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Kari Lake tweets like Trump: irresponsibly and dangerously. How long until she’s banned?

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It took a literal insurrection to get Donald Trump kicked off Twitter.

What will it take for Kari Lake? She’s emulating him in every other respect on social media. Why not that right-wing badge of honor?

Twitter banned Trump after the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, “due to the risk of further incitement of violence.” Rather than run away from the former president’s irresponsible behavior, some right-wing politicians have embraced it.

It’s not just a point of pride. It’s a potential point of profit, a chance to whine erroneously about “censorship” in the next fundraising letter. Twitter hasn’t helped matters by applying punishment willy-nilly, with vague explanations for who gets suspended or banned and why.

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Kari Lake, the former Fox 10 Phoenix news anchor running as a Republican for governor of Arizona, is taking advantage of Twitter’s inconsistency with a string of irresponsible tweets that have no business on Twitter or anywhere else. It’s the best of both worlds for her. She can tweet Trump-like nonsense to appease her followers.

Whether it’s telling college students to defy mask mandates on their campuses, her support of the Arizona audit of the 2020 election or even something as silly as taking a sledgehammer to TVs showing CNN and saying, “It’s time to take a sledgehammer to mainstream media’s lies and propaganda,” Lake isn’t just taking a page from the Trump Twitter playbook. She’s practically copying it word for word.

If Twitter sits on its hands, the most likely outcome, she can continue to tell college students not to wear masks to protect against the spread of COVID-19 and the Delta variant. If Twitter suspends her temporarily, she can cry censorship. It’s a win-win for Lake.

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It’s a loss for everyone else.

Political candidates thrive on attention, and Lake is no different. On Wednesday she tweeted that Arizona State University students shouldn’t comply with the school’s mandate that it would require face coverings in all classrooms and labs, as well as some other indoor settings.

“Just don’t do it,” she tweeted. “What are they going to do? Expel all of you?”

Perhaps with an eye toward the Territorial Cup and Tucson voters, she didn’t ignore the University of Arizona, which announced a similar mandate in defiance of the state’s prohibition on requiring masks for unvaccinated people attending class in person.

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“If your university or school is forcing masks — might be times for a gap year!” she tweeted, with the hashtags #DoNotComply and #GodGivenRightsNonnegotiable.

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Twitter has rules against irresponsible tweets. So enforce them

I’m no Bible scholar, but I don’t recall any scripture about the sacred right to shun health advice in ways that could harm others. There are some things about loving your neighbor as yourself, though.

And experts, including the Centers for Disease Control, have recommended masks for everyone over the age of 2 in schools, not just the unvaccinated.

Maybe Lake is trying to compete in the ongoing Republican contest to get banned from Twitter for misleading tweets (hello, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene) and then complain about cancel culture to rile up supporters.

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Whatever her reasons, Twitter shouldn’t allow it.

What does it take to get suspended? The platform doesn’t allow users to flag a tweet that provides misinformation about COVID-19. Nor does it automatically label posts about the pandemic, as Instagram does.

Twitter has a litany of rules, including ones that cover COVID-19 misinformation. In fact, Greene was temporarily suspended for violating Twitter’s COVID-19 misleading information policy when she tweeted that the FDA shouldn’t give the COVID-19 vaccines full approval, and that the vaccines were “failing.” 

Lake’s tweets aren’t that, exactly. 

Gov. Doug Ducey issued an executive order in June prohibiting all public universities and community colleges in Arizona from requiring a COVID-19 vaccination or information from students about their vaccination status prior to arriving on campus. It also blocks requirements for mask usage for the unvaccinated.

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The legislature then put the ban into budget bills and passed them into law. So much for the conservative notion of allowing schools and businesses to make decisions free of government intrusion.

But Lake, who basically latches onto any right-wing idea that will appeal to a conservative base and then promotes it on Twitter, is putting political expediency above the common good. That’s not exactly a novel idea. It is, however, an irresponsible one. Lake is taking full advantage of Twitter’s inaction. 

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And no, don’t start. Suspending Lake from Twitter, or anyone else, is not censorship, something Lake no doubt knows but has argued against. Private companies require certain standards. If you don’t comply with them, you lose the right to participate. Donald Trump is a good example. 

In 2020 Lake tweeted a debunked COVID-19 video, calling it “one of the most HONEST COVID-19 briefings I’ve seen to date.” When YouTube removed the video, citing violation of its terms of service, Lake replied to her original tweet to note that it was still available on Facebook.

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She joined Gab, the social media platform many Parler users have flocked to since Parler shut down. Lake also had a Parler account. The sites are popular destinations for users to espouse pretty much whatever they like — though there are some limits. Google, Amazon and Apple banned Parler from their platforms after a slew of violent content about the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Lake can espouse whatever harebrained theories she likes, and has every right to express them — as she has, having become a favorite of right-wing media. Checking her privilege to tweet potentially dangerous things to her 50,000 followers wouldn’t be silencing her. It would be Twitter acting responsibly, in the interests of those followers and whoever else wanders across such tweets.

Private companies like Twitter have every right to limit disinformation and dangerous rhetoric. It’s true that Twitter and Facebook haven’t been consistent in the application of their rules. Trump tweeted dangerous misinformation all the time before Twitter took action. But the rules are there, and for a reason.

This isn’t about safety or science. It’s about attention

Lake’s antics aren’t about safety. They aren’t about science. They certainly aren’t about freedom. Or “freedom,” more accurately. Freedom from what? Taking the bare minimum of precautions to protect other people? Why anyone would want to be freed from that is anyone’s guess.

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No, this is about attention.

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Lake needs it, and she needs to maintain it. She has no prior political experience. That’s not disqualifying; some voters doubtless believe it’s a plus. However you feel about it, she has no record to stand on. So she needs to use media to keep herself in the conversation. The louder the better.

Evidently it’s working.

Lake’s Twitter feed is devoid of nuance and subtlety. Much of it is brash, overstated, all take-no-prisoners posturing. It’s the kind of tweeting Trump, whom she praises often, did not pioneer but took to its logical extreme. (It’s difficult to understand how any legitimate journalist working in the last six years could look to Trump as a mentor figure, but fine. That’s another story.)

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Hey @ASU students

Don’t comply with your University’s Mask Mandates. Just don’t do it. What are they going to do? Expel all of you..?

I’ve got your back. As soon as I’m your Governor, this BS ends!!

— Kari Lake for AZ Governor (@KariLake) August 12, 2021

It doesn’t matter what you say, as long as it gets noticed and talked about. What has become more and more apparent over the last few years, to the detriment of democracy and public health, is that some people will believe anything. The changing nature of the pandemic and the media’s often-confusing attempts at keeping up with it don’t help — it makes it that much easier to mislead.

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That’s why discourse needs to be responsible. People need to be responsible. You don’t have to agree with everything everyone says. You shouldn’t. There should be reasonable debate by reasonable people. In her tweets, Lake has dispensed with reason. Maybe it’s time, at least temporarily, for Twitter to dispense with her.

Reach Goodykoontz at bill.goodykoontz@arizonarepublic.com. Facebook: facebook.com/GoodyOnFilm. Twitter: @goodyk. Subscribe to the weekly movies newsletter.

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TWITTER

Elon Musk Says He’ll Pay $11 Billion in Taxes in 2021 But Twitter Wants ‘Proof’

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Elon Musk took to Twitter to clarify once and for all that he will be paying a whopping $11 billion as taxes this year.

If the number of times Elon Musk could count when someone has asked him to pay the full taxes, he would be a very rich..wait, never mind. The Tesla boss is rich beyond any private individual has been in history, reports said.

Musk has increasingly been facing criticism from many politicians and many others who insist he has not been paying taxes as compared to the profits his companies have been making. On Sunday, the SpaceX CEO took to Twitter to share that he will be paying a whopping $11 billion as taxes.

For those wondering, I will pay over $11 billion in taxes this year— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 20, 2021

But some of the questions did not stop. One person tweeted how they needed to see Musk’s tax returns while yet another asked how much percentage was that of his total income.

A few were, however scathing of the government who thought they will add that amount to their pockets rather than using it for some proper development.

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Wow that’s enough to give each person in the world almost $2 million but instead the government will just stick it in their pockets— greg (@greg16676935420) December 20, 2021

Why not $200 billion? Asking for a Senator— litquidity (@litcapital) December 20, 2021

Earlier this week, Democratic US Senator Elizabeth Warren has tweeted to say that Musk should pay taxes and stop “freeloading off everyone else” after Time magazine named him its “person of the year”.

In response, Musk shot four tweets in which he said that the senator reminded him of a friend’s angry mom who yelled at everybody. He tweeted, ““And if you opened your eyes for 2 seconds, you would realize I will pay more taxes than any American in history this year.” “Don’t spend it all at once … oh wait you did already.”

He added further, “You remind me of when I was a kid and my friend’s angry Mom would just randomly yell at everyone for no reason.”

Musk responded by saying that he “will pay more taxes than any American in history this year”. This Twitter exchange left netizens divided as even though many supported Warren and agreed that Musk should pay more taxes, others felt that he was already doing enough.

Musk’s Tesla is worth about $1 trillion. Over the last few weeks, he has sold nearly $14 billion worth of Tesla shares.

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The Tesla boss has been pushing for his colonize Mars agenda for years now, and has made it very clear in some occasions that he would rather spend the money on putting humanity on the red planet, than pay his taxes. “My plan,” the SpaceX founder tweeted about his fortune, “is to use the money to get humanity to Mars and preserve the light of consciousness.”

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Twitter Admits Policy ‘Errors’ After Far-Right Abuse Its New Rules of Posting Pictures

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Twitter’s new picture permission policy was aimed at combating online abuse, but US activists and researchers said Friday that far-right backers have employed it to protect themselves from scrutiny and to harass opponents.

Even the social network admitted the rollout of the rules, which say anyone can ask Twitter to take down images of themselves posted without their consent, was marred by malicious reports and its teams’ own errors.

It was just the kind of trouble anti-racism advocates worried was coming after the policy was announced this week.

Their concerns were quickly validated, with anti-extremism researcher Kristofer Goldsmith tweeting a screenshot of a far-right call-to-action circulating on Telegram: “Due to the new privacy policy at Twitter, things now unexpectedly work more in our favor.”

“Anyone with a Twitter account should be reporting doxxing posts from the following accounts,” the message said, with a list of dozens of Twitter handles.

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Gwen Snyder, an organizer and researcher in Philadelphia, said her account was blocked this week after a report to Twitter about a series of 2019 photos she said showed a local political candidate at a march organized by extreme-right group Proud Boys.

Rather than go through an appeal with Twitter she opted to delete the images and alert others to what was happening.

“Twitter moving to eliminate (my) work from their platform is incredibly dangerous and is going to enable and embolden fascists,” she told AFP.

In announcing the privacy policy on Tuesday, Twitter noted that “sharing personal media, such as images or videos, can potentially violate a person’s privacy, and may lead to emotional or physical harm.”

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But the rules don’t apply to “public figures or individuals when media and accompanying Tweets are shared in the public interest or add value to public discourse.”

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By Friday, Twitter noted the roll out had been rough: “We became aware of a significant amount of coordinated and malicious reports, and unfortunately, our enforcement teams made several errors.”

“We’ve corrected those errors and are undergoing an internal review to make certain that this policy is used as intended,” the firm added.

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Jack Dorsey Post Twitter Is Chasing His Crypto, Fintech Dream

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At a packed Miami conference in June, Jack Dorsey, mused in front of thousands of attendees about where his real passion lay: “If I weren’t at Square or Twitter, I’d be working on Bitcoin.”

On Monday, Dorsey made good on one part of that, announcing he would leave Twitter for the second time, handing the CEO position to a 10-year veteran at the firm. The 45-year-old entrepreneur, who is often described as an enigma with varied interests from meditation to yoga to fashion design, plans to pursue his passion which include focusing on running Square and doing more philanthropic work, according to a source familiar with his plan.

Well before the surprise news, Dorsey had laid the groundwork for his next chapter, seeding both companies with cryptocurrency-related projects.

Underlying Dorsey’s broader vision is the principle of “decentralisation,” or the idea that technology and finance should not be concentrated among a handful of gatekeepers, as it is now, but should, instead, be steered by the hands of the many, either people or entities.

The concept has played out at Square, which has built a division devoted to working on projects and awarding grants with the aim of growing Bitcoin’s popularity globally. Bitcoin price in India stood at Rs. 44.52 lakh as of 12:50pm IST on December 1.

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Dorsey has been a longtime proponent of Bitcoin, and the appeal is that the cryptocurrency will allow for private and secure transactions with the value of Bitcoin unrelated to any government.

The idea has also underpinned new projects at Twitter, where Dorsey tapped a top lieutenant – and now the company’s new CEO Parag Agrawal – to oversee a team that is attempting to construct a decentralised social media protocol, which will allow different social platforms to connect with one another, similar to the way email providers operate.

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The project called Bluesky will aim to allow users control over the types of content they see online, removing the “burden” on companies like Twitter to enforce a global policy to fight abuse or misleading information, Dorsey said in 2019 when he announced Bluesky.

Bitcoin has also figured prominently at both of his companies. Square became one of the first public companies to own Bitcoin assets on its balance sheet, having invested $220 million (roughly Rs. 1,650 crore) in the cryptocurrency.

In August, Square created a new business unit called TBD to focus on Bitcoin. The company is also planning to build a hardware wallet for Bitcoin, a Bitcoin mining system, as well as a decentralised Bitcoin exchange.

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Twitter allows users to tip their favourite content creators with Bitcoin and has been testing integrations with non-fungible tokens (NFTs), a type of digital asset that allows people to collect unique digital art.

Analysts see the transition as a positive signal for Square, the fintech platform he co-founded in 2009. Square’s core Cash App, after a bull run in its share in 2020, has experienced slower growth in the most recent quarter. It is also trying to digest the $29 billion (roughly Rs. 2,17,240 crore) acquisition of Buy Now Pay Later provider Afterpay, its largest acquisition ever.

But these ambitions will not pay off until years from now, analysts cautioned.

“The blockchain platform they’re trying to develop is great but also fraught with technical challenges and difficult to scale for consumers. I think he’ll focus more on Square and crypto will be part of that,” said Christopher Brendler, an analyst at DA Davidson.

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© Thomson Reuters 2021

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Interested in cryptocurrency? We discuss all things crypto with WazirX CEO Nischal Shetty and WeekendInvesting founder Alok Jain on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

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