Last weekend, Elon Musk announced a limit on Twitter’s post viewing to “address extreme levels of data scraping & system manipulation” much to the disgust of free-speech patriots. Accounts all across Twitter thought this was another form of censorship and a grab at obtaining more paid blue check marks. Outside of perhaps a small number of Twitter users, this was the overwhelming sentiment one would see while browsing through Twitter feeds (don’t browse too much…800 posts goes by quick!).
Perhaps the best summation of the move by Musk came from Mike Benz of the Foundation for Freedom Online: this was an effort to beat the AI-censorship bots. Benz alludes to an “AI censorship Death Star” that has been under construction and renovation every week, every month, every year for the past 6 or 7 years now. And it all relies on massive scraping of Twitter data in order to build these models and databases to track trending narratives, to systematically surveil and build, sort of, intelligence dossiers, and to track and turn down all at once, communities online.”
Benz talks about the Election Integrity Partnership (EIP) that was assembled with the Stanford Internet Observatory “with the narrow aim of defending the 2020 election against voting-related mis- and disinformation”. Benz rhetorically asks how the EIP was able to get 22 million tweets classified as “[mis]information”:
“Well, first, they didn’t flag 22 million by hand. This was something that Mehdi Hasan, the MSNBC host, flagrantly deceived his millions of viewers about when he said ‘they only flagged 3,000, not 22 million…’. Benz contests that they used AI to scrape the data of 22 million posts as ‘misinformation’ from 859 million tweets to build that AI model.
Wow. Musk has no idea the DARPA rattlesnake he just stepped on by this doing this…
— Mike Benz (@MikeBenzCyber) July 1, 2023
Hasan was technically correct based on Taibbi’s use of the word “runup”. However, the concerns surrounding the censorship of the 2020 Election (outside of the Biden Laptop cover up, which Natasha Bertrand at Politico flat-out misrepresented her sources’ own words), was not about the runup as much as it was censoring information about what actually happened on “Election Week” (it’s not a “day” anymore…in fact, in many locations is closer to “Election Month” than it is “Election Day”). Side note: I wonder if Hasan will have Bertrand on to discuss the misinformation in her Politico piece from 2020?
While Hasan was standing high on his MSNBC soapbox claiming Taibbi was wrong because of a single word “runup”, he himself was flat-out wrong: he claimed the 22 million number Taibbi cited from the EIP report was “after the election” and only 3,000 came before (still cannot find this citation in the Long Fuse Report). In fact, the 22 million number was the amount of tweets accumulated from the 859 million tweets scraped from August 15 through December 12. Just look above. That is directly from the report. I’m almost certain August 15th was before the election.
But the shocking part about this data is this averages to approximately 7 million tweets per day that Artificial Intelligence was scraping from Twitter to analyze US citizens thoughts and formulate a plot, among other things, to “pre-bunk” (EIP’s own phrase) election misinformation.
Think about that: companies using artificial intelligence to scrape an average of 7 million tweets per day, not to tell you what car you should buy, or what hair-do you should try out, but to censor you from questioning a wildly contested, opaque election with events we’ve never seen before in the history of US elections (universal mail-in balloting, drop boxes with no transparent chain of custody, vote-counting shut downs in the middle of the night, hundreds-of-thousands vote spikes favoring one candidate, observer interference, late night mail drop offs after polls officially closed, etc). The same apparatus was in play for COVID “misinformation”.
Musk may have dealt a crushing blow to this 7,000,000 per day by limiting accounts, especially “bot accounts,” to just 800 posts per day. It would take an army of 8,875 bots to scrape the data that was ingested in 2020 under Musk’s new limit. Of course this is just a small bump in the road for AI to overcome. Online “data scraping” services claim they can still be effective with these limits. But perhaps Elon Musk and the team at Twitter have a plan. After all, this was “to address extreme levels of data scraping and system manipulation.”
Another key takeaway from Hasan’s argument with Taibbi was “adding an -A” to CIS (Center for Internet Security) to make it CISA, a federal agency that monitors cybersecurity. The context is that Taibbi claimed the “EIP was partnered with state entities like CISA and GEC” because the #TwitterFiles stated “According to CIS, escalated via EIP”. While this was a mistake in that the CISA was not directly partnered with the EIP, the CIS, which Hasan argues is what Taibbi meant, was directly partnered with CISA to secure the elections. And the EIP helped aid the EI-ISAC (a part of the CIS and contracted with DHS) to censor information and work on behalf of governments to “inform potential counter-narratives.” This is the utter subversion of the First Amendment through a non-profit spiderweb:
The CIS acknowledges a partnership with the CISA on their own website:
The CIS/EI-ISAC has also partnered directly with the Department of Homeland Security, of which CISA is a part of, to offer “free” services to county election offices for security in their elections. So while the CIS is “an official election community partner” with the EIP, the DHS is contracted with the CIS to “secure” elections, for free, at the local level in potentially thousands of jurisdictions across the country. This seems to suggest Taibbi was right but the “partnership” was done in an obscure way as to subvert people like Hasan from fully understanding what was arranged.
The same “non-profit”, paid by the Federal Government, to “secure” our elections, for free, is also the parent company of the “non-profit” that is censoring Americans who question said election.
Elon Musk has his work cut out for him. In doing so, one can only hope that he fully understands the extent to which these toxic non-profits and unlawful government agencies went to censor Americans in 2020 over elections and COVID.