July 13, 2020

No, Twitter Fact Checking The President Is Not Evidence Of Anti-Conservative Bias

By Mike Masnick

I know we’ve gone through this a bunch already, but there remains no evidence to support the claims of “anti-conservative bias” at major social media platforms. Some people (usually self-claiming conservatives, though they rarely seem to represent actual conservative principles) get really angry about this. But, oddly, none ever seem to present any actual evidence.

Of course, the very underpinnings of the White House’s silly and nonsensical executive order regarding social media is that of course there’s is anti-conservative bias in the moderation, and it even points to the action that kicked off this entire temper tantrum from the thin-skinned President: they provided a link under his debunked conspiracy theory tweet about mail-in ballots. Many Trump supporters and the executive order itself argue that this kind of fact checking is only done to conservatives:

Twitter now selectively decides to place a warning label on certain tweets in a manner that clearly reflects political bias. As has been reported, Twitter seems never to have placed such a label on another politician’s tweet. As recently as last week, Representative Adam Schiff was continuing to mislead his followers by peddling the long-disproved Russian Collusion Hoax, and Twitter did not flag those tweets. Unsurprisingly, its officer in charge of so-called ‘Site Integrity’ has flaunted his political bias in his own tweets.

This is a sample size of one. And, indeed, while it’s not a “politician’s tweet,” Twitter has used the same fact check labeling system to defend this administration. Indeed, the first time I ever saw such a fact check was a few weeks ago when it was used to defend Mike Pence from misleading claims in a Jimmy Kimmel bit:

It turned out that Kimmel’s portrayal of Pence was totally inaccurate, and he took what was an obvious joke by Pence and pretended it was serious. And Twitter’s fact checkers debunked the viral tweet. Even though it was a story going viral in the anti-Trump world, and the fact check aided the administration.

Now, these are both just anecdotes, but, at the very least, they suggest that the idea that Twitter is applying these fact checks in a politically biased manner is not obviously supported by the evidence. So far I’ve seen this feature show up on two viral tweets. One that debunked Trump and one that debunked people making fun of Pence.

Meanwhile, perhaps the funniest thing I’ve seen in a while is a bunch of famous people, who claim to be conservatives, gloating over how this executive order is so necessary because Twitter censors conservatives… and all of their gloating is on Twitter itself.

If Twitter is stifling free speech, and censoring conservative voices, it’s doing a shit job of it.

Source:: https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20200529/01044044605/no-twitter-fact-checking-president-is-not-evidence-anti-conservative-bias.shtml