment comes just months ahead of the 2024 primaries, as GOP front-runner Donald Trump continues to rally supporters with false claims that election fraud drove his 2020 loss to Joe Biden,” the authors grumbled. They later cited Trump’s newfound free speech on X (formerly Twitter) claiming he “capitalized” on “relaxed standards” of content moderation in a recent interview with independent journalist Tucker Carlson on Wednesday.
But the authors did not let up: “Still, YouTube, X and Meta have stopped labeling or removing posts that repeat Trump’s claims, even as voters increasingly get their news on social media.” Oh, the horror! Nix and Ellison traced the changes back to Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter which began the trend of mass layoffs in the tech industry and relaxed content moderation rules.
The Post journalists even compared the current election cycle the 2020 and 2016 cycles using the long-debunked scare tactic of citing Russian trolls. “The new approach marks a sharp shift from the 2020 election, when social media companies expanded their efforts to police disinformation,” Nix and Ellison wrote. “The companies feared a repeat of 2016, when Russian trolls attempted to interfere in the U.S. presidential campaign, turning the platforms into tools of political manipulation and division.” [Emphasis added].
Not so fast.
Was it really the Russian trolls “turning the platforms into tools of political manipulation and division?” The Twitter Files show that Twitter was not afraid of Russian bots but rather, pushback from media outlets and government officials who shamelessly exploited Twitter to push a false narrative.
Throughout 2017, Twitter repeatedly found no evidence of a massive coordinated Russian influence campaign. Yet, leftist media outlets including The Post continued to push the same narrative citing the Hamilton 68 dashboard and its faulty list of allegedly Russian accounts.
Twitter’s former head of Trust and Safety Yoel Roth described his team’s Russian bot investigation findings as a “nothingburger.” In fact, he repeatedly detailed the dangerous implications of the divisive false narrative. “The Hamilton dashboard is once again getting a lot of traction around partisan trends – which is leading people to assert that any right-leaning content is propagated by Russian bots (because Ham68 said so),” Roth said in an email according to screenshots released in The Twitter Files. “It’s a collection of right-leaning legitimate users that are being used to paint a polarizing and inaccurate picture of conversation on Twitter.”
Conservatives are under attack. Contact your representatives and demand that Big Tech be held to account to mirror the First Amendment while providing transparency, clarity on so-called “hate speech” and equal footing for conservatives. If you have been censored, contact us at the CensorTrack contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.