With much predictable fanfare and hype from the mainstream media Monday, Twitter announced the creation of what they call their “Birdwatch” program, which they say is designed to help counter the spread of alleged misinformation.
In a series of tweets, the popular social media platform described Birdwatch as “a community-driven approach” to combatting “misleading information.” In subsequent tweets, they gave a rough idea of how the program is supposed to work, encouraged people to sign up to be “testers”, and said they will use feedback in order “to help shape this program and learn how to reach our goal of letting the Twitter community decide when and what context is added to a Tweet”:
Twitter’s VP of product development Kenneth Coleman told Fox News that the company at some point wanted to “make notes visible on Tweets for the global Twitter audience, when there is consensus from a broad and diverse set of contributors.”
George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, a staunch defender of free speech who has testified before Congress on many occasions including during the 2019 House Democratic impeachment hearings, took to the Twitter machine in response to denounce Birdwatch and raise questions about it, rightly warning that it would be another way for Twitter mobs (usually on the left) to crack down on speech they don’t like:
He expanded more on his position on Birdwatch at his site, which you can read in full here.
Twitter’s unveiling of this new way of supposedly fact-checking tweets by having the Twitter community “add context” understandably has many conservatives sounding alarm bells about how this would be a back door way for them to stifle/censor conservative content once again, presumably in hopes that doing so in such a manner wouldn’t prompt Republican lawmakers to persist in calling for Section 230 reform:
Considering the unprecedented actions Big Tech have taken over the last few months alone, including suppressing the Hunter Biden story, purging followers, nuking Parler’s website, and banning high-profile accounts like Trump’s, conservatives are right to be concerned and speaking out about more encroachment on speech coming from the likes of Twitter in the coming weeks and months.
Big Tech has made it very clear that there is more to come. The best way to counter what they’re trying to do is by meeting their calls to censor/control speech … with more speech.