There has been a swathe of “negative press” around Twitter. This is surprising, because mainstream media adopted Twitter primarily as a distribution medium. The presence of celebrities on a loss making medium only cemented its role in the “lingo” – about a tweet being put online and then published. I have no idea how it became the “water cooler hangout” to discuss “oncology”. Or a go-too for the “communities”. These are assinine labels.
Now the “free-speech” is under threat. Free speech is “controversial”, but only now because AI uses it to magnify. If you profess something in a hallway or a conference/lecture/blog, your reach is limited to the people who wish to hear you. However, Twitter only amplifies the negative biases more than anything else. Everyone’s a “victim” in this world. This explains the futile “debates” which no one reads or counters, but censorship runs amok if a certain political spectrum dominates. This remains the cornerstone of this opinion in WSJ.
Do we need hall monitors? Last week Elon Musk released the “Twitter Files,” revealing that the company blocked anything it wanted related to the Hunter Biden laptop story—wrongly it turned out. I wrote a column in October 2020 on social-media bias that Twitter restricted for many users simply because I mentioned the ban and Ukrainian payoffs. In addition, Mr. Musk previously accused Apple of threatening to remove Twitter from its App Store after his company uncanceled Donald Trump and others. Apple CEO Tim Cook then walked Mr. Musk around the company’s spaceship headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., and assured him that “Apple never considered doing so.” Sunshine can be a pre-emptive disinfectant.
Here’s something more for the context:
And Apple does censor. The social-media app Parler was suspended from the App Store for more than three months in 2021. A video app named Odysee also has issues. According to Tucker Carlson and Fox News, “Apple presented Odysee with a list of nearly two dozen search terms, most related to Covid, that it had to ban if it wanted to join the App Store.” I decided to see for myself. I downloaded Odysee and typed in “covid origin china.” Sure enough, a screen popped up warning me: “This search term is restricted for iOS users of Odysee.” I find it offensive that Apple can decide what is offensive.
I have written earlier about it – how Apple can effectively kill an application by copying its functionality. If you have healthcare ambitions and have a “revolutionary product” with an in-app subscription, Apple can afford to give it out for free. That’s why it is critical for “alternative app stores” to flourish. Developers have effectively cornered themselves into submission. I remember the same set whining about BlackBerry 10; now they are crying out aloud for “protection”. There must be a straightforward alternative. Apple’s got its monopolistic/political power concentrated and unlikely to budge in consumer interest.