Category Archives: Censorship

How Fauci and Collins Shut Down Covid Debate

I have absolutely NO CONFIDENCE in the national medical establishment anymore. They have had two years to get honest with the American people, and still it raw authoritarianism. Americans need to stop it. mrossol

WSJ  12/22/21   Editorial Board

In public, Anthony Fauci and Francis Collins urge Americans to “follow the science.” In private, the two sainted public-health officials schemed to quash dissenting views from top scientists. That’s the troubling but fair conclusion from emails obtained recently via the Freedom of Information Act by the American Institute for Economic Research.

The tale unfolded in October 2020 after the launch of the Great Barrington Declaration, a statement by Harvard’s Martin Kulldorff, Oxford’s Sunetra Gupta and Stanford’s Jay Bhattacharya against blanket pandemic lockdowns. They favored a policy of what they called “focused protection” of high-risk populations such as the elderly or those with medical conditions. Thousands of scientists signed the declaration—if they were able to learn about it. We tried to give it some elevation on these pages.

That didn’t please the lockdown consensus enforced by public-health officials and the press. Dr. Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health until Sunday, sent an email on Oct. 8, 2020, to Dr. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

“This proposal from the three fringe epidemiologists . . . seems to be getting a lot of attention – and even a co-signature from Nobel Prize winner Mike Leavitt at Stanford. There needs to be a quick and devastating published take down of its premises,” Dr. Collins wrote. “Is it underway?”

These researchers weren’t fringe and neither was their opposition to quarantining society. But in the panic over the virus, these two voices of science used their authority to stigmatize dissenters and crush debate. A week after his email, Dr. Collins spoke to the Washington Post about the Great Barrington Declaration. “This is a fringe component of epidemiology,” he said. “This is not mainstream science. It’s dangerous.” His message spread and the alternative strategy was dismissed in most precincts.

Dr. Fauci replied to Dr. Collins that the takedown was underway. An article in Wired, a tech-news site, denied there was any scientific divide and argued lockdowns were a straw man—they weren’t coming back. If only it were true. The next month cases rose and restrictions returned.

Dr. Fauci also emailed an article from the Nation, a left-wing magazine, and his staff sent him several more. The emails suggest a feedback loop: The media cited Dr. Fauci as an unquestionable authority, and Dr. Fauci got his talking points from the media. Facebook censored mentions of the Great Barrington Declaration. This is how groupthink works.

On CBS last month, Dr. Fauci said Republicans who criticize him are “really criticizing science, because I represent science. That’s dangerous.” He isn’t “science.” And it’s also dangerous for scientific officials to mobilize to quash dissent, without which it’s easy to make tragic mistakes. A scientific debate over pandemic policy was and still is in the public interest, especially during a once-in-a-century plague.

Focused protection of nursing homes and other high-risk populations remains the policy road not taken during the pandemic. Perhaps this strategy wouldn’t have prevailed if a debate had been allowed. But it isn’t enough to repeat, as Dr. Collins did on Fox News Sunday, that advocates are “fringe epidemiologists who really did not have the credentials,” and that “hundreds of thousands of people would have died if we had followed that strategy.”

More than 800,000 Americans have died as much of the country followed the strategy of Drs. Collins and Fauci, and that’s not counting the other costs in lost livelihoods, shuttered businesses, untreated illnesses, mental illness from isolation, and the incalculable anguish of seeing loved ones die alone without the chance for a family to say good-bye.

Rather than try to manipulate public opinion, the job of health officials is to offer their best scientific advice. They shouldn’t act like politicians or censors, and when they do, they squander the public’s trust.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/fauci-collins-emails-great-barrington-declaration-covid-pandemic-lockdown-11640129116?mod=hp_opin_pos_1

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The Case of Tennis Star Peng Shuai Reveals the Real Purpose of China’s Censorship

WIRED, 12/5/2021

“Even if I court disaster like an egg against stone or a moth to a flame, I will tell the truth about you and me.” So wrote Chinese doubles tennis star Peng Shuai. Her post lasted 30 minutes on Weibo before it was censored, and her name rendered unsearchable.

Though Peng had done the unheard of—accusing former vice premier Zhang Gaoli of forcing her into a sexual relationship—this is not China’s only high-profile story of sexual misconduct in recent years. The removal of Peng’s posts comes on the heels of the case earlier this year of scriptwriter Zhou Xiaoxuan, also known as Xianzi. Zhou’s own accusation, which originally went viral on social media in 2014, was against Zhu Jun, a news anchor for one of China’s main state-run channels and a household name. She took Zhu to court, asking 50,000 RMB (about $7,600 USD) in damages and a public apology for groping her in a dressing room during an interview. This past September, the judge ultimately decided that Zhou’s accusations had insufficient proof. Once again, Zhou took to social media, this time to criticize how the judiciary treated her legal team and detailing how she was barred from introducing evidence of the assault. Her social media accounts were subsequently shuttered.

Peng’s and Zhou’s experiences are connected by their efforts to share their sexual assault stories and the support both received. Their respective hashtags were not mere trends, but also catalysts for the formation of communities connected by anguishing experiences of sexual harassment. Discussion of Zhou’s case online attracted attention and encouraged women to speak up, share her story, and find solidarity with one another. (Zhou herself was encouraged to speak up back in 2014 after seeing a friend posting a story of sexual harassment.) Meanwhile, Peng’s disappearance spurred frantic shares of the post detailing what she had gone through. International stars, including Naomi Osaka, Serena Williams, and Steve Simon, the head of the Women’s Tennis Association, trended the hashtag #WhereisPengShuai.

 

After Peng’s and Zhou’s stories came to light, state censors aimed to erase any evidence of wrongdoing and preserve the reputations of the powerful men at the core of Chinese state and political culture. In Zhou’s case, censors went after friends and well-wishers; a 300-member WeChat group that had grown in the wake of her court case suddenly vanished. Peng Shuai’s post prompted takedowns of not only her name and Zhang Gaoli’s name, but also temporarily the terms “tennis” and “melon,” a Chinese slang term for snacking while watching controversial or dramatic events. Moreover, the speed of the takedowns in the days since Peng’s post was taken down encouraged self-censorship.

The reception of these stories and the treatment of those who supported them show that censorship in China is more sophisticated than merely suppressing content that violates policies and guidance.

 

Most critical analysis of Chinese social media censorship focuses on the increasing number of words, phrases, or topics censored or filtered. But the function of censorship is far broader than this piecemeal approach suggests, encompassing also the destruction of online spaces and communities. Censors don’t focus solely on keywords. Organizational capacity and the ability to assemble in virtual spaces are key factors in how the party assesses political risk, and in how law enforcement in general decide how to throttle activities by groups outside of mainstream politics.

When civic spaces are closed and groups deleted, individuals with few or no connections outside of social media have backlogs of resources and connections taken away. In the case of WeChat specifically—which users in China utilize for chats, payments, blog publishing, travel, and other digital record keeping—a suspension or ban cuts a user off from many everyday communication and life tools.

 

This is not about topics. This censorship is fundamentally about the dismantling of social resources. Content takedowns not only address the shorter-term problem of text or images that government actors want to remove, they also weaken activists’ ability to rebuild by isolating them and dampening their ability to create new resources. Censors can ensure that these groups stay silent. Conceptualizing censorship in a solely piecemeal way neglects the damage that destroying the foundations of organizing and civic society components can do.

Chinese censors have not operated using content- or keyword-only censorship for nearly a decade, finding early on that the social nature of social media was key to modernizing and maintaining China’s Great Firewall. Xi Jinping himself characterized cyberspace in a 2016 speech as a “spiritual garden” for information innovation and cybersecurity. He claimed that this conceptual garden has “a clear sky, and crisp air with a good ecology in cyberspace conforms to the people’s interests. A pestilent atmosphere with a deteriorating ecology in cyberspace, in turn, does not conform to the people’s interests.” Unsaid but key to his analogy was what, and who, would have to be pruned and removed.

Communist Party internal literature also acknowledges the power of digital social networks beyond banning specific keywords. In preliminary studies of community environments on Weibo that led to increased control over social influencers, researchers identified the environment as a new frontier in civic spaces. Party scholars wrote: “Because cyberspace has no systemic barriers or binding ideological constraints … different classes, areas, and types of media can exchange, integrate, or confront ideas, making the public opinion environment increasingly complex.”

Topic-based bans do remain an integral part of censorship, barring mention of historically taboo events like the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre and content published by banned media outlets like The New York Times, Washington Post, and BBC. However, after the rise of bloggers and social media influencers in the  late ’00s, the public opinion environment was also precisely targeted by campaigns meant to curtail influencer impact and the capacity of nongovernment thought leaders to build community. 

In theory, social media users with large followings were private citizens. However, the mid-2010s handed them a choice: They could serve and support the politics of Chinese authorities, or they could face discipline by law enforcement and the dismantling of their communities. In 2013, amidst a flurry of blogger crackdowns, novelist Hao Qun summarized the trend aptly: “They want to sever those relationships and make the relationship on Weibo atomized, just like relations in Chinese society, where everyone is just a solitary atom.”

By the time Peng appeared in a November 2021 video call with IOC chair Thomas Bach, the Weibo and WeChat environments had virtually purged discussions with offending keywords or references to an earlier, clumsier cover-up email sent to the Women’s Tennis Association.

In Zhou’s case, censors assessing organizational risk were likely concerned by the number of supporters, as well as their ability to mobilize actions in the physical world, including sending supplies to those holding vigils outside the courthouse where her case was evaluated. The collective characteristics of their support, too, was cause for concern.

 

Silencing organizers and victims of sexual assault is one of many tactics used to weaken the capacity to assemble cases and public opinion campaigns. The playbook of making communities taboo and isolating politically inconvenient views spans a wide breadth of groups, from feminists to Marxist labor organizers to citizen journalists who covered the handling of the 2020 Covid-19 outbreak in Wuhan.

Though Zhou has not received prison time or been arrested for her case, the monitoring of her activity itself is meant to put pressure on her to tone down or silence her calls for justice, and stop her story from spreading. The closure of her account likely sets an example for her supporters as to what is verboten in terms of discussion or commentary. In speaking about the aftermath, Zhou was determined in her appeal but visibly shaken by the takedowns of her posts. Though she said she would try to pursue the legal procedures to the end, she was stunned by the sudden and abrupt silencing of her accounts. “It felt like everything that I did was a crime,” she recounted in an interview with The Guardian. “This is a torturous feeling.”

Like Zhou, feminist activist Lü Pin was not left unscathed by the sudden shutdown of Feminist Voices, the organization she cofounded. The group’s closure demonstrates that Chinese censors may keep working in perpetuity while the communications tools of activists and people with stories against the grain, like Peng, have their online existence hang by a thread. “Because what the government does is to isolate us from one another,” the activist explains, “therefore, we must connect with each other, and moreover, we must create and spread the alternative knowledge of resistance. This is what feminism is good at, after all.”

Chinese censorship and platform maintenance is multifaceted and easy to replicate in part or whole. The subsequent impact of censorship can manifest in longer-term ways beyond the stifling of a specific topic at a certain point in time.

Peng Shuai’s censorship over Chinese social media continues, with topics based on her name and story still banned on Weibo and WeChat publishing platforms. Though the IOC feels confident that she is safe, the systemic changes of the acts of censorship continue to reverberate online, for her and for other individuals with #MeToo stories bursting at the seams.

As it turns out, remembering the politically inconvenient is a risky thing. To help others to remember is even more dangerous.

 

https://www.wired.com/story/peng-shuai-censorship-china/?utm_source=pocket-newtab

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Will New Zealand ever escape Zero Covid?

Most of what Mr Chodor is hooie. Not sure if he’s ever actually been at a “anti-mandate” protest. What his piece does is highlight the extremes to which progressives in power will go in total disregard for “constitutional rights” that have been guaranteed for generations. And then to have the gall to castigate those who push back FOR those rights. mrossol

UnHerd  12/2/2021 by Tom Chodor

As Auckland — home to a third of New Zealand’s population — prepares to exit its 100-plus day lockdown on Friday, there has been little celebration or fanfare. Instead, the population is cautious and guarded; worries abound about further cases and deaths once the country opens up.

The mood is a far cry from the breathless commentary during the first 18 months of the pandemic, when New Zealand was held up as an extraordinary case of pandemic management, contrasted with the disasters in Europe, the UK and US. Indeed, the country’s tough border closures, skilful contact tracing, tough lockdown restrictions, commitment to Zero Covid and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s empathic and inclusive leadership were lauded as a model for the rest of the world.

 
 

And yet, contrary to ill-informed hot takes half a world away, New Zealand’s approach had its merits. Following an initial lockdown last year, the country recorded only 1,500 cases and 22 deaths from Covid-19, and succeeded in eliminating the virus in the community. Importantly, this was achieved without significant restrictions on individual liberties or substantial cost to the economy. While the rest of the world has spent the past two years in crisis, New Zealanders have lived remarkably normal lives. Undoubtedly, there was some luck involved, given New Zealand’s isolation from the rest of the world. But, as its neighbour Australia illustrated, isolation is no guarantee of success.

However, this New Zealand model came with two important caveats. First, the cost of normality enjoyed by citizens at home was paid for by its citizens abroad. The country’s harsh border regime, which allocated a limited number of places in a 14-day hotel quarantine system, meant that thousands were stranded abroad, unable to return home, often left facing destitution. Likewise, while the economy thrived, the cost was borne by the tourism industry — 18% of the economy — whose reliance on international visitors left it on the verge of collapse.

 
More from this author

 

Inside Melbourne’s eternal lockdown

By Tom Chodor

Secondly, the New Zealand model could never be sustained long-term, once it became clear that global elimination of the virus was unlikely. As such, there was a need for an exit strategy, which seemed to centre on vaccinating the whole population before the virus got in. This was always a gamble and a race against time; one which Ardern lost this August, when a cautious re-opening of the border to Australia led to the arrival of the Delta variant, and sparked a new outbreak.

Despite the fact no country had managed to eliminate Delta, the Government reverted to its tried and tested approach, closing the limited openings at the border, announcing a snap lockdown, and re-committing to eliminating the virus. But this time, it didn’t work.

While the outbreak was contained to Auckland, the key pillars of New Zealand’s model — contact tracing and tough lockdown restrictions severely curtailing people’s movements — proved no match for the infectiousness of the Delta strain. Case numbers refused to budge, totalling more than 8,400 for the current outbreak, while deaths have nearly doubled to 43. Admitting defeat, the Government formally abandoned elimination as a strategy in October. Nevertheless, Auckland’s “snap lockdown” — meant to last for two weeks — has now dragged on for over 100 days, with predictable consequences for children’s schooling, mental health and the economy.

While the situation still compares very favourably to many parts of the world, New Zealand’s sheen has started to come off. Contrary to its claims of exceptionalism, throughout the current Delta outbreak, it has shown itself to be a normal country just like every other: faced with the same dilemmas, failures, trade-offs and divisions when it comes to dealing with the pandemic. What’s more, it hasn’t necessarily dealt with them any better.

Take vaccination. One consequence of the New Zealand model was complacency when it came to the roll-out, with many convinced that the country could take its time while the pandemic raged elsewhere. As a result, less than 20% of the population was fully vaccinated when Delta arrived in August, leaving it unprepared for the outbreak. In response, the government tied the lifting of lockdowns to the vaccination rate, setting a very high target of 90% before restrictions would be eased.

 
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New Zealand’s Zero Covid delusion

By Tom Chodor

Still, while this was eventually abandoned, 86% of New Zealanders are now double-jabbed, making it one of the most vaccinated countries in the world. As we also saw in Australia, nothing concentrates the mind when it comes to vaccinations like a prolonged lockdown.

This is not to say that the issue hasn’t been divisive. Behind the high overall rates, there remain significant pockets of unvaccinated people in New Zealand, especially in the regions, and among the indigenous Maori population. Higher rates of poverty and disadvantage, and low levels of trust in the Government mean that only 68% of Maori are fully vaccinated, despite repeated efforts to roll out culturally specific and targeted programmes.

Meanwhile, the high rates of poor health outcomes have left the Maori more vulnerable to the virus, leading to demands that any re-opening be delayed until vaccination rates exceed the rest of the country. The Maori Party has been warning of a “modern genocide” if lockdowns are lifted while the virus remains in the community, with some local iwi (tribes) threatening to set up roadblocks to keep Aucklanders from visiting their regions once freedom of travel is restored.

More broadly, despite the high vaccination rates, the Government has not shied from introducing controversial vaccine mandates. With the country slowly opening up, Ardern has described vaccination as “the golden ticket to freedom“, requiring vaccine passes to enter most workplaces, hospitality, retail and entertainment venues. At the moment, unvaccinated people can do little more than shop for essentials, creating a two-tier society and sparking bitter conflicts. The Government has doubled down, stressing the mandate will continue into next year, and showing little sympathy for the unvaccinated minority.

This, in turn, has sparked protests for the first time in the pandemic. When the current outbreak started, commentators mocked a lone demonstrator at an anti-lockdown protest in Auckland. Since then, crowds have grown, with thousands recently marching across the country against lockdowns and the vaccine mandates. While they have not matched the numbers or violence recently seen in Europe, these protests bring together a similar constellation of far-Right agitators, conspiracy theorists, wellness gurus and ordinary citizens increasingly marginalised and excluded from society. It’s part of a wider fragmentation taking hold in the country, with support for the Government’s handling of the pandemic dropping from 80% to 46%. Ardern’s personal popularity has also declined to 34%, while more people now think the country is heading in the wrong direction for the first time since 2008.

This is a far cry from the ‘Team of Five Million’ approach championed by the Government in the first 18 months of the pandemic. And Ardern seems fully aware of this: the Government recently rushed through new laws to lock in many of the draconian restrictions on the unvaccinated, bypassing the usual means of oversight and scrutiny, in a move labelled “a constitutional disgrace” by legal experts.

 
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What’s the point of Australia?

By Shahar Hameiri and Tom Chodor

In short, over the course of the past four months, many of the key features of New Zealand’s pandemic response have been found wanting. Yet old habits die hard. While the rest of the world has largely opened up and travel has begun to stage a comeback, New Zealand’s plan for reopening its borders announced last week remains extremely cautious.

Fully vaccinated citizens will only be able to return from Australia from mid-January, provided that they quarantine at home for seven days. This will be extended to other countries in mid-February, while foreign nationals will not be allowed to enter until the end of next April. There is no detail yet on how long the seven-day quarantine requirement will remain in place, and the tourism sector has reacted with dismay, describing the plan as a “body blow” that will delay its recovery until 2023. For a country approaching a 90% vaccination rate, this seems needlessly restrictive, a relic of the Zero Covid mentality, rather than the long-promised exit strategy.

And this was before the emergence of the new Omicron variant. Here, New Zealand has been depressingly ordinary, following many other countries in shutting the border to non-citizens from the nine ‘high risk’ countries in southern Africa, and holding out the possibility of delaying the border reopening plan. While labelled as ‘temporary’ and intended to buy time to learn more about the new variant, this response highlights the continuing reluctance to finally begin living with Covid.

As the pandemic enters its third year, New Zealand might end up with the worst of both worlds: facing the same problems as everyone else, but persisting with an unsustainable Zero Covid approach to them.

https://unherd.com/2021/12/will-new-zealand-ever-escape-zero-covid/?tl_inbound=1&tl_groups[0]=18743&tl_period_type=3&mc_cid=af947e1540&mc_eid=0ff3e7ea29

And some comments:

Paul Smithson
8 hours ago
 

“these protests bring together a similar constellation of far-Right agitators, conspiracy theorists, wellness gurus and ordinary citizens”

Have ‘journalists’ who write such utter garbage actually been to one of the protests.

It doesn’t matter whether you agree or disagree with such protests. What should concern everyone is that the media is constantly lying about things. If they are willing to lie about the attendees at protests what else are they lying about? And why are they lying?

The truth is that 99% or more of the people attending these protests throughtout the world (they’re happening pretty much everywhere) are compassionate, kind, freedom loving souls.

There are people of all skin colours, sexualities, socio-demographic backgrounds and political persuasions. Reggae music is the most heard genre of music and at many you’ll hear African drums and you’ll even see African dancers at some.

The fact that the media will outright lie about this, and the police will go out of their way (instructed by their bosses I assume) to try to stir up conflict for the media, really does make one wonder what on earth is going on.

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Josh Woods
3 hours ago
 
Reply to  Paul Smithson

I agree Paul this is a condescending label. I’m a libertarian leftie in his mid-20s and I wholeheartedly support this worldwide resistance even when the world’s opinion was still in Oz & NZ’s favor, because I already saw and even 1st hand experienced(I lived in Oz till last March) the mainstream approach’s colossal collateral damage amongst those sidelined by mainstream public discourse, eg domestic violence victims, people with health conditions living alone(like myself) deprived of access to the help they need). There are eminent scientists who disagree with the covid orthodoxy, just that few evaded censorship of the scientists hijacking the whole medical/health science community, including the authors of the Great Barrington Declaration(everyone go sign it!!), which was first trashed upon, but now proven to be the better approach that most countries didn’t follow.
So you see, the diversity of political views, ethnicities, professions, ages, sexualities, beliefs, socio-demographic backgrounds and all walks of life among this Great Revolt has shown far more unity, love and solidarity than those finger-wagging Hollywood celebs & establishment talking heads who proclaim that “We’re all in this together.” In other words, the authoritarian left(along with some authoritarian right wingers, eg BoJo & Dominic Cummings of the UK, Scumo & Gladys B. on Oz) has alienated themselves from everyone else in their grandiose, self-righteous collective narcissism!

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Francis MacGabhann  [Among the best. mrossol]
5 hours ago
 

We keep getting bogged down in the specifics of individual countries’ reaction to covid and arguments about this or that variant. We’re arguing tactics when we’ve abandoned all attempts at strategy. Here’s the skinny —

1 – It’s a virus. It will constantly mutate. Vaccines won’t stop it, quarantines won’t stop it and lockdowns won’t stop it.

2 – It has struck at the lowest ebb of western civilization, ie, when the assumptions of the political left are completely encultured into the practices and dogmas of every institution, political, legal and, unfortunately, medical in the west.

3 – These assumptions are promethean, ie, they proceed from the belief that absolutely everything is controllable by the wit of man. They are also utterly inflexible. When they are proven wrong, that just means we haven’t done them enough, we need to double down.

4 – They are based in the belief that the individual is worthless in himself, all that matters is the collective. The omelette, not the egg. Consequently, they are inhumane, which is why Ardern had no problem a) taking it upon herself to lock thousands of Kiwis out of their own country and b) leaving them in destitution.

5 – Leftists believe in nothing greater than themselves. It follows then that there is no transcendent source of strength to carry people through rough times.

So, if you have no fortitude to face into the trials of life, if you think the world is perfectible but isn’t perfect, and if you’re dogma isn’t working but you think it should so you just keep doing the same thing over and over regardless of the fact that you keep getting the same result, then you’ve got a perfect storm of stupidity and all it takes is a virus that wouldn’t have even slowed down our grandparents to shut down the world.

Our strategy should be to stop being such physical cowards and take our share of misfortunes in defence of our basic liberties, and to stop trading those liberties to the likes of Ardern in return for a safety she cannot deliver. I’m not even sure she cares enough to deliver it if she could.

====

 

 

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‘Why Should I Distinguish Between White People and Racists?’

Twitter’s New CEO Parag Agrawal: ‘Why Should I Distinguish Between White People and Racists?’

I don’t think Twitter is the platform for any real political discussion. Twitter will “censor” speak they don’t agree with. mrossol

By Breitbart 11/30/2021

Incoming Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal, who will shortly replace Jack Dorsey as head of the far-left social media company, uncritically repeated a quote in 2010 suggesting that there should be no need to “distinguish between white people and racists.”

“If they are not gonna make a distinction between muslims and extremists, then why should I distinguish between white people and racists,” tweeted Agrawal, in quotes. It is unclear who he was quoting.

While anti-white racism has become common in many U.S. institutions, including its top corporations, Agrawal made his comment in 2010 — years before the Black Lives Matter movement would arrive to push American corporations even further towards the left on issues of race.

Relatively unknown in Silicon Valley until now, Agrawal was announced as Jack Dorsey’s successor shortly after the Twitter co-founder announced he would step down from his role after a six-year stint as its CEO.

Dorsey, who presided over the company’s shift from what his predecessor called “the free speech wing of the free speech party” to a platform that censors conservatives on a regular basis, including the banning of President Trump, has often been denounced by conservatives.

Relatively unknown in Silicon Valley until now, Agrawal was announced as Jack Dorsey’s successor shortly after the Twitter co-founder announced he would step down from his role after a six-year stint as its CEO.

Dorsey, who presided over the company’s shift from what his predecessor called “the free speech wing of the free speech party” to a platform that censors conservatives on a regular basis, including the banning of President Trump, has often been denounced by conservatives.

Yet close observers of Twitter’s internal politics, including its former employees, have observed that the real engine of censorship inside the company was not Dorsey himself, but the “trust and safety” department, which sets censorship policies for the company.

The “trust and safety” department became increasingly influential as the media pushed for more social media censorship of conservatives. In 2020, Politico ran a gushing profile of trust and safety global lead Vijaya Gadde, portraying her as the driving force behind the policies that censored Donald Trump.

Agrawal appears to have similar priorities. In an interview with the MIT Technology Review last year, while he was CTO of the company, Agrawal said free speech was no longer a focus for the company.

“Our role is not to be bound by the First Amendment, but our role is to serve a healthy public conversation and our moves are reflective of things that we believe lead to a healthier public conversation,” said Agrawal.

“The kinds of things that we do about this is, focus less on thinking about free speech, but thinking about how the times have changed.”

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I'm serious… usually. (Martin Rossol)