Ben Thompson on the whole Twitter-banning-links fiasco:

The point of this is not to debate whether or not the email story was true, or Hunter Biden’s laptop story. Rather, it’s to establish that while social media publishes everything, from mountains of misinformation and conspiracy theories to critical information about an impending pandemic, making something matter requires more than manufacturing zero marginal cost content. The New York Times has that power by default, while Twitter and Facebook only has that power to the extent they do the opposite of what most expect from them (which is to act as a utility for the conveyance of information).

It’s a great post first and foremost because it clearly points how badly Twitter shit the bed here. They did the exact opposite of what they should have done. They should have left the links up and if and when the story was credibly refuted or called into question, they should have highlighted that element of the story to those sharing it. Instead, by banning the link, they just Streisand Effected it. And worse, just gave the group of conservatives who believe their voices are being silenced on places like Twitter the best ammunition possible.

Second, it goes directly after the ongoing battle between social media v. traditional media in the context of the last election. While social media gets most of the buzz for the outcome of 2016, partially thanks to traditional media continually pushing this narrative, it seems far more likely that traditional media itself was far more effective at altering the course of that election. But by pulling down this link, Twitter made it seem as if they want to be in the business of The New York Times: arbiters of truth, as it were. They shouldn’t want that. And we certainly shouldn’t want that.

Written by

General Partner @ GV (née Google Ventures). In past lives I wrote at TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and ParisLemon. A man of few words. Except when writing. 🍻

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