Twitter has come up with a rather innovative strategy to curb the free speech of users who have, over the years, acclimatized themselves to engaging in meaningful debates with people across the spectrum. Announcing the same last night (IST), Twitter’s official handle said that the new feature, which is being tested for a few users across the world, was a way to have conversations only with those handles which one chooses. The new feature can be called the “Who can reply” feature.
As part of testing the new feature, which is yet to be rolled out for all Twitter users, people can, before every tweet, see three options under the “Who can reply?” pop-up window. ‘Everyone’, ‘Only people you follow’ and ‘Only people you mention’. If the user chooses the first option, things will pretty much remain the same, as they are now, which is that the standard Twitter features will be applicable and everyone will be able to reply to the tweet.
The issue really is with the second and third options, which go in complete contrast to the “spirit of Twitter”, if at all one exists. The second option allows only for those people to reply to the tweet of the user who are followed by him/her. Meanwhile, the third option is abhorrent to say the least, and limits the scope of replying to a particular tweet only to those handles which have been mentioned in the tweet.
A new way to have a convo with exactly who you want. We’re starting with a small % globally, so keep your 👀 out to see it in action. pic.twitter.com/pV53mvjAVT
— Twitter (@Twitter) May 20, 2020
Liberal celebs – random RW trolls keep exposing us
Twitter CEO: Hmm
Liberal celebs: They throw facts in our face? Imagine!
Twitter CEO: Hmm
Liberal celebs: Their responses get more RTs than us
Twitter CEOs: Ennnnnooouggh. Let me handle this now. https://t.co/uK96knLFZv
— Atul Mishra (@TheAtulMishra) May 21, 2020
Here’s why this new ‘feature’ is problematic. It is a direct and lethal assault on your freedom of expression, and not to mention, your right to dissent. Not only does this feature allow certain Twitter handles to have a free-run with their propaganda, without really being hammered for the same in the replies section, but it also leaves little space for the apolitical minds to have a choice, so as to which side of the argument or debate holds more water. Why? Because there really is no other side to the arguments of a few anymore!
The political and ideological inclinations of Twitter need no introduction. Blatantly biased in favour of the Left, right-wingers have always had it tough on the microblogging platform. From shamelessly and incessantly fidgeting with our follower count to shadow-banning us, to even suspending the accounts of those on the right side of the spectrum on flimsy grounds, Twitter has done it all.
However, this feature is a whole new level of anti-freedom. What, pray tell me, is the point of being on a political platform like Twitter if one can not freely retort those who are ideologically opposed to him/her? A healthy debate is a two way street, and this new feature from Twitter blocks one of those streets rather shamelessly.
For instance, let us consider the recent digs which the likes of Swati Chaturvedi, Abhisar Sharma and others took on the Islamist Rana Ayyub for her following tweet:
What is left for a virus to kill in a morally corrupt nation
— Rana Ayyub (@RanaAyyub) March 16, 2020
Interestingly, Pallavi Ghosh had replied to this tweet in the following manner:
Only a mean soul would tweet this –
— pallavi ghosh (@_pallavighosh) March 16, 2020
The same Rana Ayyub was also exposed by Uttar Pradesh Police for lying through her teeth, alleging that RSS workers were attacking Muslims in Muzaffarnagar and Kanpur during the North-East Delhi riots in February this year. UP Police had demolished her with the following reply:
UP Police denies such allegations. Responsible reporting would require that you share verifiable evidence that we can look into.
— UP POLICE (@Uppolice) December 22, 2019
Here’s the catch. The likes of Rana Ayyub, and innumerable other propagandists are about to have a free run on Twitter, as they will build defensive walls for themselves by disabling the ‘reply’ feature, and thus be saved the embarrassment of being exposed.
It is also important to mention that the US is heading for election this year and this new feature from Twitter if implemented fully can play a role the outcome of the election. It is no secret that left-liberals hate President Trump from the core of their heart and would do anything in the world to see him lose.
Leftists reign supreme when it comes to propaganda. In fact, the fundamental principles of Communism are propaganda and blatant lies. The new feature serves as a tool for the propagandists to insulate themselves from all rebuttals, and ensure that nobody except those in their cosy eco-chambers can reply to their tweets. This feature will go a long way in helping those in the Leftist ecosystem to relax and scratch each other’s backs, since those in the Right cannot penetrate their ‘replies’ section even if they want to anymore. Hence, the scope of being exposed for one’s lies in one’s own tweet, no longer exists.
Fake news will see a quantum leap post the rollout of this feature. Fake news busters will not be able to reply to tweets which contain misinformation, since the user would have turned off the replies section for all except those in the coterie.
While some might argue that the ‘retweet with comment’ option is still available for people to voice their dissent, it must be remembered that the said feature limits one’s reach heavily, and is subject to the number of followers which one might have. As opposed to the reply to tweet option, ‘retweet with comment’ will not go a long way in ensuring that propaganda is busted as ruthlessly as it should be.
Last year, Twitter India was seen retweeting and promoting typically Congressi tweets, which included Rahul Gandhi’s interview with Ravish Kumar and Sreenivasan Jain, and Priyanka Vadra’s interview with Rajdeep Sardesai. Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter was seen holding a placard on his trip to India, surrounded by leftists, which read “Smash Brahminical Patriarchy”. The conclusions are for you, the reader, to derive.