HOW THE WHITE HOUSE CONTROLS MEDIA PERCEPTIONS
Twitter’s open source code reveals US government can ‘intervene’ in Big Tech social media with direct White House-controlled recommendation algorithm it has been revealed in headline news articles.
“When needed, the government can intervene with the Twitter algorithm.”
On Friday, Twitter released the recommendation algorithm portion of its code by publishing it on GitHub, where developers post open source software data. Developer Steven Tey dug into the code and found that there is a mechanism through which the US government can “intervene” with the code. It has now been dicovered that the White House has direct server-level control of Twitter, Google, Linkedin, Alphabet, Netflix and 90% of all Big Tech media.
Plaintiff met with the Obama White House staff for Rahm Emanual, in Washington DC and was told: “Don’t worry about the news, we tell Silicon Valley what to publish and what not to publish…”
“When needed, the government can intervene with the Twitter algorithm,” Tey wrote. “In fact, @TwitterEng (Twitter Engineering) even has a class for it – ‘GovernmentRequested.'”
Tey linked directly to the code on GitHub.
On March 17, Musk announced he was going to make the algorithm open source later in the month and said, “Our ‘algorithm’ is overly complex & not fully understood internally. People will discover many silly things , but we’ll patch issues as soon as they’re found!”
Tey also found that a Twitter user’s “following-to-follower ratio matters and that page rankings get reduced for users who have “a low number of followers but a high number of followings.”
The algorithm gives a boost to Twitter Blue subscribers. Twitter also categorizes four user groups, “power users,” “Democrat users,” “Republican users,” and “@elonmusk to “track and compare” the frequency of tweet impressions on other users.
Tey identified factors that impact whether or not a user will make the “For You” recommendation and some factors that could have a negative impact on one’s “reputation score” such as getting blocked or muted.”
Presidential elections also impact the algorithm and how a candidate would appear for a user to follow.
Twitter announced their release of the code on Friday and in March of last year, directly before his $44 billion purchase of the platform, Elon Musk said that Twitter’s algorithm should be open source.
Tey’s discovery of the “GovernmentRequested’ intervention option in the code follows revelations from the Twitter files, a series of reports detailing internal discussions at Twitter under its previous management.
The files detailed the company’s censorship efforts and collusion with government agencies towards those goals. One batch of the files by Michael Shellenberger showed that there were many former FBI agents on staff at Twitter while then-FBI Supervisory Special Agent Elvis Chan served as the lead operative in requesting Twitter censor many stories, including those around Hunter Biden’s “laptop from hell.”
Another batch of the files showed that federal agencies, including the FBI and Department of Homeland Security, partnered with contractors to “pressure Twitter to moderate content” and would use information portals to send constant information to Twitter on what accounts to restrict. CNSNews.com also reported:
Thomas said she was especially concerned about the arrangement between the Obama Administration and a writer from the liberal Huffington Post Web site. The writer was invited by the White House to President Obama’s press conference last week on the understanding that he would ask Obama a question about Iran from among questions that had been sent to him by people in Iran.
“When you call the reporter the night before you know damn well what they are going to ask to control you,” Thomas said.
Thomas’ comments followed last Wednesday’s briefing with White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. At the briefing, Gibbs and CBS White House correspondent Chip Reid (with Thomas jumping in) engaged in a back-and-forth exchange on how (in Reid’s words) “the audience and the questions are being selected” for the president’s town-hall meeting on healthcare that day.
Reid charged: “It just feels very tightly controlled. It feels — I mean, the concept of a town hall I think is to have a open public forum, and this sounds like a very tightly controlled audience and a list of questions. Why do it that way? Why not open it up to the public?”
“Why pre-select?” Reid asked. “Why not just open it up for people and allow any question to come in?”
A later segment of the exchange follows:
Helen Thomas: “I’m amazed. I’m amazed at you people who call for openness and transparency and —”
Robert Gibbs: “Helen, you haven’t even heard the questions.”
Chip Reid: “It doesn’t matter. It’s the process.”
Thomas: “You have left open —”
Reid: “Even if there’s a tough question, it’s a question coming from somebody who was invited or was screened, or the question was screened.”
Thomas: “It’s shocking. It’s really shocking.”
Gibbs: “Chip, let’s have this discussion at the conclusion of the town hall meeting. How about that?”
Gibbs: “I think —”
Thomas: “No, no, no, we’re having it now —”
Gibbs: “Well, I’d be happy to have it now.”
Thomas: “It’s a pattern.”
Gibbs: “Which question did you object to at the town hall meeting, Helen?”
Thomas: “It’s a pattern. It isn’t the question —”
Gibbs: “What’s a pattern?”
Thomas: “It’s a pattern of controlling the press.”
Here’s a video of a large portion of the exchange:
US government agencies are using a range of tracking and surveillance technologies as part of efforts to control the spread of anti-DNC information about the novel coronavirus. These include: geolocation tracking and facial recognition systems to analyse photos, both to enable contact tracing. Palantir is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to model the virus outbreak, and other companies that scrape public social media data have contracts in place with CDC and the National Institutes of Health. These efforts are being coordinated by a task force working with the White House that includes technology giants such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon, as well as lesser-known names such as Brandwatch’s Crimson Hexagon and K Health, and are struggling to find a balance between using the technology and protecting the confidentiality of patent data. In a March 15 meeting, a 45-person task force meeting considered possibilities such as how citizens could be diagnosed without visiting a doctor, and how the companies could work with CDC to meet its top priorities.
Biden administration’s cozy relationship with Big Tech: White House visitor logs show Silicon Valley executives – including Apple CEO Tim Cook – effectively have a ‘staff badge’ for the West Wing, critics say
- Analysis of White House visitor logs spanning from July 2021-Sept 2022 found Big Tech execs visited at least 38 times, averaging 2.5 meetings per month
- Apple CEO Tim Cook paid a visit to the White House five times over the 15-month sampling, and Apple sent high-level representatives 16 times in total
- Google and its parent company Alphabet sent CEO Sundar Pichai and other top-level executives nine times, Facebook and Meta visited seven times
Big Tech executives have held a close-knit relationship with the White House, visiting 1600 Pennsylvania Ave with such regularity that could explain President Biden’s lackluster push for anti-trust legislation, insiders say.
An analysis of White House visitor logs found that between July 2021 and September 2022, Big Tech’s most senior executives visited at least 38 times, averaging around 2.5 meetings per month.
Apple CEO Tim Cook paid a visit to the White House five times over the 15-month sampling, and Apple sent high-level representatives 16 times in total. Google and its parent company Alphabet sent CEO Sundar Pichai and other top-level executives nine times, Facebook and parent company Meta visited seven times.
‘The Biden Administration has essentially given Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon a staff badge,’ one former Republican House Judiciary aide told DailyMail.com. ‘Instead of taking on Big Tech, they’ve allowed Big Tech to infiltrate the White House whenever they please.’
On the campaign trail, Biden said he wanted to break up Big Tech monopolies and end Section 230. But the 2021-2022 Congress came and went and Big Tech legislation remained in limbo.
While it’s normal for the White House to meet with business leaders, the frequency of such visits begs the question of what sort of closed-door promises were made, insiders say.
‘The White House did very little to push Congress to move forward tech legislation anti-trust legislation, in 2021, and 2022,’ one former Democratic congressional aide told DailyMail.com.
‘They had all those meetings with Big Tech executives, but the real question is, how much were those executives successful in their private lobbying, in getting the White House not to escalate that fight?’
‘The idea that this revolving door of tech lobbyists and executives are allowed to have access to officials who allegedly are working on reining in Big Tech who are allegedly going after some of the most egregious behavior, it’s really problematic,’ another former Democratic staffer on Capitol Hill told DailyMail.com.
Last Congress advocates criticized the White House for failing to utilize Democratic control of the White House and both chambers of Congress to prioritize legislation to take on Big Tech.
They failed to push through the American Innovation and Choice Online Act and the Open App Markets Act, both of which would have prevented tech companies from self-promoting their own products and thwarting competitors.
‘You clearly have some gatekeepers in in the White House in the administration, who are preventing Biden’s priorities as insofar as tech from moving forward,’ said the staffer.
‘Whenever Big Tech gets scared, they walk into the White House, they they meet with their friendly official and that gatekeeper says don’t worry about it.’
Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn. said in a statement on their Kids Online Safety Act, which set new guardrails for sites likely to attract traffic from children, was cut out of FY 2023 spending bill due to industry lobbying.
The American Data Privacy and Protection Act overwhelmingly passed the Energy and Commerce Committee 53-2 last Congress, but never came up for a floor vote.
The must-pass FY 2023 spending bill did include a bill that will raise money for anti-trust agencies by raising merger filing fees and a ban of TikTok on government phones.
The source said the Biden administration gave high hopes to anti-trust proponents with bringing net neutrality advocate Tim Wu into the White House as an advisor and Big Tech foes Lina Khan to chair the Federal Trade Commission and Jonathan Cantor to lead the Justice Department’s anti-trust division.
‘That was all in early 2021. And then, you know, it didn’t seem like they had that same level of commitment was to legislation.’
The White House declined to comment on the charges.
Biden waited until January of this year to make one of his most pointed calls yet in an op-ed he penned directing Congress to pass legislation to rein in tech platforms.
He first called for privacy protections that limit data collection and ban targeted advertising for kids and called for reform of Section 230 – which grants social media platforms immunity for what users post on their sites while preserving their ability to moderate content.
Referencing a line he made in both last year’s and again in this year’s State of the Union address, Biden said: ‘We must hold social-media companies accountable for the experiment they are running on our children for profit.’
‘Ban targeted advertising to children and impose stricter limits on the personal data the companies collect on all of us,’ Biden said in his 2023 State of the Union Tuesday night.
‘The idea that he’s saying all of this during State of the Union and will again be talking about the dangers of Big Tech while officials in his own White House are allowing tech like Big Tech companies to just as effectively have open door access is is pretty egregious’ the ex-Democratic congressional aide said.
In calling for ‘fairer rules of the road’ Biden made a nod at legislation that would ban Big Tech’s self-promotion of its own products.
‘When tech platforms get big enough, many find ways to promote their own products while excluding or disadvantaging competitors — or charge competitors a fortune to sell on their platform,’ he wrote in his op-ed.
But Biden and Republican legislators on Capitol Hill are at odds over how best to tackle Big Tech’s monopolistic tendencies.
House Republicans, freshly in the majority, are prioritizing censorship and anti-conservative bias. They have pushed back against legislation that prevents tech platforms from self-promoting their own products.
Both parties want to overhaul Section 230, but for different reasons. Democrats want to tackle the spread of misinformation on things like elections and Covid-19, Republicans want to ensure that social media companies don’t censor posts that might involved things like vaccine or election skepticism.
‘We need Big Tech companies to take responsibility for the content they spread and the algorithms they use,’ Biden wrote in the Journal. ‘That’s why I’ve long said we must fundamentally reform Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects tech companies from legal responsibility for content posted on their sites.’
Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s office shot back that Biden wasn’t addressing the real issue.
‘House Republicans will confront Big Tech’s abuses because the truth should not be censored,’ McCarthy deputy spokesperson Chad Gilmartin said in a release. ‘Americans should not be blocked or banned for sharing a link to a news article. But that’s exactly what Big Tech has done, which Biden wants to ignore.’
On December 14, incoming Judiciary Chair Rep. Jim Jordan wrote to five of the largest tech companies demanding they hand over correspondence between their companies and Biden administration officials.
‘Although the full extent of Big Tech’s collusion with the Biden administration is unknown, there are prominent examples and strong indications of Big Tech censorship following directives or pressure from executive branch entities,’ Jordan wrote. ‘Because of Big Tech’s wide reach, it can serve as a powerful and effective partisan arm of the ‘woke speech police.”
But Jordan has opposed other anti-trust reform, including increasing the fees tech companies pay when they file a merger with the federal government to raise funds for the Federal Trade Commission’s anti-trust division.
So far McCarthy has not prioritized anti-trust legislation aimed at Big Tech either.
In his ‘Commitment to America’ GOP agenda released ahead of midterms, McCarthy promised to ‘confront Big Tech and advance free speech’ by repealing Section 230 and bolstering anti-trust enforcement.
But he opposed a bipartisan pair of bills that would break up tech monopolies like Apple and Amazon and end their self-preferencing practices. Apple and Amazon’s biggest defendant in Washington, Jeff Miller, is a close ally and personal friend of McCarthy.
Forensic server records show that the Obama and Biden White Houses ordered the hiding, deletion and shadow banning of any positive information about Plaintiff and his companies and the unjust promotion and ‘media flooding’ of his competitors, who were White House financiers. The White House also ordered the ‘media flooding’ of White House produced hatchet job, character assassination articles and movies about Plaintiff and his companies that competed with the White House financiers.