Social media giant Twitter is already known to have a left-liberal bias, but the same has intensified over the last one year, during the US presidential elections. The bias was most prominent in a new policy by Twitter to flag tweets spreading wrong information, apparently in an effort to prevent the spread of fake news.
While it is true that social media plays a big role in the wide distribution of fake news, and it is laudable that Social Media platforms have started pointing out fake news, what Twitter did was completely influenced by its bias. While flagging of contentious tweets by US Donald Trump by Twitter was regular news ahead of US elections, no such news was heard about any action taken on any controversial claim by the Joe Biden camp. In fact, even when counting for several states were not complete, Twitter had wrongly claimed that the official result of the US presidential election was out, fact-checking a claim by Trump that he has won.
Now, two incidents over the last few days reiterate the well-known bias of Twitter. On Tuesday, Twitter flagged a tweet by BJP IT cell head Amit Malviya as ‘manipulated media’. Malviya had posted a video to claim that an elderly farmer, who was allegedly beaten by a cop during the ongoing farmer protests, was not actually beaten. Referring to images circulating on social media, where a cop was seen raising his stick to hit the farmer. But the video posted by Malviya indicated that the cop may have missed the farmer, and he had flung the stick in the air.
Twitter cited fact-checks by Islamist site Alt News and Leftist site Boom Live to claim that Malviya had posted a short and edited video, and the farmer was actually hit by another cop. According to “Synthetic and manipulated media policy” of Twitter, manipulated media means media (videos, audio, and images) that have been deceptively altered or fabricated. But the fact is that, even in the longer video, it is not sure whether the other cop also managed to hit the farmer or not. While the farmer may have been hit by cops during the protests, the video is not conclusive proof of the same.
On the other hand, a clearly fake tweet by a prominent Chinese official remains untagged by Twitter as fake, underlying the bias in implementing the fake news and manipulated media policy of the microblogging platform.
On Monday, Lijian Zhao, the spokesperson of Foreign Ministry of the hHinese govt, had posted a digitally morphed image to claim that it showed an Australian soldier beheading a teen boy in Afghanistan.
Australian govt had strongly objected to the tweet, and PM Scott Morrison had demanded an apology from the Chinese govt for posting a fake image to defame Australia. Mr Morrison had also informed that the Australian government has formally requested the Chinese government to delete the post and contacted Twitter to have the post removed.
But despite the request by the Australian govt, Twitter has declined to remove the post, and remains on the platform. Moreover, despite it is known that it is a fake image, Twitter has not added any tag to it saying that it is fake or manipulated.
It may be noted that even the creator of the image has acknowledged that it is not a genuine photo. The image used by Lijian Zhao was originally posted on Chinese micro blogging site Weibo, where a user with the username Crowd Kylin had posted it.
After Australia objected to the image, he posted a message saying “I heard ScoMo had big problem with my work.” The fact that user referred to the image as “my work” proves that the image was created by the user, and it is not a photograph.
But despite such evidence, and an official request from the Australian government, Twitter refuses to delete the tweet containing the fake image, and also refuses to tag it as fake or manipulated. Thereby, Twitter is clearly legitimising a fake tweet because it was posted by an official from Communist China. This shows that Twitter’s decisions are based on its ideological stand, not on pure facts.