“If we must have an enemy at the head of Government, let it be one whom we can oppose, and for whom we are not responsible, who will not involve our party in the disgrace of his foolish and bad measures. ” Alexander Hamilton
In 2004 the Russians passed the “blogger law” that requires “any person whose online presence draws more than 3,000 daily readers to register, disclose personal information and submit to the same regulations as mass media.” Now Three thousand daily readers is nothing in Internet scale, I have over two thousand. YouTube celebrities unknown outside of cyberspace garner 10 million views in a week. Some of them even met with President Obama.
Twitter, which has of late moved frighteningly into Orwellian censorship and Soviet-era “I denounce you” territory, just announced a process to allow anyone who doesn’t use a yellow egg icon to apply for “verified” status. That puts a nice little checkmark by your name and supplies Twitter with all kinds of tidbits about you, known as “personally identifiable information.” Like you driver’s license, your birthday, and your phone number.
Beyond making Twitter the world’s biggest hacker honeypot, trusting the social media service that caters to legions of anonymous Russian trolls (run by the Kremlin) and thousands of ISIS-related accounts with your personal data might just be too terrifying for the average Joe.
Besides, what’s the point of Twitter anyway? Anyone can get fake followers. Political figures like Trump have millions of followers. Of those 8.5 million only 70% of them are considered “real” (that means 2,530,617 fake followers as of May.) Having that little checkmark by your name, meaning you’ve received the imprimatur of authenticity by the Twitter Powers-that-be, does noting to decrease the level of trolling and tweet-bot accounts permeating the service.
Facebook is much more secure, honestly, because nobody can “friend” you without your approval. Sure, you can set up Twitter as private (many celebrities do) but per the “rules” for verified status, you have to be public. You also have to have a profile photo (sorry, no yellow eggs or clipart) And once Twitter has your credentials, they can revoke them.
Milo Yiannopoulos, Breitbart’s flamboyant British gay tech editor, who calls Trump “daddy” was once verified. Then he was stripped of his verified status. Then he was suspended, then reinstated. And as of Tuesday, @nero is no–more permanently banned from Twitter. All over a flame war with a B-list celebrity, who ran to @jack (Jack Dorsey, CEO) her safe-space protector.
But it’s even more Soviet-esque. “The decision to unperson Yiannopoulos was done in secret in some hidden Twitter office, no doubt one with cheerful Twitter blue birds on every wall. His “suspension” was retroactive: His past post –virtually all of which were once regarded as acceptable–have been vanished just as much as any problematic ones.
Right down the memory hole. Flushed into “unpersonhood,” names scrubbed from existence, never to be see again or remembered. this is like Trump banning the Washington Post because he doest’ like what they write. It’s unworthy of a free society.
So remember when you’re on Twitter: It’s perfectly okay to have 2.5 million fake accounts, populated by Russian troll farms and tweetbots following you and inciting all kinds of mayhem, starting and spreading false rumors, retweeting hate speech, and bullying african americans, Juew, Cubans, you-name-it. But it’s bad to be a conservative–whether you support Trump or Cruz.
Twitter is a toy, friends. A dangerous toy used by real bad actors, but snubbed clean on the outside to make it look safe. Don’t give them your personal information. REALLY, JUST DON’T!