Meet Twitter's Second In Charge

August 1st, 2016 | R. Rados
twitter alwaleed jack dorsey

Saudi Prince, Alwaleed Bin Talal, became the second largest stakeholder of Twitter in 2015 after increasing his combined shares in the company to over 30 million. With his total holdings increased to 5%, his stake in the company has made him the second most powerful person at Twitter. Alwaleed's Saudi Kingdom was responsible for the spread of Wahhabism across the Middle East, which is the same dangerous version of Islamic ideology the Islamic State subscribes to. Even though Saudi Arabia has played a pivotal role in the fight against ISIS, forces inside the country have directly and indirectly sponsored global terrorism. It should come as no surprise then that Twitter has evolved into a platform that proactively seeks out and bans critics of Islam while acting as a sympathetic breeding ground for the continued spread of Wahhabism.

Twitter can't ban a million unreported people, but they can definitely weed out undesirable tweets and users with their new algorithm, which mimics Facebook's timeline by showing users what it thinks will interest them. The good old days of chronological posts and tweets are dead, even if you go into your account settings to untick the box that makes Twitter show you the “best tweets first”. If you untick that pre-ticked box and ask to be shown tweets in chronological order, Twitter will continue to bombard you with tweets that you “missed while you were away” and tweets you “might also like”. Unless you're highly popular or famous, you might notice yourself struggling for new followers, retweets and impressions with the new algorithm. The reason for this is simple: some of your tweets aren't being seen for whatever reason. If you haven't been reported and banned for abuse, you're likely being filtered by an algorithm.

The recent ban of Breitbart editor, Milo Yiannopoulos, confused just as many people as it delighted. Twitter's rationale for banning the infamously fabulous and dangerous faggot was as solid as a passenger's faith in Malaysia Airlines. Their claims that he violated their policies by inciting hateful comments against Ghostbusters actress, Leslie Jones, doesn't follow any kind of consistent pattern. Following complaints of harassment from the actress herself, Twitter acted immediately by permanently banning Yiannopoulos on the grounds that he encouraged the harassment – not necessarily engaged in the harassment himself. After Yiannopoulos posted a scathing review of the movie, his followers began harassing Jones with racial slurs and misogynistic taunts. This, somehow, was enough to permanently ban Yiannopoulos and disconnect him from the 300,000 followers he had spent years attracting.

Yiannopoulos's opponents will refuse to acknowledge that Twitter has failed to fairly enforce its policies when it comes to thousands of other Twitter users. They'll continue to bask in the delight of seeing him lose a means to share his views, while sitting idly by as jihadists and cop hating bigots continue using Twitter to recruit followers.

The reasons for Yiannopoulos's lifetime ban don't sound rational because they aren't. By Twitter's standards, thousands of reported users should have been banned eons ago. Thousands of users continue to harass and taunt each other in more brutal ways than what Leslie Jones experienced, but they are still active and continue to attract followers – even after being reported to Twitter. What happened to Yiannopoulos has nothing to do with Twitter's policies and everything to do with a personal vendetta and Jack Dorsey's hatred of politically incorrect conservatives. Just two days before Yiannopoulos was banned, he was set to lead a rally in Cleveland to celebrate gay Republicans and conservatives. He had also been planning to lead a gay pride march through a well-known muslim ghetto in Sweden.

The timing of Yiannopoulos's lifetime ban coincides with a rise in the volume of his criticisms of radical Islam. Aside from a few less popular and less noticed critics of Islam, Yiannopoulos has been the most prominent and most controversial. What has made Yiannopoulos the most dangerous critic of Islam is his status as an influential, conservative homosexual. His ability to attract such a loud and vocal following among gays and gay conservatives was becoming too much for Alwaleed Bin Talal's Twitter to tolerate. Combined with Jack Dorsey's obvious and openly proud hatred of politically incorrect conservatives, Alwaleed's desire to shut down Yiannopoulis and others like him was easily able to come to fruition.

A further indication of Twitter's agenda is their stagnant stock price. Jack Dorsey doesn't seem to mind that Twitter's stock price has collapsed over the past 18 months, as he continues to double down on his lopsided censorship policy. The company's user growth is down compared to what it was in Twitter's early years and advertisers aren't getting their money's worth, as the company's Q2 results show. The people who continue signing up for Twitter are hardcore progressives and people starting a second, or third, or fourth anonymous account to harass and ridicule people they don't like. The actual “growth” Twitter sees in users doesn't include ordinary, unbiased, level-headed people. The average American or Canadian isn't a vocal, militant progressive or internet troll. The reason for Facebook's success is Mark Zuckerberg's ability to understand that.

As for Alwaleed Bin Talal, he'll continue to have a say in who Twitter censors and why. The self-proclaimed philanthropist tweeted an anti-Israel statement in July of last year, in Arabic, condemning the “Zionist enemy”. He said, "In response to the news of the visit to Israel: I have not and will not visit Jerusalem or pray inside it until its liberation from the Zionist enemy. And I carry an honorary Palestinian passport,” with a photo of himself holding a Palestinian passport. His position on Israel, as well as his own ability to post anti-Israel sentiments on Twitter, should be a clear indication of where Alwaleed Bin Talal and his company stand.

Although Bin Talal isn't the worst of the Saudi royal family, his anti-Israel views and hatred for Donald Trump will undoubtedly have an influence on what we are – and aren't – allowed to see on Twitter. Among his other assets is a 1% ownership in Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation (Fox News) and a 6% share in Citigroup, one of the companies bailed out by American taxpayers in 2008. It's no coincidence that Trump ally, Roger Ailes, has been ousted at Fox News and that Fox News has generally joined the mainstream choir of anti-Trump rhetoric. This seems to have come a few months after Alwalled Bin Talal sold most of his 7% share in News Corporation. In a statement, Bin Talal expressed his continued support for Murdoch, but failed to give reasons for his sale. If Twitter or Dorsey fail to follow Alwaleed Bin Talal's lead, we should expect that he'll threaten to sell his shares and hang Twitter out to dry. Since Twitter can't afford to lose any big investors, we should expect the same narrative manipulation at Twitter for the remainder of the company's existence.

Until Twitter finally bites the dust, or gets sold off and loses Jack Dorsey and Alwaleed Bin Talal, nothing much should be expected to change. Twitter will continue being a mouthpiece for Saudi interests and backward progressivism until the company can no longer hold on.