Everything Else

Twitter still hasn’t unlocked the New York Post’s account

Related Article: What could polls be missing for this election?

Update: Twitter finally unlocked the New York Post’s account on October 30th. This occurred after the Senate Commerce Committee interview multiple Tech CEOs, including Jack Dorsey of Twitter.

Disclaimer: I’m a registered voter with no party affiliation. I have a personal interest in tracking major news networks such as CNN, Fox News, Breitbart, the New York Times, and other outlets who publish misleading information since 2008. Twitter is a recent example of a large, influential medium that has now subjectively interfered with information flow to the public.

It has been over 10 days since the famous New York Post story discussing Hunter Biden’s activities with the Ukranian energy firm Burisma. Twitter reacted by locking the New York Post’s Twitter account from any activity, citing they were trying to prevent the spread of hacked information. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey admits blocking the story was a mistake and ended up reallowing the sharing of the story on Twitter.

Then one must ask, why is the New York Post’s Twitter account still locked?

If the decision was reversed, why isn’t the New York Post’s account unlocked? Why isn’t the New York Times account locked due to releasing Trump’s tax returns that were clearly stolen or “hacked”? Especially after the New York Times declined to share their evidence? Here’s a quote from the NYT article where they decline to share:

“…Alan Garten, a lawyer for the Trump Organization, said that “most, if not all, of the facts appear to be inaccurate” and requested the documents on which they were based. After The Times declined to provide the records, in order to protect its sources…”

So no records have been released “in order to protect sources”, which isn’t an explanation as to why the actual documents haven’t been published. You can publish tax returns without exposing your sources (for an example, look at all of the WikiLeaks releases over time). Ironically, by publishing the tax returns, you’ll force the hand of Trump to actually release his returns. Instead, all we have is the NYT claiming to have records that they won’t show and have obtained without permission. So why is the New York Post account locked and the NYT account not?

A speculation

Maybe the answer lies in Twitter’s rules and policies, which give plenty of wiggle room by utilizing “exceptions” that they alone determine is best for the public interest. Apparently unverified and unreleased tax returns are important for the public interest, but direct evidence of high-ranking US politician’s family member receiving a highly paid position without prior credentials is not of concern to the American public.

Maybe it turns out that Twitter is in fact biased? Considering it’s difficult, if not impossible for a human being to truly be entirely objective, Twitter’s review units are undoubtedly biased themselves since they’re made up of humans. Should there be insights into who makes up the committees that Twitter uses to review posts and their potential biases? Either way, the main question is; why are they subjectively trying to change the flow of information to the American public?

You’ll have to come to your own conclusion on that.

To be transparent, this is my opinion.

Any institution (private or public) with the power to influence outcomes of anything at scale, are incentivized to take a side. Since humans make up these institutions, they are inherently biased, no matter how hard they try to be unbiased. The resulting bias from the institution’s parts eventually come through as the bias of the whole institution. It’s inevitable and unavoidable, and this is what we’re seeing on Twitter’s decision to lock the New York Post’s account but not the New York Times.

The New York Post should be able to post their own articles without limitation unless other media outlets are restricted as well (such as BuzzFeed news). Unless every single news article is researched by a transparent committee with their justification on blocking/allowing it, one side will always benefit.

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Everything Else

What could the polls be missing in this Presidential election?

Recently I wrote an article on the New York Post’s Twitter account still being locked. This is still the case, and it made me brainstorm many other topics associated with elections . This thinking session brought up the topic of polls and predictions. How accurate are they? Why were many polls so far off in 2016? Why do polls seem to tighten the closer to election day? [1][2]

Many polls are predicting Biden to win by a large margin, and many of the points I make below indicate factors that could make the margin much smaller. The one factor that could cause a greater margin than predicted would be an increase in Black and Hispanic voter participation. This is due to the fact that Biden still holds majority over those demographics so an increase in the total number of voters would benefit him the greatest.

Here’s what I think the polls could be missing

Narrowing party registration gaps, especially in swing states.

There are indications that Republicans have significantly closed the registered voter gap, especially in swing states. Trump narrowly won the 2016 election in many of these states, so a lesser difference between registered Democrats and registered Republicans could indicate Trump holding his lead in swing states. Of course, non-affiliated voters still hold a large chunk (often 20%+) in swing states, so nothing is set in stone.

Unwillingness for people to truthfully poll, especially for a candidate like Donald Trump.

Some studies have shown that people are unwilling to share their vote choice with polls. The study linked states that around 11.7% of Republicans don’t share their truthful choice with polls, 10.5% of non-afiiliated, and 5.4% of Democrats. That’s certainly not insignificant.

Shifting demographics in the Black and Hispanic vote.

If the Black and Hispanic vote turnout is the same or less than 2016, this will be a net negative impact for the Democratic party. Trump closed the polling gap from 2016 between both these demographics (although still doesn’t poll above 50% for either demographic). So if the total pie of votes for Black and Hispanic voters doesn’t increase, Trump takes a bigger portion of a pie the same size as 2016.

Increasing distrust of media and technology amongst conservatives.

If a person doesn’t trust the news, believes they’re being censored, or is generally less trusting in institutions, why would they answer truthfully to polls? Why would they participate in the polls in the first place? Are polls even further off than the “shy” voters study linked in the truthful poll section above?

Unknown voter turnout for the Black and Hispanic vote.

2016 saw a decrease in participation with these two demographics. If participation is higher than anticipated, it will significantly benefit Biden and result in a landslide win.

Wrapping it up

While many polls try to adjust for factors like these, it’s impossible to accurately measure all the variables associated with elections. For example, every time that Florida has seen under a 4% party registration spread, Republicans have won the state, anything above 4%, the Democrats have won. Right now the spread is under 2%. But mail-in voting will be at an all time high, so will overall participation increase or are only active voters shifting their voting method?

Many polls will correctly predict the election within their margin of error. The only issue is that it’s not useful in states consistently decided by less than the typical margin of error (like Pennsylvania and Florida).

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