created Nov 18, 2019
Saudi activist alleges the Saudi government threatened 30+ influencers by saying they would release hacked private material if they don't tweet propaganda
WaPo story: Saudi spies hacked my phone and tried to stop my activism. I won’t stop fighting
In the fight against the online campaigns targeting Saudi citizens, I had a powerful ally and friend in Jamal Khashoggi, who recognized the power of Twitter to shape public opinion in Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Arab world. Jamal was murdered because he was willing to fight trolls and propaganda with truth and ideas. But we are still learning how far Saudi Arabia — and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — is willing to go to monitor and silence critics online.
Last week, the Justice Department announced that it was charging two former Twitter employees with spying for Saudi Arabia by accessing the company’s information on dissidents on the platform. I was one of the targets.
It’s all been part of a coordinated campaign of harassment. Saudi Arabia, using spyware sold by the Israeli company NSO Group, hacked my phone to read my messages with Jamal, with whom I was working to identify and combat Saudi trolls on Twitter, which we called the “electronic bees.” We were working together to organize an army of volunteers to counter them.
To understand why they cared so much about protecting their Twitter trolls you have to understand the popularity and importance of Twitter for Saudis.
Twitter trolls equal engagement, and engagement equals revenue for Twitter, which refuses to curb its cesspool quality in any meaningful way, since "real" changes at Twitter could hurt revenue, which would infuriate Wall Street.
Twitter Users Share Responsibility for Creating a Cesspool.
This part of the WaPo piece seems strange to me:
Since we didn’t have a lot of options for entertainment in Saudi Arabia, we coped with our environment by living a different reality on our smartphones. Twitter soon became crucial to exercise the first element of individual liberty: freedom of expression. The platform’s popularity exploded among Saudis virtually overnight. We lived democratically on Twitter. People posted freely.
Twitter is a silo. It has zero obligation to be a platform of freedom of expression, and it's not. Twitter's main purpose is to enrage people.
The internet offers people a chance at freedom of expression.
Saudi Twitter gradually morphed into a propaganda platform, with the government deploying trolls and pressuring influencers to amplify its messages. McKinsey & Company, the consulting firm, prepared a report on how public opinion is shaped on Twitter.
Twitter does not shape my opinion about anything. Twitter has become one of those suspicious sources of info where it's okay to say, "yeah but consider the source."
The scary part and maybe the worst part of all is the fact that so many journalists and media orgs use Twitter heavily. Twitter is a misinformation machine.
It’s sad to see that Twitter may be one of the factors behind Jamal’s brutal murder. It’s a heartbreaking development because we had so much hope on the platform.
Twitter is a silo that needs to produce revenue numbers to satisfy Wall Street. That's all.
In 2013, Jamal posted: “Someday Twitter will win a Nobel prize.” But now we see it’s slipping into darkness. Will Twitter take measures to protect our public square?
Of course not. And Twitter has never been the public square. Silo platforms are not designed to be public squares.
The open internet is the public square. Email and web are probably the two most popular applications to run over the internet. It's unfortunate that people believe that Twitter is their savior.
Dec 8, 2019
The cesspool, Twitter, is a legal place to post libelous content.
Dec 16, 2019
I don't know if this story spotlights Twitter's cesspool feature or the media's whining.
The BBC’s director general has expressed his exasperation with “conspiracy theories” about the broadcaster’s election news coverage ...
Hall said the BBC’s critics were often seeing bias in what were genuine human errors: ...
He also suggested social media platforms should find ways to reduce the level of public criticism aimed at journalists, such as BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg: “Elections always put the BBC’s impartiality in the spotlight. Social media offers a megaphone to those who want to attack us and makes this pressure greater than ever. The conspiracy theories that abound are frustrating. And let’s be clear – some of the abuse which is directed at our journalists who are doing their best for audiences day in, day out is sickening. It shouldn’t happen. And I think it’s something social media platforms really need to do more about.”
Social media users criticize more than journalists. And since this is a story about the media, I'm assuming that the above social media reference is mainly about Twitter.
While older staff were more likely to dismiss online complaints about coverage, younger staff repeatedly and persistently raised concerns about the loosely phrased tweets of senior BBC journalists, which often reach millions of people without passing through editors.
One BBC journalist working on a high-profile radio programme expressed exasperation with “ludicrous Twitter storms” over minor errors but admitted criticism had made life harder. “It’s really tough working for the BBC at the moment. I have never known the fury to be so great. But my overwhelming impression is that people should be careful what they wish for, because they will end up with Fox News or Russia Today.”
Unsworth said it was not realistic to ask correspondents to step back from Twitter but there is room for changes: ...
Then this story is about media whining. The journalist do not need to use the cesspool. The fact that journalists use the largest system to spread misinformation is alarming.
“It is an important form of communication to get their stories out. We just need to reinforce our social media rules. But I don’t think it’s viable to say take a step back.”
Asinine thinking. Pound the back of your hand with a hammer and don't stop and only complain.
Instead of using silos, the BBC would be smarter to use the open web/internet.