Wednesday 27 May 2020

Trump gets Fact-Checked

US President Donald Trump has had one of his Tweets flagged by Twitter's fact-checker. Trump is the first US president to make full use of modern social media; indeed many claim, probably correctly, that it was a major factor in his successful election. Twitter is his chosen favourite platform and his account has become very widely followed. This has caused the managers of Twitter a terrible dilemma. He is one of their most famous users and they've given him their stamp of approval in the form of the "blue checkmark"; this gives them a lot of prestige. However, Twitter's prevailing political stance is very leftwing, about the same general position as The Guardian. This inevitably means they clash violently with Trump's populist conservatism. All mainstream social media platforms commit acts of censorship against users on the political right or those, like me, who express views, as YouTube puts it, "running contrary to the scientific consensus". Twitter has definitely the worst record when it comes to deletions, shadowbannings and exclusions. If Trump were not the US president then he would have been history long ago. As it is Twitter have been tolerating him with firmly gritted teeth. Despite this, Trump does not have immunity. When he double-Tweeted the following: "There is no way (ZERO!) that mail-in ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent. Mail boxes will be robbed; ballots will be forged and even illegally printed out and fraudulently signed. The Governor of California is sending ballots to millions of people, anyone... living in the state, no matter who they are or how they got there, will get one. That will be followed up with professionals telling all of these people, many of whom have never even thought of voting before, how and for whom to vote. This will be a rigged election. No way!" He was referring to the upcoming US Presidential Election in November which some people have suggested should be by postal ballot only because of the lingering threat of COVID 19. This Tweet was swiftly struck with a fact-checker tag. Source: The flag takes you to a page that gives media reports contradicting his statement.

I've noticed this is happening to many of my own social media posts, especially HPANWO TV videos. On YouTube the fact-checking function embeds pages from Wikipedia in the description boxes. The coronavirus and Area 51 are the most commonly flagged topics, probably because of their high profile in the news over the past year, for example see: and: I don't object in principle to some kind of application that pops up material that is critical towards the internet posts of an opinion. This is what the R-but-R plug-in does. It was devised by the skeptics to give anybody looking at a UFO/paranormal/conspiracy theory page an automatic one-click path to the alternative skeptical view, see: I'm all in favour of free speech for those who disagree with me as much as I am for those who don't. The only things I oppose are any algorithm that reduces the visibility of information under dispute; and what it's called. The very name "fact-checker" implies intellectual supremacy over what it is checking. What it is really doing is merely delivering the user easy access to an alternative opinion that may or may not be a fact. What is or is not a fact cannot be decided by giving something a name with the word "fact" in it. If that were the case then I could say, in the best of Orwellian tradition: "two plus two equals five and that's a fact"; and thenceforth all across the universe two plus two would cease to equal four. No, facts are decided by logical analysis, research and honest discussion; not by some social media corporation proclaiming that something they say is true because they say it. As it happens, I believe Twitter is wrong about Trump's Tweet. Election rigging is actually very common in the western world, including the USA and postal voting really does make such corruption far easier, see: The election in November will be a desperate time for what Niall Murphy calls "the powers-that-were". They will not want to repeat the same mistake again. This time round, their Hillary Clinton 2.0 is a sleazy and brainless old man called Joe Biden. Biden is completely unelectable and in a fair ballot Trump will thrash him hands down. Therefore the state is taking steps to stop this election being a fair ballot. Well done, Mr President! Hopefully you've derailed their subversion of democracy.

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