The social network Twitter once again showed its convenient way of dealing with controversial tweets. While on the one hand it censors President Donald Trump, on the other it allows an official of the Chinese regime to publish false photographs that could encourage violent actions.
The social network has shown its affinity with the Chinese regime to the point of giving it the “green light” to publish false information of global interest.
Lijian Zhao, who is deputy director of the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s Information Department, shared a photo with false information insulting Australia on Twitter: “Shocked by the killing of Afghan civilians and prisoners by Australian soldiers. We strongly condemn such acts and call for accountability.
The picture shows a soldier in military uniform and a helmet with the Australian flag pressing a bloody knife against the neck of a child who, in turn, is holding a small lamb. The photograph was edited and retouched to make it look like there is an Australian flag stretched out on the ground above one from Afghanistan.
Senator Marco Rubio called it an “inappropriate action” for Twitter to label the false image as “potentially sensitive content” and for the social network not to act in the same way as it has done with the U.S. president.
“It is outrageous that when the U.S. president tweets about sending the National Guard to protect cities from looters, Twitter immediately acts to silence him for ‘violating the terms’. But when a Chinese government official tweets a false image that could result in violence, it is only labeled as ‘potentially sensitive content,'” Rubio said.
“Twitter has had over 36 hours to investigate & flag a tweet by Zhao Lijian, a deputy director of #China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs that contained a doctored image that could inspire deadly violence. They have done nothing. But Trump tweets get flagged within minutes”
The Republican questioned whether Twitter policies maintain a double standard with conservatives: “Labeling this falsified image, which was published by a Chinese Communist Party bureaucrat, as “potentially sensitive content” is absurd. Either Twitter has a double standard with the conservatives or it is afraid of the Chinese government and the Communist Party. In reality, it’s probably both. The days of the exemption from Twitter section 230 are numbered,” he said.
Beyond the seriousness of what the image represents, the paradoxical way in which Twitter acts was once again evident, censoring publications for “violating the terms” but allowing high-ranking officials of the Chinese regime to issue false information.
It should be remembered that Twitter had taken action against what it considers “misinformation” about the coronavirus pandemic. However, it allowed a Chinese state media outlet to lie about the origin of the pandemic.
“All available evidence suggests that # COVID19 did not start in Wuhan, in central China, but can enter China through imported frozen food products and their packaging,” tweeted People’s Daily China along with a link to its report.
That tweet remained intact for several hours and the critics noticed it. “There is no Twitter misinformation tag on this tweet. It’s been active for 14 hours,” reacted conservative commentator Stephen Miller, then asked Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, “Do you see the problem now, Jack?”
Twitter has tagged Trump’s messages about possible election fraud with alerts, calling them lies, a fact that Republicans have pointed out as censorship.
The controversial social network is in the eye of the hurricane after it repeatedly decided to censor publications of great importance without reason. An example of this is the censorship of a New York Post article so that the corruption scheme in which Hunter Biden is involved would not be known.
Twitter under scrutiny
On November 27th, Trump declared that Twitter was a threat to national security. This after #DiaperDon went viral after a press conference.
“Twitter is sending out totally false ‘Trends’ that have absolutely nothing to do with what is really happening in the world. They make it up, and only negative ‘stuff,'” tweeted the U.S. president.
“For National Security purposes, Section 230 must be terminated immediately,” added Trump in reference to part of a 1996 law protecting websites from lawsuits for content posted by users.
In addition, on November 17th, the U.S. Senate called on Twitter and Facebook to testify about their content management in the elections, a session that also revealed Congress’ determination to make changes to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 that social networks are holding onto to support their actions.
The law, known as Section 230, protects the ability of companies to moderate content as they see fit and directly impacts the accountability of technology firms for what users post on their platforms.
However, a few months ago Trump issued an executive order to regulate this Act, arguing that companies should be more proactive and clear about the technology they use to moderate content.