“On the Holmes Front,” with Frank Holmes
The bloom is finally off the rose when it comes to social media’s interference in the presidential election.
On Wednesday, The New York Post published a series of explosive emails reportedly taken from Hunter Biden’s laptop. Included in the alleged emails are details of shady backdoor deals, open grift, and influence peddling could take down Joe Biden just as Donald Trump has begun to narrow the race with the former vice president.
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That was too much for the billionaire tech titans. Twitter immediately went into meltdown.
It blocked anyone from sharing the story. It locked the NY Post and many other people who tweeted the investigation out of their accounts.
Twitter banned White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany — the president’s designated representative to communicate with the American people — from her own account, she said.
But Twitter overreached. Even its most outspoken defenders can no longer deny the social media giant is blatantly censoring information to protect Joe Biden.
CEO Jack Dorsey did damage control, saying his “communication around our actions on the @nypost article was not great.” And he called “blocking URL sharing via tweet or DM with zero context as to why we’re blocking” it “unacceptable.”
But he didn’t restore the story. Instead, the “Twitter Safety” department hinted that the story was disinformation and referred to a 2018 policy not “to distribute content obtained without authorization. We don’t want to incentivize hacking by allowing Twitter to be used as distribution for possibly illegally obtained materials.”
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However, Twitter never did—and still doesn’t—block Fake News or stories based on hacked sources.
Here are just a few examples.
Donald Trump’s secret phone call with his private lawyer
Twitter exposed its bias because the same paper at the center of this controversy, the NY Post, released a “secret recording” of a phone call between President Trump and his former lawyer, Michael Cohen.
By anyone’s account, a “secret recording” is obtained “without authorization.” Depending on where Trump was at the time of the recording, it could also be illegal, if he happened to be calling from a state that demands both parties consent to recording telephone communications. And that story came out in 2018, the year Twitter says it adopted its anti-hacking policy.
But Twitter didn’t stop people from sharing the link, block people’s accounts, or post public statements saying it might be false. The story is still available on Twitter to this day.
— New York Post (@nypost) July 25, 2018
The same newspaper posted two different stories, two different leaks, and got two very different reactions from Twitter.
Donald Trump’s tax returns
You don’t have to go back years and years to see the double standard play out. Just this month, the Post‘s competitor, The New York Times, published what are supposedly private details of President Donald Trump’s tax information. The story claims the billionaire paid only $750 in taxes for years in a row.
It’s not only a massive invasion of privacy to expose the financial information of someone—anyone—without their consent. It’s a crime.
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Section 7213 of the Internal Revenue Code makes it illegal to release a person’s income tax returns, punishable by up $5,000 in fines and five years in prison.
But Twitter did not block this illegal and still unverified story, which is still available all over its platform. It didn’t even remove its seal of approval—the blue checkmark—from accounts that shared it.
The $750 in federal income taxes that President Trump paid in both 2016 and 2017 has garnered much attention since it was revealed in our investigation. Here's how that figure was calculated. https://t.co/YY7QjVdfIH
— The New York Times (@nytimes) September 30, 2020
Melania Trump’s private phone calls
When one of First Lady Melania Trump’s “friends” secretly recorded her phone conversations, the media salivated. They spun the calls as showing the supermodel being shallow and self-important, eve though their contents actually show a woman deeply knowledgeable about the facts of U.S. policy.
She certainly has a better grasp on the way human traffickers exploit children at the Mexican border than most reporters.
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But the contents of the recordings don’t matter. They are not only a betrayal of personal trust and friendship but were definitely “obtained without authorization.”
Yet to this day, you can listen to the audio of the wiretapped phone calls right on Twitter.
‘Detained migrant children are better off in U.S. cages’ — Melania Trump was caught on tape making a series of disparaging remarks about migrants in secretly recorded phone calls https://t.co/hLxUrFRZEk pic.twitter.com/pTXPIkTLiE
— Shakthi Vadakkepat (@v_shakthi) October 2, 2020
The American president’s private phone call with another world leader
President Trump was impeached for his phone call with the president of Ukraine, allegedly demanding a quid pro quo to help his campaign. It turned out to be a lie that strained U.S. ties with its allies—but Twitter didn’t object.
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Today, Twitter users can still read the entire call, word-for-word.
In honor of the #HunterBidenEmails scandal, I went back to read everything related to the Ukraine impeachment trial. You should too. First, the "perfect phone call" which was actually pretty incredible in retrospect.https://t.co/4dZt3nd7Ek
— Harry Jay Truman (@steviebsmullet) October 16, 2020
Donald Trump’s private server?
Hillary Clinton accused the president—“without evidence,” as the news media say—of having a secret email server. Trump needed this to communicate with a Russian bank.
The phony story is based on lies and innuendo. Publishing it would definitely “incentivize hacking.” But Hillary Clinton’s followers can still see the allegation on her account:
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) October 31, 2016
China blames COVID-19 on the United States
Twitter also gave the impression it blocked the story because it’s false. But that’s never been a problem for Twitter’s favorite users, including government officials in the Chinese Communist Party.
After China lied, hid the evidence, and unleashed the coronavirus on the rest of the world… and then its government had the audacity to falsely claim the virus originated in America.
“When did patient zero begin in US? How many people are infected? What are the names of the hospitals? It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent! Make public your data! US owe us an explanation!” tweeted Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian.
2/2 CDC was caught on the spot. When did patient zero begin in US? How many people are infected? What are the names of the hospitals? It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent! Make public your data! US owe us an explanation! pic.twitter.com/vYNZRFPWo3
— Lijian Zhao 赵立坚 (@zlj517) March 12, 2020
Twitter’s move mirrors China’s crackdown and censorship of its citizens’ social media accounts.
To make matters more troubling the Twitter employee who killed the Hunter Biden story was once a staffer for now-retired Democratic U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., according to NY Post Opinion Page editor Sohrab Ahmari.
“When billionaires shut down legitimate questions about a candidate three weeks before election day, that’s corruption,” said Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Thursday night.
What does @Jack have to say?
Frank Holmes is a veteran journalist and an outspoken conservative that talks about the news that was in his weekly article, “On The Holmes Front.”