This headline would already be funny enough but finding out that the New York Times is also responsible here makes it even more hilarious. They are taking the credit for goading Twitter into this and that’s a pretty feasible explanation, to be honest. When Twitter decided to start fact-checking Trump tweets, the blowback was immediate.
They are now trying to soften the blow by fact-checking enemies of the United States as well. It’s a pretty obvious gambit but it’s a good one, all things considered. Twitter is doing everything in its power to outrun the criticisms that they are out to make the president look bad. It remains to be seen as to whether this strategy will appease Trump.
The feature may seem dubious to most but if they are going to be using it to come after Chinese liars, it’s not so bad after all. You have to break a few eggs in order to make an omelet. Malevolent misinformation needs to be flagged, especially when it comes from the Chinese. If a couple of Trump tweets have to be taken down, it’s a trade-off that most sane Americans would be willing to make.
Of course, the New York Times’ involvement is enough to give anyone major pause. This could just be a well-timed maneuver by their reporters, an attempt at convincing Twitter that this is their way out of the Trump frying pan. On the other hand, this plan could also end up creating a series of unrealistic expectations for those who utilize this platform.
Zhao Lijian’s tweets that raised eyebrows back in March have been given the same treatment as Trump’s more recent tweets. However, it is hard to believe that this was not done as an appeasement measure. The platform is overflowing with garbage tweets but these two are particularly awful. Zhao Lijian should be ready to take a bow.
As the spokesman for the foreign ministry of China, he should be a bit more thoughtful. Instead, he is willing to fire off CCP propaganda as if it were fact. A tweet that does not come true just because you wish it were so. Chinese spokespeople like these shouldn’t even be allowed to post on Twitter anyway. Isn’t that why China established its own state-run social media site?
The Twitter platform cannot even be used legally in China. We cannot begin to imagine how annoying this must be for their citizens. They cannot even exchange harmless tweets with their fellow countrymen without procuring an illegal private network to do so. Their leaders, on the other hand? They are able to post with impunity and it does not matter how harmful the messages are.
This hardly seems fair but that’s par for the course for the Chinese. Twitter should not be creating the perception that they are going to work tirelessly to fact check all of these tweets. They simply do not have the time or manpower to handle these types of concerns. On the other hand, there are plenty of unemployed Americans who are in need of a new job. Perhaps it is time for Twitter to start making some new hires.
More corrections have been made since and Ice Cube is the unlikely tweeter who drew their ire. He posted a photo of the cop that was alleged to have killed George Floyd. There’s only one problem: the image in question was of another person entirely. Twitter slapped the “manipulated media” label on the tweet and that was that.
If they are going to continue down this path, they need to do a better job of collecting the evidence. China also has a great deal of influence over American media outlets. As long as their foreign ministry is going to be dinged for their lies, it is time to go back and start flagging all of the false tweets about the origin of the virus. Let’s go, Twitter!