However, the labels provided insight into how the platform operators at the time were thinking. Sunlight is the best disinfectant, the platforms seem to have said, but the label resembles a few additional fluorescent tubes installed on the ceiling.
In short, tech platforms have responded to the challenge of censorship by users with performances of powerless concealment of claims of power. These companies have written rules for their users. They choose not to execute them. The labels tell us what happened and what will not be done with it. They may also have said “good luck.” Then came January 6.
What is real life – and is it Twitter?
You may have heard the phrase “Twitter is not real life” in relation to any situation in which the consensus of certain groups of people on the service collides with external reality (e.g. campaign Biden, has accepted the spell before and after Mr. Biden wins the Democratic primary election).
Most of the time this is done by rolling your eyes – away from the computer, out, talking to people who don’t tweet often if you want to know what’s really going on. Of course, that’s what you hear most on Twitter itself, where it used to sound wise, but over the years, sometimes, it starts to sound, sometimes, like delineation with despair, especially when it comes from people – and I will just claim to be talking about myself here, other reporters may speak for themselves – people who owe a lot of service, professionally subject, that talking about it without some sort of revelation feels unethical. (Imagine the tag: “This reporter reads Twitter in bed on both days of the day.”)
To be fair, Twitter has changed rapidly. In 2015, it was novel, believable, but mostly understood as a joke when Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush exchanged insults on Twitter. In 2017, President Trump tried to enforce border policy with tweets.
Three years later, lawmakers, along with a slew of regular users, used the platform to beg Twitter’s chief executive officer to ban the president in order to keep American democracy intact, for the sake of the president. The governor used it to declare an election in which he had lost. There is no ignoring Twitter without ignoring Mr. Trump, and certainly not ignoring Mr. Trump.