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Twitter is making everyone a ‘fact-checker’ with ‘Community Notes’ rollout, but there are problems and India-specific issues that need to be discussed

Elon Musk has himself advocated for Twitter to follow the laws of India. In such a scenario, for Musk to not publicly disassociate from Bari Weiss shows that there are areas where nothing much has changed and Musk needs to do more with respect to his third largest market - India.

On December 12th, Twitter made an announcement in the hopes that it will make the discourse far more balanced on the social media platform. Community Notes was rolled out globally over the weekend, allowing users from all countries, not just the US, to enrol in the program to add ‘helpful context’ and additional information to public tweets. “Community Notes aims to create a better-informed world, by empowering people on Twitter to collaboratively add helpful notes to Tweets that might be misleading”, Twitter said.

There are 4 aspects listed by Twitter that form the basis of Community Notes, along with 4 prerequisites that the users have to fulfil in order to register as a contributor.

  1. Contributors who register with Community Notes write and rate notes.
  2. Only notes rated helpful by people from diverse perspectives appear on Tweets – “Community Notes doesn’t work by majority rules. To identify notes that are helpful to a wide range of people, notes require agreement between contributors who have sometimes disagreed in their past ratings. This helps prevent one-sided ratings”, Twitter says.
  3. Twitter does not choose what shows up, the people do by marking it helpful.
  4. Open source and transparent – promising complete transparency, Twitter says that anyone can inspect their ranking algorithm.

The prerequisites that users need to meet if they choose to enrol for this are following:

  1. No recent notice of Twitter rule violation
  2. Joined Twitter at least 6 months ago
  3. A verified phone number
  4. The phone number must be a trusted phone carrier
  5. The phone number must not be associated with any other community notes account

While Community Notes can ensure contrarian views are displayed on information that may be misleading, there are several issues with the Community Notes launch which are apparent right off the bat.

1. Only notes rated helpful by people from diverse perspectives appear on Tweets

The “diversity of perspective’ requirement essentially says that the number of people finding the note helpful will not ensure that it becomes visible under a tweet. Essentially, what is needed is that people with diverse perspectives should find the information useful. “To find notes that are helpful to the broadest possible set of people, Community Notes takes into account not only how many contributors rated a note as helpful or unhelpful, but also whether people who rated it seem to come from different perspectives“, says Twitter.

“Community Notes assesses “different perspectives” entirely based on how people have rated notes in the past; Community Notes does not ask about or use any other information to do this (e.g. demographics like location, gender, or political affiliation, or data from Twitter such as follows or Tweets). This is based on the intuition that Contributors who tend to rate the same notes similarly are likely to have more similar perspectives while contributors who rate notes differently are likely to have different perspectives. If people who typically disagree in their ratings agree that a given note is helpful, it’s probably a good indicator the note is helpful to people from different points of view”, Twitter says.

It says that this approach has yielded benefits since it becomes apparent that people are capable of having nuanced views and secondly, it helps community note users to evaluate the data since it works wholly on public information.

It almost feels like Twitter is falling, all over again, for idealistic versions of the world that seldom exist. We live in times where basic facts about biological sex has been disputed by the global Left, which has essentially asserted that men can give birth to babies, put on a dress, slap on some lipstick and claim that they are women even though they have a penis. Now, let’s suppose there is a tweet about how important conforming to pronouns is and how biological men can give birth to babies. Now, let us suppose that one community note says talks about research that summarily rejects woke gender politics and the premise that men can legitimately call themselves women. How does Twitter expect people of “diverse perspectives” to find this information relevant? Are the wokes and leftists going to concede that the community note adds “valuable information and context”? Certainly not. Therefore, the people to find this information relevant are most likely to belong to a certain spectrum of political ideology. If such basic facts can’t be agreed upon, one has to wonder what happens when more nuanced subjects are involved.

In the Indian context, there are several contentious subjects that will never find consensus among opposing ideologies. The fact that one side chooses to ignore thousands of documented cases where Muslim men target Hindu women and the other side talks about the unbridled Jihad against Hindus is a subject that will find no consensus. In fact, let us for a moment forget about recent conflicts. There are Left “intellectuals” who are dishonestly whitewashing the history of persecution, shamelessly and brazenly. She paints one of the most tyrannical Muslim rulers – Aurangzeb – as a benevolent king despite documented cases in Muslim history about his atrocities against Hindus. She has also tried to claim that Hindus were not persecuted during the Portuguese inquisition, again, despite documented historical evidence.

With the Global Left waging a war against the truth, hoping for consensus on facts from “diverse perspectives” is a pipe dream that is likely to play out badly, only furthering the Left’s agenda.

2. No recent notice of Twitter rule violation

Recently, Elon Musk has been releasing “Twitter Files” which essentially contain tranches of internal communication, proving Twitter’s bias towards conservatives. In one of these tranches, it was proven beyond doubt that Twitter selectively targeted conservative voices and favoured the Left.

The internal communications exposed how Republicans and conservative voices were censored, based on the whims and fancies of Twitter’s top executives. They revealed how a small group of Twitter employees controlled political discourse on the social media platform and sided with the Democrats.

The ‘Twitter Files 3.0’ also showed how the content moderation team came up with one excuse or the other to justify their vicious attempts at censorship. 

The censorship of conservatives is, of course, not just limited to the USA. One recalls Vijaya Gadde and Jack Dorsey travelling to India and holding a particularly offensive poster that was designed to offend. In fact, in an interview with Tim Pool, Vijaya Gadde specifically admitted that the “context was different” insinuating that she was censoring conservatives in India (I use the word conservatives loosely here because the ideological nuances are different in the USA and in India).

Given that these are proven, undisputed facts, it is safe to assume that “recent Twitter violations” in several cases are largely a result of Twitter’s bias and selective censorship. Given that Elon Musk is aware of this, to keep this as an impediment to users registering for community notes, he is essentially ensuring that droves of conservatives from across the globe are unable to register and contribute to the new feature, thereby yet again turning it into a fiefdom of the Left. This, coupled with the fact that “diverse consensus” is needed for community notes to be visible, the only possible outcome is that conservatives, censored, shadow banned and vilified, are now also going to have Left perspective “community notes” under their tweets with little option of even registering for this program.

3. The phone number must be a trusted phone carrier

This, of course, is a perfectly reasonable restriction. However, there seems to be a problem since no Indian carrier has been listed as a “trusted phone carrier”. Airtel, Jio and Vodafone do not feature in the list and therefore, Indian users are unable to register for Community Notes.

This issue is not India-specific, however. In many nations, users are not being able to sign up for Community Notes because their phone carriers are not “trusted”.

Twitter users from Poland, London, Belgium and South Africa from what we could discern so far.

However, according to Elon Musk’s court filing, he had expressed displeasure over Twitter’s conduct in India given that India is the third largest market for the social media giant in the world.

Musk’s court filing against Twitter before his takeover

There were several other mentions of Twitter’s conduct in India and a detailed report can be read here.

With Elon Musk believing that a market like India cannot be ignored and that Twitter’s battle put the company’s interest at risk, one has to wonder how Twitter under Musk could ignore India completely and not have even one carrier included in the “trusted carrier” list, thereby, excluding its third largest market from enrolling to the Community Notes feature.

After the takeover of Twitter, Elon Musk has been focusing on “preserving freedom of speech in America”. To that end, he has released internal communication that proved the severe bias of the platform that ended up affecting their elections and even censored the sitting President of the United States of America on the basis of flimsy, made-up excuses.

Whether Elon Musk likes to believe it or not, Twitter, while it is not a private company, is an entity that affects individuals and civil liberties the world over. In India specifically, Twitter’s conduct has been less than transparent. With rampant shadow bans, suspensions, and even politically motivated statements being passed by past executives, Twitter has actively tried to interfere in India’s internal democracy, while suppressing the voices of those who oppose the politically left narrative that they seem to have preferred. Little has changed since the Musk takeover. Musk seems to be focussing his entire energy on the USA, which is understandable, however, has failed to pay any attention to India, which is its third-largest market. From suspensions to shadow bans and now, even with Community Notes, India is in no better position on the social media platform than it was when the Woke Left controlled the platform.

What is worse is that people who have been chosen by him are now peddling the same lies perpetuated by the Left. Barry Weiss, editor of The Free Press, who has been trusted with reporting the Twitter files today quoted a New York Time article which peddled vicious lies against PM Modi.

On December 12 (local time), Bari Weiss, Editor of The Free Press, published the fifth instalment of ‘Twitter Files‘ explaining how former President Donald Trump was de-platformed from Twitter. While giving examples of leaders from around the world that did not get banned from the platform even after instigating people, Weiss tried to insinuate that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was one of them.

While Twitter made these claims, it is pertinent to note that some of the accounts that were withheld or some content of the accounts were withheld by GoI orders include alleged journalist Rana Ayyub, pro-Khalistani author Aman Bali, pro-Khalistani activist Ravi Singh who is also the founder of Khalsa Aid and more. In these cases, the Indian government issued take-down notices because it affected national security and content that incited violence or terrorism within the country cannot be broadcast according to the laws of the land. 

Further, as mentioned earlier, Elon Musk has himself advocated for Twitter to follow the laws of India. In such a scenario, for Musk to not publicly disassociate from Bari Weiss shows that there are areas where nothing much has changed and Musk needs to do more with respect to his third largest market – India.

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