Under Government Pressure, Twitter Suppressed Truthful Speech About COVID-19

Link: https://reason.com/2023/01/02/under-government-pressure-twitter-suppressed-truthful-speech-about-covid-19/?utm_medium=email


Twitter’s ban on “COVID-19 misinformation,” which Elon Musk rescinded after taking over the platform in late October, mirrored the Biden administration’s broad definition of that category in two important respects: It disfavored perspectives that dissented from official advice, and it encompassed not just demonstrably false statements but also speech that was deemed “misleading” even when it was arguably or verifiably true. In a recent Free Press article, science writer David Zweig shows what that meant in practice, citing several striking examples of government-encouraged speech suppression gleaned from the internal communications that Musk has been disclosing to handpicked journalists.

Twitter’s moderation of pandemic-related content was intertwined with government policy from the beginning. Even before Joe Biden was elected president and his administration began publicly and privately demanding that social media companies suppress speech it viewed as a threat to public health, the company’s guidelines deferred to the positions taken by government agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And those rules explicitly covered “misleading information” as well as “demonstrably false” statements.


That July, Twitter sought to clarify “our rules against potentially misleading information about COVID-19″ (emphasis added). “For a Tweet to qualify as a misleading claim,” the company said, “it must be an assertion of fact (not an opinion), expressed definitively, and intended to influence others’ behavior.” Possible topics included “the origin, nature, and characteristics of the virus”; “preventative measures, treatments/cures, and other precautions”; “the prevalence of viral spread, or the current state of the crisis”; and “official health advisories, restrictions, regulations, and public-service announcements.”

That was a very wide net, potentially encompassing anyone who questioned the CDC’s ever-shifting guidance or criticized government policies, such as lockdowns and mask mandates, aimed at reducing virus transmission. While the intent requirement ostensibly allowed dissent as long as it was not aimed at influencing behavior, that limitation did not mean much in practice, since moderators were apt to infer the requisite intent when they encountered tweets that implicitly or explicitly deviated from the recommendations of “public health authorities and governments.”


Another example that Zweig cites: Last August, @KelleyKga, a self-described “public health fact checker,” responded to another Twitter user’s claim that “COVID has been the leading cause of death from disease in children” since December 2021. “What an excellent example of cherry picking!” @KelleyKga wrote. “If you narrow it down to only the specific months you specify, which include the largest Covid wave (seen across the world), AND you ignore all non-disease deaths, AND you ignore cancer, heart disease, SIDS, then COVID is ‘leading.'”

Author(s): Jacob Sullum

Publication Date: 2 Jan 2023

Publication Site: Reason

Massive Collapse in Used Car Prices and Bankrupt Dealers Is Coming Right Up

Link: https://mishtalk.com/economics/massive-collapse-in-used-car-prices-and-bankrupt-dealers-is-coming-right-up





Carvana may have just quietly started liquidating:

The company is now advertising its *retail* inventory to *wholesale* dealers.

Look at the $5,000 price difference. Wild times.

These are all retail-ready cars being advertised to other dealers – likely at a big loss.

(h/t RayMF for submission)

Alright everyone is asking how to take advantage – here you go:

Dealers: If you’re willing to buy one of these cars for consumers at a flat $600 mark-up, please comment below.

Consumers: If you want one of these cars and willing to pay a flat $600 mark-up, DM the dealer.

Author(s): Mike Shedlock, CarDealershipGuy

Publication Date: 17 Dec 2022

Publication Site: Mish Talk, Twitter

Introducing the UK Covid-19 Crowd Forecasting Challenge

Link: https://www.crowdforecastr.org/2021/05/11/uk-challenge/

Twitter thread of results: https://twitter.com/nikosbosse/status/1449043922794188807




Let’s start with the data. The UK Forecasting Challenge spanned a long period of exponential growth as well as a sudden drop in cases at the end of July 3

Especially this peak was hard to predict and no forecaster really saw it coming. Red: aggregated forecast from different weeks, grey: individual participants. The second picture shows the range for which participants were 50% and 95% confident they would cover the true value


So what have we learned? – Human forecasts can be valuable to inform public health policy and can sometimes even beat computer models – Ensembles almost always perform better than individuals – Non-experts can be just as good as experts – recruiting participants is hard

Author(s): Nikos Bosse

Publication Date: Accessed 17 Oct 2021, twitter thread 15 Oct 21

Publication Site: Crowdforecastr

McAfee Indicted for Fraud, Money Laundering Conspiracy Crimes

Link: https://www.ai-cio.com/news/mcafee-indicted-fraud-money-laundering-conspiracy-crimes/


John McAfee, founder of cybersecurity software company McAfee, has been indicted on multiple charges stemming from two purported schemes relating to the allegedly fraudulent promotion of cryptocurrencies. Jimmy Watson, who served as an executive adviser on McAfee’s “cryptocurrency team,” was also charged in the indictment.

According to the allegations in the complaint, which was unsealed in Manhattan federal court, the first of the two schemes involved a fraudulent practice called “scalping,” also known as a “pump-and-dump” scheme. As part of the alleged scheme, McAfee, Watson, and other associates allegedly bought large quantities of publicly traded cryptocurrency altcoins at low market prices, knowing that McAfee planned to publicly endorse them on his Twitter account, which had approximately 784,000 followers.

Author(s): Michael Katz

Publication Date: 12 March 2021

Publication Site: ai-CIO

Twitter thread on Robinhood halting GME trading

Link: https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1354952686165225478.html


Robinhood (RH) is a broker. They don’t execute stock orders themselves. They sign up customers, route their orders to executing brokers, and keep track of who owns what. RH is also its own clearing broker, so they directly settle and custody their clients’ securities. 

Yes, RH is paid by Citadel to handle executing some of its order flow. This isn’t as nefarious as it sounds – Citadel Equity Securities is paying to execute retail orders because they aren’t pernicious (like having 500x the size behind them). 


RH offered to open up stock market investing more broadly. They succeeded, clearly. But the regulations didn’t change – there are still pro-Wall St, pro-incumbent rules and capital requirements. It’s one of the most highly regulated industries in our nation. 

So @AOC is right to ask how it can be that Robinhood stopped its clients from buying certain securities. And what she’ll find is that the reason is that Dodd-Frank requires brokers like RH to post collateral to cover their clients’ trading risk pre-settlement. 

Author(s): Silent Cal

Publication Date: 28 January 2021

Publication Site: Twitter