NYT (or the Q York Times, as one pundit called it) is getting roasted for publishing an op-ed which proffers a conspiracy theory that Donald Trump is using his Twitter account to promote … conspiracy theories.
Talk about irony — a conspiracy theory attempting to expose a supposed conspiracy theory.
This seems about par for the course for the QYT lately.
The op-ed, titled, "Trump's Tweeting Isn't Crazy. It's Strategic, Typos and All," by Emily Dreyfuss, a journalist with the Harvard's Technology and Social Change Project, lands on one conspiracy theory in particular — the assertion that Joe Biden's family is corrupt.
Highlighting a tweet from October 30th, she attempts to demonstrate how Trump made a purposeful and "strategic" decision to inject an extra "i" into the hashtag #BidenCrimeFamiily, to thereby a) "use code" to fire up his "most extreme supporters," and b) subvert Twitter's "rules of social media platforms" in a effort to promote harmful misinformation.
"#BidenCrimeFamily, and the typo, is a crash course in how to rally supporters around a conspiracy theory — while neutering the attempts of social media companies to stop it. … It's effective because it's simple. The hashtag took a complicated issue with legitimate questions about Hunter Biden's business dealings with Ukraine and China — and reduced it to a slogan that could also be used to spread falsehoods about Joe Biden."
But wait, there's more:
And Mr. Trump's typo? It was surely not accidental. That extra 'i' circumvented Twitter's efforts to hide the hashtag in search results. Called #typosquatting, this tactic is often used by trolls and media manipulators to get around the rules of social media platforms."
The biggest "ah ha" in her piece isn't the fact that she's ironically putting forth a conspiracy theory to "out" what she calls a conspiracy theory. And it's not charging Trump with manipulating hashtags to get around Twitter's rules.
Who knows? Maybe it is purposeful. Lord knows Twitter does everything it can to keep him from communicating freely.
The biggest "ah ha" comes in her summation of Twitter's actions to "find ways to break the circuit of disinformation," saying Twitter tried to do just that back in October:
"While users could still tweet the hashtag #BidenCrimeFamily, Twitter stopped showing any results if the hashtag was clicked or searched. This strategy, called de-indexing, is a step short of censorship, and can be a powerful tool in reducing a hashtag's ability to spread specific disinformation and to become a rallying place for coordinating action."
Did you catch that?
" … a step short of censorship" is a "a powerful tool" in reducing "disinformation."
Maybe Dreyfuss is the one speaking code, because the above sure sounds an awful lot like code for endorsing NOTHING "short" of censorship.
But now I'm the one proffering a conspiracy theory.