Twitter Banned Project Veritas. Then, Influencers Manipulated Our Perception to Make Us Feel Censored.
What social media personalities aren't telling you matters. These lies are scaring people, and that is not OK.
Twitter suspended the accounts of Project Veritas and its founder James O’Keefe on Feb 11, 2021. Immediately following that, one can find a prime example of how social media personalities influence how we experience reality. Mr. Posobiec is modeling motivated reasoning, a bias that often leads us to misjudge situations.
Here’s how it works. We assume our pre-existing beliefs are right instead of reassessing them when we get new evidence. We seek out the facts (that O’Keefe published a video that claimed to expose Zuckerberg) that affirm what we already believe.
Stop and think. Ask yourself if there could be an alternate explanation and whether you’ve collected all evidence.
If I wanted to know the truth, I would collect all evidence and draw a conclusion from there.
What is Posobiec leaving out?
Although “veritas” is Latin for “truth,” Project Veritas has a long history of misleading people by doctoring footage, criminally in some cases.
Project Veritas has a history of releasing material in what we would call coordinated disinformation. It's clearly released with the intention of influencing the public and it works well. That is why he is not only guilty of crimes for which he was fined but why he also continues to be dangerous.
No one who stands for the truth, who believes it is wrong to lie should miss Mr. O'Keefe. Indeed, his lies have hurt us quite enough for one lifetime.
Here is the archived image from a week ago when an article with the video first appeared via the Kremlin-controlled outlet Sputnik.
Shortly after, the Post Millennial and Sputnik ran the Zuckerberg story, other popular conservative outlets began publishing it as well. Notice that the first outlet to publish an article featuring the video in North America was the Post Millenial and that is the same outlet Posobiec is sharing with his comment.
This is the same Posobiec who told the public that he was preparing for the Stop the Steal campaign—months before the election even took place.
Another outlet the Gateway Pundit, also recently banned for lying, had premonitions about election fraud, too. (If you want someone to believe something false, you have to prime them ahead of it by repeating it and triggering the illusory effect).
What’s interesting about the outlet Posobiec shared?
In 2020, the Post Millennial joined a number of hyper-partisan outlets fooled by propaganda originating from the Middle East. The fake article was written by someone who does not exist and intended to manipulate the West. It’s a testimony to the journalistic standards at the Post Millennial.
The outlet has shown itself to be unreliable repeatedly, but it also shows how one might easily get such an outlet to publish whatever narrative I wished people to believe.
What about social media seemingly targeting conservatives?
Facebook has a well-documented lean toward the political right. It has to do with money. Right-leaning groups and media outlets generate more engagement and the algorithms FB uses prioritizes that.
Don’t believe me? Let’s look at the top-performing posts from the past few days.
You get the idea, but if not feel free to check the Twitter feed. The account posts the results of a daily analysis that uses CrowdTangle.
FB makes over a billion dollars a year on anti-vaccine groups and has been caught in breach of its own policies for fiscal gain. Actual audio, in context, leaked where employees confronted Zuckerberg about his negative effect on democracy. Analysts have shown, repeatedly, that the top-performing posts on Facebook are dominated by conservatives.
Even after Jan 6th, when people were notably removed from the platform, the top-performing articles leaned right for an average of 8 out of 10 posts. That suggests that much like Twitter, the total accounts removed was less than 1%. Note that those rankings came after Jan 6th.
The experience of feeling censored may be very real, but the data fails to support that claim.
Instead, I suspect another phenomenon altogether is responsible for that shared experience. Everyone knows the scenario of the jealous person who suspects their partner of cheating. No matter what the partner does, the person’s behavior becomes evidence of what the other person already believes.
Driven by fear or worry, our ability to process information and think critically declines. When we are worried and leaders repeatedly warn us about that which we fear, we may become like the jealous partner, except about censorship.
Let’s set aside fear
The reason O'Keefe got banned is that he professionally manipulates videos for political gain. No evidence suggests it was because he exposed anything because for that to be the justification, he necessarily must have exposed something. He didn’t (Example of what exposing something within Facebook may look like).
That should be good news if you’re worried. When our perception falls so far outside of the concrete reality, we must ask if that error happened on its own. In some cases, our flawed perception is no accident.