Breaking: Arms Manufacturers and State Department to start censoring Twitter.
The censorship of dissident voices on Twitter continues
Today Twitter announced that it will start to crack down on “state-linked” actors from Russia, Tanzania, Uganda, and Venezuela. Interestingly they do not include the United States even though they were recently exposed by journalists Tim Gill and Christian Lewelling in an article Jacobin for using social media to influence elections in Venezuela. This announcement comes at a time when Jack Dorsey the former C.E.O of Twitter resigned. The announcement comes along with Twitter saying they are partnering with three different groups to go after “state-linked actors”.
The first is ASPI_ICPC is a sub-division of an Australian think tank called ASPI. The think tank claims to be independent and non-partisan but a look at their funding shows massive conflicts of interest. A look at their funding report for 20201 shows they take money from the Canadian government, the Embassy of Japan, the Netherlands government, the UK foreign office, the U.S. state department, and the U.S. Department of state.
It also shows they are funded by a number of arms manufacturing companies.
They also take money from an American think tank called the Centre for strategic and international studies that is funded by many arms manufacturers and oil companies.
The second think tank they partnered with is Cazadores de Fake News that claims to be a “Venezuelan anti-disinformation” outlet. The outlet is supportive of the Venezuela coup, in a tweet they refer to coup leader Juan Guaido as “president”.
They were also supportive of the coup in Bolivia calling Jeanine Anez the “interim president” of Bolivia despite the fact that she was not elected and came to power through a military coup.
The third group the Standford internet observatory cyber policy center is clearly partisan and will only focus on accounts coming out of official enemy countries. Their report on accounts Twitter has taken down based on their research includes those from Venezuela, Russia, and China but no mention of the United States. Their report also shows they have no issue labeling real people are part of an influence operation. In the Venezuela section of their report, they admit they banned real people but then claim without evidence that “financial compensation may have been offered to accounts for sufficient engagement in bolstering Maduro’s messaging.” This shows they have no issue banning real people in official enemy countries if they assert without evidence that they could be paid by governments. Their longer report on Venezuela uses the fact that Hugo Chavez had a Twitter account to “prove” that Venezuela “use Twitter to push political messages and dominate the online conversation.” They also cite a Bloomberg article on a leaked document that they admit may not be authentic. This clearly shows they are willing to use very thin evidence to prove official enemy countries are conducting an “influence operation”
It is clear that the partnering with these two accounts is not to stop “state-backed” influence operations but to crackdown on those who debunk official pro-war narratives. This is a clear attack on anti-imperialists.