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💬 "The Twitter Files Parts 1-2: Shadow Banning, Story Suppression, Interference & More"


Table of Contents

Hosts: Chamath Palihapitiya, Jason Calacanis, David Sacks & David Friedberg
Category: 💬 Opinion | Twitter
Original: 1 hr 14 min | Time Saved: 1 hr 11 min

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

On Twitter Shadow Banning & Blacklisting:

[4:34] JC: "We now have confirmation that [...] a secret silencing system [was] built into the [Twitter] software of blacklists, was tagging right wing conservative voices in the system. [...] All of these actions were taken without any transparency. And they were taken on one side of the aisle by people inside of Twitter, essentially covertly. No ownership of who did it. And they never told the people. They gaslight them. They could see their own tweets. They could use the service. But they couldn't be seen, even by their own fans, in many cases."

[6:56] DS: "This is an FTX level fraud, except that what was stolen here was not customer funds, it was their free speech rights. [...] You had statement after statement by Twitter executives like Jack Dorsey [...] and others saying we do not shadow ban. And then they also said we certainly [...] do not shut up and on the basis of political viewpoint. And what the Twitter files show is, that is exactly what they were doing."

[13:21] DF: "I think Sachs has articulated a vision for the product he wanted Twitter to be. But I don't think that's necessarily the product that they wanted to create. It's not that Twitter set out at the time or stated clearly that they were going to be the harbinger of truth and the free speech platform for all. I think they were really clear and they have been in their behavior. [...] They were editing and they were editorializing other people's content and the ranking of content in the same way that many other internet platforms do to create what they believe to be their best user experience for the users that they want to appeal to."

[15:18] DF: "Twitter is not a government agency. [...] They're not the internet. They're a product. And the product managers and the people that run that product team ultimately made some editorial decisions. [...] I don't agree with it. It's not the product I want. [...] [But] they never edited people's tweets. They changed how people's results were showing up in rankings. They showed how viral they would get in the trend box. Those were in app features and in app services. This was not about taking someone's tweet and changing it. And people may feel shamed and they may feel upset about the fact that they were deranked, or they were "shadowbanned", but ultimately, that's the product they chose to make. And people have the choice in the option of going elsewhere."

[17:10] CP: "I think moderation is incredibly difficult. And typically what happens is early on in a company's lifecycle, [...] you have this massive tidal wave of usage. And so you're always on a little bit of a hamster wheel. [...] You build these very basic tools, and you uncover problems along the way. And so I think it's important to humanize the people that are at Twitter, because I'm not sure that they're these super nefarious actors per se. I do think that they were conflicted. I do think that they made some very corrupting decisions. But I don't think that they were these evil actors. I think that they were folks who, against the tidal wave of usage, built some brittle tools, built on top of them, built on top of it some more, and tried to find a way of coping. And as scale increased, they didn't have an opportunity to take a step back and reset. And I think that that's true for all of these [social media] companies. And so you're just seeing it out in the light [...] at Twitter."

[20:40] CP: "I think the important thing to take away from all of this is, we've got confirmatory evidence that [...]  folks [at Twitter] under a tidal wave of pressure, made some really bad decisions. And the implications are pretty broad reaching. And now I do think governments have to step in and create better guardrails, so this kind of stuff doesn't happen. I don't buy the whole, it's a private company, they can do what they want. I think that that is too naive of an expectation for how important these [...] companies literally are to how Americans consume and process information to make decisions."

[23:55] CP: "The United States government is going to make an attempt to rewrite section 230. [...] Elon actually tweeted out and [...] said, going forward, you will be able to see if you were shadowbanned. You're able to see if you were de-boosted, why, and be able to appeal. And I think that that concept [...] should be enshrined in law. And I think that should be part of the section 230 rewrite. And all of these media companies, and all of these social media companies should be subject to it."

On China:

[47:38] JC: "On Wednesday, China's health authorities overhauled a zero COVID policy and announced a 10 point national plan that scrapped most health code tracking and also they're rolling back their mass testing. And this allowed many positive cases to just simply quarantine at home like we were doing [...] a year ago now and they're limiting some of these lockdowns. This all comes from a Foxconn letter, which we don't know the cause causation here."

[48:16] CP: "I just think it's kind of ridiculous to assume that the second largest economy in the world pivots based on one letter from one CEO. [...] Apparently [...] the CEO of Foxconn wrote a letter that essentially said, if we don't figure out a way to get out of this pandemic, this lockdown process, we're going to lose our leadership in the global supply chain. And apparently, that jolted the central planning commission to realize that they needed to get out of these lockdowns. I think it's something different. [...] I think this has been part [...] of a very focused and dedicated plan by Ji. Phase one was to consolidate power phase two was to get through November, and to basically get reappointed for life and dispel any other rivals that he actually had. And now phase three is just to reopen the economy again, so this guy can basically sit on top of the second largest economy in the world."

[49:30] CP: "The other part of it, which I think is being underreported, is I think that the way in which they did it was [...] more responsive to the fact that there are people on the ground. And I think that these guys are getting very sophisticated and understanding how to give the Chinese people some part of what they want, so that they're roughly happy enough to keep moving forward. And I'm not going to morally judge whether it's right or wrong, but it's just a comment on what the game play and the game theory seems to be coming from the leadership of China. [...] It's good for the Chinese people. And the real question is, what will it mean for the US economy if these guys get their economy going again."

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

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🗓️ 12/10/2022