Twitter's Orwellian decision to censor the Hunter Biden laptop scandal published by the New York Post completely backfired - 'nearly doubling' its visibility, according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and media intelligence firm Zignal Labs.
The poorly-thought-through ban triggered the so-called Streisand Effect and helped turn a sketchy article into a must-share blockbuster. And then on Friday, the Republican National Committee filed a Federal Election Commission complaint against Twitter, claiming that the ban “amounts to an illegal corporate in-kind political contribution to the Biden campaign.”
Looking at the firehose of Twitter shares of the URL—including original tweets, retweets, and quote tweets—Zignal found a surge of shares immediately after Twitter instituted the block, jumping from about 5.5 thousand shares every 15 minutes to about 10 thousand. -MIT Technology Review
So Twitter is back to where it was 2 days ago, only now everyone knows about Hunter's notebook. Brilliant— zerohedge (@zerohedge) October 16, 2020
The Streisand Effect was named after Barbara Streisand's 2003 attempt to suppress a photo of her Malibu, California residence by trying to sue a photographer for $50 million over the aerial photograph. Before Streisand's lawsuit, the photo had only been downloaded from the photographer's website six times - two of which were Streisand's attorneys. Once the story went viral, however, over 420,000 people visited the site over the following month. The lawsuit was dismissed and Streisand was ordered to pay $155,567 to cover the photographer's legal fees.
And Twitter did the same thing when they banned the Post story - blocking people from posting it or sharing it over Direct Message, deleting tweets, and suspending others who shared it. Of note, the New York Post's Twitter account is still locked.
Twitter cited their policy against unverified information and "hacked materials," though they never explained how the Biden emails - obtained from a laptop which Hunter dropped off at a Delaware computer repair shop and failed to pick up - violated that policy.
After Twitter came under extreme fire for what some consider election meddling and an editorial decision, CEO Jack Dorsey expressed regret, tweeting that "[s]traight 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."
For their partisan censorship, the social media giant has earned themselves a Congressional investigation spearheaded by Sens. Josh Hawkey (R-MO) and Ted Cruz (R-TX). Dorsey will testify next Wednesday via videoconference in front of the Senate Commerce Committee.