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Self-described "Free Speech Absolutist" Elon Musk is Weak on the "Absolutist" Part

By Donna
November 27, 2022 8:06 am
Category: Media

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Shortly after firing Twitter employees who criticized h7im on social media as well as privately on the company’s Slack, self-proclaimed “free speech absolutist” Elon Musk began reversing Twitter suspensions of prominent right-wing accounts that had previously violated Twitter’s policies. These include the accounts of former President Donald Trump, who incited a violent insurrection; Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green, who repeatedly spread Covid-19 misinformation; and Project Veritas, which posted private information about a Facebook exec.

Musk has not, however, reversed the suspension of Distributed Denial of Secrets, the nonprofit transparency collective that distributes leaked and hacked documents to journalists and researchers. During the Black Lives Matter protests in the summer of 2020, DDoSecrets published BlueLeaks, a set of documents from over 200 law enforcement agencies that revealed police misconduct, including spying on activists. Revelations from BlueLeaks were widely reported in outlets including The Intercept, The Associated Press, The Guardian, The Daily Dot, The Hill, Business Insider, The Nation, Mashable, The Daily Beast, and Reuters. (I’m an adviser to DDoSecrets.)

Here are a few of the datasets that DDoSecrets has published while it has been censored by Twitter:

* Over a million videos scraped from Parler, the far-right social network that anti-democracy activists used to organize the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. Videos from this dataset were used as evidence in Trump’s second impeachment inquiry.

* Emails, chat logs, donor lists, and membership records for the Oath Keepers, the far-right militia that participated in the January 6 attack. This dataset exposed hundreds of current and former law enforcement officers, members of the military, and elected officials as members of the extremist group. It was covered by news outlets including the Washington Post, ProPublica, NPR, BuzzFeed News, Rolling Stone, and Ars Technica.

* Dozens of datasets containing terabytes of data hacked from Russian corporations and government agencies in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The Intercept is part of an international consortium of newsrooms investigating the Russian documents and has published new information based on the leaks about Yevgeny Prigozhin, the Russian oligarch and Vladimir Putin ally who founded the infamous mercenary company known as the Wagner Group.

* Six terabytes of emails from the Mexican government agency in charge of the military, Secretaría de la Defensa Nacional. This dataset has been covered by dozens of Spanish-language news outfits.

Despite Musk’s lip service in support of free speech, for some reason he’s only ever expressed an interest in restoring the accounts of people on the far-right who are known for posting conspiracy theories or inciting violence.


Cited and related links:

  1. theintercept.com

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Comments on "Self-described "Free Speech Absolutist" Elon Musk is Weak on the "Absolutist" Part ":

  1. by islander on November 27, 2022 12:18 pm

    Teri Kanefield has done an excellent piece on this very subject, If you have a few minutes it's well worth the time it takes to read her article.
    terikanefield.com


  2. by Donna on November 27, 2022 12:40 pm

    From Kanefield's piece:

    The IRA even staged real events in the US. Using a Facebook page called “Heart of Texas” which had attracted over 250,000 followers, IRA agents organized a “Stop Islamization of Texas” event in 2016 in front of the Islamic Da’wah Center in Houston. At the same time, IRA operatives used their “United Muslims for America” Facebook page with 325,000 followers to promote a second event, to be held at the same time in the same place called “Save Islamic Knowledge.” Protesters from both sides showed up and, as was the intention of the Russians, violence broke out. The competing events were covered live by local news agencies. They didn’t know both protests had been organized by Russian operators.

    IRA agents, posing as Americans, built trust in their American audience, then deployed payload content. Here’s an example of how it works: IRA agents posted Biblical verses on a page designed to attract White Evangelicals. White Evangelicals who were attracted to the site believed they were interacting with like-minded Americans. After building their trust, the IRA agents posted lies about Hillary Clinton.

    To take another example, IRA agents carried on conversations that other users could see, pretending to be Americans discussing politics. In the lead-up to the 2016 elections, IRA agents pretended to be Black Americans explaining to each other why Black Americans should stay home and not vote.


    [More examples in the piece.]

    I didn't know those details, but I'm not at all surprised. Btw the US has been pulling political stunts like that (and worse) abroad since the 1950s.

    I don't see any of those alternatives to Twitter that Kanefield wrote about taking off in any significant way.


  3. by HatetheSwamp on November 27, 2022 2:46 pm

    Liars.
    hollywoodreporter.com


  4. by Donna on November 27, 2022 6:06 pm

    Touché!

    Good catch.


  5. by Donna on November 27, 2022 6:14 pm

    In defense of the author, Micah Lee, though, he isn't saying that Musk only restored the accounts of right-wingers. The title of his article is Elon Musk’s “Free Speech” Twitter Is Still Censoring DDoSecrets
    Twitter has censored the website of nonprofit transparency collective Distributed Denial of Secrets for more than two years
    . My bad.


  6. by islander on November 28, 2022 7:52 am

    Just so that there is no confusion, the IRA mentioned it Teri's article is not the Irish Republican Army! 😉 It's the Internet Research Agency (IRA).

    "The IRA was founded in 2014 in St. Petersburg to spread disinformation and sow discord in democracies. During the 2016 American presidential election cycle, IRA agents operated thousands of social media accounts, created social media pages, and organized groups designed to attract US audiences. During the election cycle, tens of millions of Americans interacted with Russian-operated accounts, not knowing that the accounts were operated in St. Petersburg." 


  7. by Donna on November 28, 2022 8:03 am

    I saw lot of suckers on both sides fall for the Russian manipulation operations that Kanefield wrote about. Political junkies have a propensity for falling for that sort of stuff. I see it on the far left as well as the MAGA contingent of the GOP.


  8. by islander on November 28, 2022 2:54 pm

    I agree with what you said about the far left but I think the far left or radical left had their hey-day in the 60’s and 70’s. Not that there are none today but I think they are no longer seen in the same light as they were then nor do they have the same kind of, or at least as much support as they did back then. Today, since it really started growing in the early 90’s, is the hey-day of the extreme right and the radical right. They are a much larger group with much more support than the radical left in our country ever had.

    I think though (and hope), although it doesn't seem like it at times, that we are starting to see a swing back to normalcy and the American people are seeing the extremists (on both sides) for what they really are.


  9. by Donna on November 29, 2022 7:50 am

    The far lefties I'm talking about tend to be anti-vaxxers, make excuses for Russian aggression in Ukraine, and stubbornly vote for presidential candidates like Howie Hawkins (whose platform I mostly like) in general elections. Btw, Howie received 0.2% of the vote in 2020, which I think is a new low for Green Party presidential nominees, so yeah, their influence has greatly diminished in recent years. But IMO that's primarly because of Trump.


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