The New York Times shows the power of tech censorship
On Monday, the New York Times ran an article that was intended to show that, despite the tech tyrants' righteous ban of the bad orange man (AKA Trump) from social media, Trump's minions (AKA his supporters) nevertheless used social media to spread his message. The Times wasn't quite so blatant in how it stated things but that was its point. However, what was most noticeable about the article was the graphic the Times included, which showed that, thanks to the social media ban, Trump's voice went from a trumpet resounding like Gabriel's horn to a mouse's whisper.
The tone of the article is set in the title: "Trump may be blocked from social networks, but supporters ensure his statements spread." In other words, the fact that the tech tyrants who control most political communication in America shut down the former president of the United States who may in the future be a presidential or congressional candidate really doesn't matter because there are still people who will spread his message. The article continues this theme:
When Facebook and Twitter barred Donald J. Trump from their platforms after the Capitol riot in January, he lost direct access to his most powerful megaphones. On Friday, Facebook said the former president would not be allowed back on its service until at least January 2023, citing a risk to public safety.
Since his ban and President Biden's inauguration, he has posted statements online far less often. But some of his statements have traveled just as far and wide on social networks.
As always, the devil is in the details. The Times looked at all of Trump's social media posts before the ban and the spread of all of his post-ban messages. This is what the crack Times' analysis discovered:
Before the ban, the social media post with the median engagement generated 272,000 likes and shares. After the ban, that dropped to 36,000 likes and shares. Yet 11 of his 89 statements after the ban attracted as many likes or shares as the median post before the ban, if not more.
You can fuss about the fact that 11 messages got traffic, but the reality is that Trump's overall ability to reach people dropped by almost 87%. What really shows the difference is the graphic the Times included with the article:
When Republicans retake Congress (I'm optimistic and envisioning victory), they need to clip the tech tyrants' wings. It is utterly outrageous that the people who have control of the major avenues of communication in America are using their enormous power to play partisan games.
Image: Trump on his phone. YouTube screen grab.
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