Attack of the Censorship Karens!
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In the early afternoon yesterday, we heard from a whistleblower: “There will be a full court press coming up against the Twitter files and the reporters,” the person said.
“The press will also be targeting each of you, your histories, and your personal and business connections. This by resistance network folks at the NGO's and think-tanks.”
Not exactly a message we were happy to hear. But we can’t say we were surprised, either.
On Wednesday night, “disinformation researcher” Joan Donovan, who was forced to leave the Harvard Kennedy School earlier this year, hinted that an attack on us was imminent.
It turned out that the counter-offensive had already begun.
MSNBC’s Mehdi Hasan tweeted out videos from an interview with Twitter Files reporter Matt Taibbi, who Hasan claimed had overestimated the number of tweets censored by the “Election Integrity Project” of the Stanford Internet Observatory. The actual number, Hasan claimed, was only 3,000 tweets, not 22 million tweets.
Then, like clockwork, Stanford Internet Observatory’s Alex Stamos, who revealed that his colleague, Renee DiResta, had worked for the CIA, weighed in.
“Taibbi's claim is false,” Stamos tweeted. “The core role of the EIP was to document and analyze election misinformation. 22M is the number we calculated *after* the election of the number of Tweets regarding false claims.”
But what Stamos said was “misleading” and thus “malinformation” of the exact same kind that he and DiResta seek to censor.
“Stamos & EIP worked to get entire NARRATIVES banned outright,” explained Mike Benz, the State Department official-turned-whistleblower. “Those narratives, by EIP’s own math, had millions of associated posts.”
Taibbi pointed out that the 3,000 number was chosen to hide the full extent of the censorship. “They're playing games with terms like ‘unique original URL,’” tweeted Taibbi, “where more than 1000 tweets can be "collapsed" into one ‘incident.’”
Here’s the thing: it doesn’t matter how many posts they censored. No amount is acceptable.
What’s more, trying to normalize censorship, as both Stamos and DiResta are constantly doing, is anathema to the letter and spirit of the First Amendment.
Stamos, of course, insists that he and his colleagues did not violate the Constitution. “The EIP is an academic coalition with the 1st Amendment-protected right to analyze the election-related claims of others and to publish our findings, as we did, publicly, over and over again,” he said.
And if that were all they did, they might be okay, but it wasn’t. Instead, Stanford worked hand-in-glove with the Department of Homeland Security’s “Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency,” CISA, to pressure Twitter and Facebook to censor American citizens.
Violations of the First Amendment by government proxy are still violations of the First Amendment, which CISA knows perfectly well, and is the reason the agency recently scrubbed its website of its description of its domestic censorship efforts.
We were gratified by the outpouring of support after we tweeted out the warning from the whistleblower. Two million people have seen the tweet.
We are taking flak because we are over the target. Our goal is to defund and dismantle the censorship Karen complex.
We are confident the Censorship Industrial Complex can’t hurt us. Still, we are taking all necessary legal and security precautions to protect ourselves, our journalism, and the right to free speech.
We can’t do this alone. If you aren’t a paying subscriber yet, now would be a great time to become one.