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'DEEP STATE'

Twitter Isn’t ‘Shadow Banning’ Republicans but Trump Is Trying to Force It to Favor Conservatives

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  • Twitter Is Not ‘Shadow Banning’ Conservatives

  • ‘Shadow Banning’ Explained

  • Trump and Trump-Supporting Republicans Join in False Claims

It was the morning of a day ending in “y” so naturally the President of the United States was tweeting out his current frustrations and lies. Thursday morning President Donald Trump falsely told his supporters and the world that Twitter is “SHADOW BANNING” prominent Republicans. He promised his administration will be investigating “this discriminatory and illegal practice at once!”

(Twitter is not “shadow banning” conservatives, the practice itself is not discriminatory, and definitely not illegal. More on this, including an explanation of what shadow banning really is, below.)

TRUMP CAMPAIGN and GOP JUMP ON FALSE ‘SHADOW BANNING’ CLAIM

Less that three hours later, Trump’s campaign manager Brad Parscale took to Twitter, asking the company’s founder, who now serves as the social media giant’s Director and CEO, to “control” liberals who oppose President Trump. Like his boss, Parscale has not shown interest in wooing Democrats or independents, but in attacking them and anyone else not part of the cult of Trump. So he felt comfortable claiming those who have not embraced his boss are “punch drunk on conspiracy.”

So now the top two people in the Trump re-election campaign, within hours of each other, have targeted Twitter in an effort to make the social media giant – just as Facebook is under fire from conservatives and starting Wednesday is seeing its stock plunge off a cliff.

But wait, there’s more.

Donald Trump Jr. was only too happy to retweet his father’s lies, broadening it to claim that Twitter is somehow banning conservatives and its harming small businesses “for being conservative leaning.”

Again, this is all false.

Minutes later, The Chairwoman of the Republican National Committee jumped onboard, claiming conservatives’ Twitter accounts are being “buried.”

That’s wrong.

Also in on the false banning of conservatives claim is Congressman and full-time conspiracy theorist Rep. Matt Gaetz:

WHAT EXACTLY IS GOING ON?

On Wednesday VICE published an article claiming Twitter was “shadow banning” conservatives.

The original title was, “Twitter is ‘shadow banning’ prominent Republicans like the RNC chair and Trump Jr.’s spokesman.”

It was, at best, a totally false use of the term shadow banning.

How confident in the article is the author, Alex Thompson?

On Twitter (ironically,) he admitted he knew conservatives would use the article “in bad faith,” which they have. Here’s Thompson responding to a New York Times technology reporter, who Thompson calls “one of the best reporters around”:

SHADOW BANNING, EXPLAINED

So, like most people, all this while you’ve probably been asking yourself, “What is shadow banning?”

A very simple explanation is this: When a troll or someone who is violating the terms of service on a social media platform goes too far, some social media platform administrators opt to “shadow ban” them. Famous for this is Reddit.

What happens is the troll or TOS violator continues to post, and to them they think their posts are still being seen, but in reality they are the only ones who see their posts.

It’s sneaky but effective. It effectively prevents the person from just opening up a new account and starting their bad behavior all over again, and it protects the larger community from their actions.

That is not what VICE claimed is happening.

VICE falsely posited that because some Republicans’ names were not immediately coming up in Twitter’s search box – the drop-down box that suggests or auto-completes your entry – they were being “shadow banned.”

As we’ve just explained, that’s not even close to what shadow banning is.

And VICE also falsely claimed that Donald Trump Jr.’s spokesperson is a “prominent Republican,” which is ludicrous.

VICE even admits not everyone agrees with their theory, by including this:

“This isn’t evidence of a pattern of anti-conservative bias since some Republicans still appear and some don’t. This just appears to be a cluster of conservatives who have been affected,” said New York Law School Professor Ari Ezra Waldman, who testified at the House Judiciary Committee’s April hearing on social media filtering and is the author of Privacy as Trust: Information Privacy for an Information Age.

Waldman does say Twitter has software that minimizes accounts.

But VICE soon changed the title. It now reads: “Twitter appears to have fixed ‘shadow ban’ of prominent Republicans like the RNC chair and Trump Jr.’s spokesman.”

Still wrong.

In case you’re still not convinced this is all a bunch of hooey:

New York Magazine’s Brian Feldman on Wednesday wrote a lengthy piece titled, “Twitter Is Not ‘Shadow Banning’ Republicans.”

ThinkProgress: “No, conservatives aren’t being ‘shadow banned’ from Twitter.”

Image by Esther Vargas via Flickr and a CC license

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'DEEP STATE'

Federal Agencies Tapped Phones of Portland’s Racial Justice Protestors to Prove They’re Terrorists

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Two current officials from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have confirmed that the DHS and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) teamed up with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) during this summer’s racial justice protests in Portland, Oregon for a covert operation focused on “extracting information from protester’s phones.”

The officials told The Nation that a DHS colleague with expertise in electronic surveillance was sent to Portland as part of “an interagency task force” using a classified cell phone cloning attack to “intercept protesters’ phone communications.”

“Cell phone cloning involves stealing a phone’s unique identifiers and copying them to another device in order to intercept the communications received by the original device,” The Nation explains. It’s a tactic conducted to better understand your target, their network and their planning. The DEA is believed to have had a “special key” to help carry out the surveillance.

While it’s unclear who specifically was targeted by the surveillance, “They were abusing people’s rights,” one official said. The DHS hasn’t responded to congressional calls to explain the program either.

The officials quoted in The Nation’s article say that colleagues from the DHS were asked to “volunteer” to participate in the program, something departments do to conduct operations outside of the department’s official and legal capacity.

The overall goal, the officials state, was to substantiate thin claims by Attorney General William Barr that Antifa (anti-fascist) activists are receiving foreign sponsorship, something that is a necessary criterion to formally designate the group as a terrorist organization, something Trump vowed to do as recently as yesterday.

Considering that the U.S. has a long history of surveilling, harassing and possibly even killing racial justice activists since before the Civil Rights era, this newest program is hardly surprising, albeit still frightening.

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'DEEP STATE'

Trump’s New Personnel Chief Orders ‘Purge’ of All Never-Trumpers From Federal Agencies: Report

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Ordered  to “Purge the ‘Bad People’ and ‘Deep State'”

President Donald Trump has re-hired Johnny McEntee into a new role. His former body man, who reportedly “was forced from his job in 2018 over gambling debts that threatened his security clearance” but went to work for the Trump re-election campaign, is now the head of the White House personnel office.

McEntee’s first order of business is targeting and purging “Never-Trumpers” – any government employee not loyal to President Trump.

“McEntee called in White House liaisons from cabinet agencies for an introductory meeting Thursday, in which he asked them to identify political appointees across the U.S. government who are believed to be anti-Trump,” Axios reports.

But this is just the first step.

“McEntee suggested the most dramatic changes may have to wait until after the November election.”

“Trump has empowered McEntee — whom he considers an absolute loyalist — to purge the ‘bad people’ and ‘Deep State.'”

 

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'DEEP STATE'

Congress Releases 22 Pages of Top Trump Officials’ Text Messages Discussing Ukraine Scandal

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The chairs of three congressional committees investigating President Donald Trump released 22-pages of text message between senior administration officials discussing Ukraine.

The document was released by House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel (D-NY), House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) and House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings.

Politico reporter and MSNBC contributor Natasha Bertrand flagged some key passages.

Read the full document.

 

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