Twitter is Not a Public Square: How Advertising Corrupts the New Media

Twitter is not a public square. It’s an ad supported network that responds to advertiser pressure. So, it deliberately censors communications that its advertisers deem damaging to their brands.

That’s just the fact of the matter. These platforms get their oxygen from advertisers, and they’ll consistently cave to demands from advertisers for news takedown.

The problem is that activist organizations and propagandists understand this intimately, and they’re gaming the system to edit the news that comes your way. They know exactly how it works, and they’ll stop at nothing to ensure that unpopular, fringy, and controversial media organizations and personalities that you may like to follow get taken down.

When activists pressure advertisers on behalf of their causes to censor, block, demonitize and expel accounts you gather news from, they manipulate the private social media platforms and limit your ability to freely and efficiently gather news.

Yes, of course, you can research independently and gather up news on the off-social-media internet. That’s a healthy option for everyone.

But don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’re “curating” a unique feed of Twitter accounts that benefit from free speech protections. They just don’t. Twitter is not a free speech zone. Jack Dorsey and Vijaya Gadde can spin it any number of ways, but there’s corruption within the Twitter model, and the resulting “forum” is anything but free.  

Nothing new here

Interestingly, we’ve seen this type of advertising pressure in the past. It’s nothing new. This is a common theme on the Media Collusion blog.

The truth is, media outlets like Fox News, CNN, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and all your other ad supported publications encounter similar pressure. Their content gets censored by advertiser pressure.

A recent example? Fox News’ Tucker Carlson show lost 20 advertisers due to pressure on advertisers from Media Matters, whose mission is to “comprehensively monitor, analyze, and correct conservative misinformation in the U.S. media” (Wikipedia).

Alex Jones: Canary in a coal mine

On Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, this plays out every month. The big example? Alex Jones. He’s disappeared from those platforms and is losing relevance by the day. Say what you may about him and his wild, scandalous stories, but the precedent is dangerous.

Those opposed to Jones figured out that this works, and you’ll see it grow. Other less controversial news sources will follow his experience, and you’ll see less diversity in coverage because of it.

The big question

Do you want to get your news from a site like Twitter that plays by these “rules?”

I’d recommend avoiding those platforms (which also operate on negative addictive behavior models) and focusing on news consumption that starts at bookmarked sources you trust. Curate your own sources on the open internet and avoid the “help” these social media sites claim to offer.

The solution is to get smart about how you consume news – remember, what you feed your brain affects your mind, body and spirit. You can also read more about how the media works in Media Collusion: Journalism and Marketing Experts Share the Secrets of Sneaky Advertising, Targeted Persuasion, AI and Tracking, Political Deception and Coercion, and Dishonest News.




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