Trumpist Republicans Latest Freakout A Total Self-Own, As They Reveal They Don't Read What They Tweet

from the how-are-you-this-fucking-dumb? dept

I know, I know: Trumpists have decided that part of the culture war they need to create for the election is that "big tech" is somehow "censoring conservatives." The narrative is complete bullshit, but the Trump cultists are so deeply bought into it that they'll make themselves look absolutely ridiculous to further it. The latest is that a bunch of Republican officials apparently don't understand Twitter and, in trying to continue this anti-tech culture war, instead demonstrated to the world that they can't read.

The issue: a few weeks back Twitter introduced a new feature, popping up a little warning if you go to retweet an article before actually clicking through on it. They had been testing this for a few months, but finally rolled it out widely a few weeks ago. The idea is to try to get people to read through what it is they're retweeting, rather than blindly retweeting it without reading. It's an experiment to try to slow the spread of disinformation and to get people more engaged. I don't know how well it will work, but the logic behind it makes some amount of sense.

Except... on Wednesday, prominent Republicans discovered this feature, and incorrectly thought that it was (1) blocking retweets (2) blocking access to links it was actually telling people to click on and (3) only applying this to content that Trumpists liked.

The Twitter account for the House Judiciary Committee Republicans tweeted a screenshot claiming that Twitter "put a warning label" on a Sean Hannity link. Of course, in their very screenshot (which it appears they did not read) it clearly says: "Headlines don't tell the full story. You can read the article on Twitter before Retweeting." And then it has a link to "Learn more" which tells people about the policy.

So, to be clear: this is not a warning label. It is not applied selectively to Republican content. If they had actually clicked through to the underlying article they wouldn't have seen it. If they had read the label that they screenshotted it clearly explains it. If they had any confusion they could have clicked on the link to get even more information about what's happening.

But, no, these geniuses immediately insisted it was a Twitter plot against "conservatives."

And the thing is, their idiot followers are buying it. There are tons of replies to the tweet about how Congress needs to take away Section 230 or shut down Twitter because of this... effort to encourage people to read before they tweet.

But, of course, it spread quickly. The President's son Don Jr. retweeted someone else showing a screenshot and added three sirens:

He also tweeted out a somewhat infamous internet troll claiming that Twitter only does it for the Republican fundraising site WinRed, but not for the Democratic fundraising site ActBlue. This is wrong. All it means is that the troll clicked through to an ActBlue page before trying to retweet, but not the WinRed page. And yet, the troll's supporters are incorrectly claiming this is "election interference."

Then we have Rep. Doug Collins from Georgia, currently running to be Senator in Georgia (against Kelly Loeffler, so there are no good choices), who got the same message FOUR TIMES and apparently read it zero times because he took screenshots and retweeted all four times, even though it says quite clearly that all it's asking you to do is to READ a link before you retweet it. And Collins is apparently too stupid to realize that this is happening on any article you have first clicked on. Finally, it's NOT "censorship" in any sense of the word to nudge you towards actually reading the article. It's like the reverse of censorship. It's encouraging you to read the content.

I'd really like to believe that there are some competent, level-headed politicians within Congress, but right now the Republicans there seem to be embracing the "we're so fucking stupid that we'll tweet out examples of how we can't read" as a strategic culture war play.

Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: donald trump jr. house republicans, doug collins, gop, judiciary committee, reading, reading comprehension
Companies: twitter


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Thread


  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Oct 2020 @ 12:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Oh that explains it...

    No, Republican and conservative operatives knew how to use social media earlier and better than the Democratic Party. Years back. Not to say that some assclowns may both idiotically misunderstand and game the public and game the internet, or some combination thereof on various occasions, but all those people who work on campaigns (or did then got an administration job or some other reward) sure as hell know how to manufacture propaganda and manipulate systems.


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
.

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.