Big Tech and big social media have already tried censorship by committee with Facebook's oversight board and the decision to permanently bar former President Trump from the platform. Now, they're circling back to good old fashioned mob rule.
Twitter on Tuesday announced that it's preparing to test a new feature that will allow users to report any COVID misinformation they spot on the platform. Users can already flag content they deem inappropriate (including misinformation). This new feature will allow them to specify the type of misinformation (is it political, perhaps COVID related?). All of this information will help twitter's algorithms justify its removal from the platform more expeditiously, saving more readers from being exposed to harmful information that might lead them to question the official narrative.
According to the Verge, which got the scoop from Twitter, the new feature will be available starting Tuesday for most users in the US, Australia, and South Korea. Twitter said it expects to test-run it for a few months before deciding to roll it out to "additional markets."
Twitter insists reports will all be "reviewed" by a human, but in the past social media companies haven't followed through on promises to review material before banning it, citing the imperative of acting quickly. If something gets enough complaints, or a call-out from Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is struggling to combat "misinformation" raised by Sen. Rand Paul about the NIH's financing of illegal gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of virology, we suspect it will quickly be removed. As the Verge also points out, even the Surgeon General's office has gotten in on the Biden Administrations' propaganda push.
Twitter says whatever data it gleans from the test run will be used to calibrate its algorithms over the next few weeks. The project will focus particularly on tweets that have the potential to go viral.
The Verge article also mentions the White House has been ramping up its campaign to pressure Big Tech to censor COVID "misinformation" now that the delta variant has arrived. President Biden even went so far as to accuse Facebook of "killing people" by helping to spread misinformation, before White House press secretary walked back the comment after it provoked an uproar from the press (which depends on Facebook for clicks ie money). Oddly, most of this harmful speech focuses on the origins of the virus, not its impact or spread so how it's contributing to the demise of anyone isn't exactly clear.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar has even proposed legislation to threaten Big Tech with the removal of its Section 203 protections if it doesn't make good on the Democrats' censorship Demands.
And with President Biden now dealing with the embarrassment that was the Afghanistan pullout, we suspect this won't be the last time a major tech firm ramps up its censorship efforts. After all, censorship by algorithm and mob rule would probably be the cheapest strategy since hiring people to review memes and tweets is expensive (even if it would be the perfect job for most millennials).