Big Tech Sabotage Disguised as Censorship

Social media platforms’ suppression of conservative/Republican/right-of-left voices is called censorship inaccurately. It is sabotage of communication between their users, much worse than censorship. When authoritarian regimes implement censorship, everyone is aware of it, and the aims of censorship are known. Usually, they include criticism of the ruling regime or its ideology. See, for example, the former USSR’s Criminal Code, Article 190-1, “Disinformation that undermines trust in our institutions,” – thanks, Sen. Mark Warner (D-IN) for the translation. However, the conduct of the top social media and search platforms effectively creates alternative realities for different people. That leads to conflicts. Unapproved speech disappears. The government-directed interventions, recently proven by the Twitter files and in Missouri v. Biden, are not only illegal censorship but extrajudicial punishment of speakers and listeners.

Let’s look at shadowbanning, which Twitter has practiced since 2017 or earlier. When the target was shadowbanned, his tweets were not delivered to the intended recipients, but the target was not notified. Twitter frequently deployed shadowbanning in situations when communications were especially important, such as when the target was wrongly accused of racism or another bad behavior. The target refuted the accusations in tweets to his followers and other correspondents. However, Twitter did not deliver those tweets. After some time, the shadow ban was removed, but the target and other persons were placed in alternative realities. The target thought that the accusations had been refuted, but other people were convinced of the opposite, that the target’s silence was acceptance of the allegations, with dire consequences for the target. Worse, the target was likely to assert later he had answered the accusations, while multiple other people were convinced he had not. Thus, the target was painted as a liar. Twitter introduced even more subtle forms of shadowbanning later.

Blocking and throttling posts is not the only way Big Tech wreaks havoc on its users and society. Platforms and third parties of their choice can manufacture and send messages on behalf of users without their permission or even knowledge.

Hard to believe, but Facebook was doing that for the Obama campaign, in 2012: “the campaign could deliver carefully targeted campaign messages disguised as messages from friends to millions of Facebook users.” (, 2012)

Facebook approved an app created by the Obama campaign and targeted at its supporters. When a user downloaded it, it vacuumed data of the user’s Facebook Friends without their consent or even knowledge. Then, the campaign crafted individualized messages for some of those Friends. When the app user clicks a button, Facebook delivers those messages to the Friends on behalf of that user.

“more than 1 million Obama backers who signed up for the app gave the campaign permission to look at their Facebook friend lists. In an instant, the campaign had a way to see the hidden young voters. … Facebook offered an ideal way to reach them. ‘People don’t trust campaigns. They don’t even trust media organizations,’ says [Obama operative] Goff . ‘Who do they trust? Their friends.’  …  in those final weeks of the campaign, the team blitzed the supporters who had signed up for the app with requests to share specific online content with specific friends simply by clicking a button. More than 600,000 supporters followed through with more than 5 million contacts … A geek squad in Chicago created models from vast data sets to find the best approaches for each potential voter.” (Time,

This is an important detail — a user had to click a button for Facebook to send his or her Facebook Friends messages crafted by the Obama campaign but masqueraded as a message from their friend. The question is — did the users know that the messages would be sent on their behalf rather than on behalf of the campaign? The answer is likely NO for most of them. Further, some might have clicked to make the pop-up go away or even by accident.

Facebook also allowed similar apps from some commercial entities. Did Facebook allow Democrat campaigns or progressive organizations to send messages on behalf of users without anybody’s knowledge? We do not know. Usually, such abuses by Big Tech come to light too late, if at all. Big Tech platforms, supported by Democrat officeholders and judges, have been successfully deterring scrutiny from neutral bodies. When Big Tech executives say their companies do things with users’ permission, they frequently mean that users have given them all permission by purportedly accepting their TOS.

In the same elections, Facebook also provided the Obama campaign with its entire social graph, a fact revealed only four years later. This is not surprising, as Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes was head of digital operations of the Obama 2012 campaign. It was an in-kind contribution valued at billions of dollars.

We may still be unaware of what Facebook did for Democrats in 2016. The public was distracted by the allegations about Cambridge Analytica and the Trump campaign. Cambridge Analytica was another nothinburger. First, Trump did not use Cambridge Analytica in the general elections, only in primaries. Second, Cambridge Analytica and data scientist Aleksandr Kogan did what Facebook allowed thousands of companies to do and only a fraction of what it allowed the Democrats.

In 2013, Facebook disseminated an app created by data scientist Aleksandr Kogan, whose work was used by Cambridge Analytica. This app accessed profiles and collected data from the users who downloaded it and their Facebook Friends. This is creepy, but such access to Friends’ profiles was the main reason for third parties to develop apps, as Facebook admitted (Six4Three Committee of British Parliament, p.32 of 250). Claims that Kogan had violated the agreement with Facebook were just hairsplitting – Facebook did not and could not enforce such agreements, and most of its developers have likely violated them.

Facebook also divulged US users’ private data to the flagship Russian search engine Yandex for many years – “Facebook records show Yandex had access in 2017 to Facebook’s unique user IDs even after the social network stopped sharing them with other applications” (NYT) –   while Facebook lawyer and shareholder Robert Mueller was investigating President Trump for imaginary Russian connections.

Big Tech subjected conservative users and publishers to many forms of abuse beyond censorship. For example, Apple suspended Breitbart’s app for a week in 2016 but allowed another app that was impersonating Breitbart. Breitbart complained publicly, but its reputation suffered. I remember a remark made by a center-liberal commentator who looked up the Breitbart app, found the fake one, and concluded that Breitbart was lying.

I observed many more such cases. Hijacking the Stop the Steal movement is likely the most outrageous one. Changing the definition of the word covfefe in the Google dictionary after Trump used it was a simple but effective way to create alternative realities, convincing the general public that Trump is crazy, and his supporters are conspiracy theorists.

Big Tech’s manipulations can also be narrowly directed at specific targets, such as military officers, high-level officials, judges etc. VP Pence watched the Jan 6 events on TV and Twitter. We are all aware of what he saw on TV, but what did he see on Twitter? Twitter could have easily provided him with an entirely different feed than other people. The impressions on someone’s timeline are ephemeral. We know that Twitter was deleting tweets from Trump supporters about antifa infiltrators on that day and blocked Trump.

Big Tech’s communication sabotage has been one of the main factors tearing this country apart since 2016.

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