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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day – Orwellian edition

Months after Zweig published his report on the Twitter Files, journalist Matt Taibbi published a separate deep dive exploring the Virality Project, an initiative launched by Stanford University’s Cyber Policy Center.

The project, which Taibbi described as “a sweeping, cross-platform effort to monitor billions of social media posts by Stanford University, federal agencies, and a slew of (often state-funded) NGOs,” is noteworthy because officials made it clear that a goal was not just to flag false information, but information that was true but inconvenient to the government’s goals. Reports of “vaccinated individuals contracting Covid-19 anyway,” “worrisome jokes,” and “natural immunity” were all characterized as “potential violations,” as were conversations “interpreted to suggest that coronavirus might have leaked from a lab.”

In what Taibbi describes as “a pan-industry monitoring plan for Covid-related content,” the Virality Project began analyzing millions of posts each day from platforms such as Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Medium, TikTok, and other social media sites, which were submitted through the JIRA ticketing system. On February 22, 2021, in a video no longer public, Stanford welcomed social media leaders to the group and offered instruction on how to join the JIRA system.

In contrast to Twitter’s previous internal guidance, which required narratives on Covid-19 to be “demonstrably false” before any censorship actions were taken, the Virality Project made it clear that information that was true was also fair game if it undermined the larger aims of the government and the Virality Project.

Jon Miltimore

8 comments to Samizdata quote of the day – Orwellian edition

  • Paul Marks

    Yes, it is not that the international establishment really thought they were fighting lies – they knew they were fighting the truth, and governments (for example the American bureaucracy over which President Trump had no control, indeed was working to destroy him, and to destroy all other “reactionaries” – the grimly amusing thing being that Donald John Trump himself has always been a moderate, he is NOT really a radically-roll-back-the-government reactionary – as, for example, I am), vast corporations, and the “independent sector” of “non government organisations” actively and knowingly pushed lies and tried to crush anyone, even people who are moderate politically (or even on the left politically), who tried to tell the truth. And they pushed lies and tried to crush the truth about incredibly serious matters.

    This has been a sort of “Diocletian moment” for many people – before the Emperor Diocletian the Roman Empire most certainly had a terrible side (a very terrible side), but it was possible to argue that the good outweighed the bad – after Diocletian with such things as the vast majority of the population reduced to de facto serfs (it being illegal for them to leave their place of work – whether on the land or whatever) and every aspect of society controlled by government edicts, it becomes very hard to see the Roman world as anything other than evil.

    Ask me, or many others, before the Covid policies (the lockdowns, the lying, the censorship, the smearing of Early Treatment that could have saved so many lives….) whether the international order was bad and I would have give a long and complicated reply – “on the one hand….. but on the other hand…..”.

    Now the reply would be much shorter and simpler – yes the international government and corporate order is bad.

    This should be kept in mind when people or publications talk about defending the international “rules based” order, or just the “international order” – they are talking about defending something that is bad. Just bad.

    “Are you saying that, now, if you could press a magic button and cut off the Credit Bubble fiat money – and bring the international government and corporate crashing down, that you would actually press that magic button?”

    Yes I am. I would. The international order is that bad.

    But it does not matter what I, or anyone else, would now do – as the present international order (based on fiat money, Credit Bubble finance, and lying – lying about just about everything) is going to come crashing down – regardless of what we now do.

  • Paul Marks

    The international order is a rabid animal – it is a beast, and the beast must die.

    Its disease itself will kill it.

  • Sigivald

    This is me being impressed that a Jira instance can actually scale and work effectively with that MANY tickets.

  • Johnathan Pearce (London)

    Recently, those lovely people at the US Internal Revenue Service went after Taibbi. An innocent explanation, I’m sure.

  • Kirk

    Paul Marks said:

    The international order is a rabid animal – it is a beast, and the beast must die.

    Its disease itself will kill it.

    This is pretty much the way it will go. It’s like the idiots in charge of the project never met people or read any history; there is only so much “willing suspension of disbelief” in any human population, and once you’ve expended all that on frivolities? You’re done.

    The “international order”, which includes all the bestest and brightest people ever, with exquisite credentials and really high test scores? The people making that “order” up don’t seem to understand that you can’t just talk theory; you have to produce actual results that people want.

    Every regime or “state of established order” (which doesn’t necessarily come with any particular set of elites or rulers; something a regime has by definition) only has so much “credibility capital” in the bank; you start spending that, and fail to redeposit what you withdrew? You’re done. Ceaucescu found that out, the hard way, just like the rest of the Eastern Block did. Our current “elite that ain’t” is seemingly hell-bent on doing the exact same thing. End result will be exactly the same, but probably a lot uglier because the crash is going to be correspondingly harder with no outside source of aid possible.

    Nobody seems to consider what happens once nobody believes a word they see coming out of the media. Nobody seems to realize that a large part of the anarchy we’re seeing in US cities (and, other nations…) is simply down to the erosion of expectations that the population has about repercussions for what they do. When nobody calls them on their BS, they get bolder and bolder, doing more and more brazen crimes.

    What they don’t seem to get is that once things go far enough into the deep black void of anarchy, then when those same criminals try looting the local supermarket or department store, some of the customers may take for a hint that since the cops aren’t doing anything to the looters, and they would rather not go shopping twenty-thirty miles away…? Those customers may take advantage of the anarchy for some of their own self-actuating “justice”.

    The Manila Times seems to grasp what is going on:


    That’s the actual world that all these “defund the police” types are taking us into; they don’t understand that when the courts and the prisons can’t be relied upon, then the informal systems which will come in to replace them will be far harsher and a lot less “just”. At some point, once people figure out how the looting and crime affects them, personally? I look to see local guards standing themselves up to keep these stores in business and then doing really unfortunate things to anyone shoplifting.

    There’s “the way it’s always been done”, and then there’s an interregnum where that ceases to work. What comes after usually eventuates once enough people have reached their personal tipping point, their Timisoara Moment, and then the rest of the community observes and says “Ya know what…? I don’t feel like riding the damn bus for two hours to get my groceries… Here, gimme that lighter… Let’s make this little thug howl before he dies…”

  • bobby b

    Kirk, I’m in basic agreement with your points, but I’ll only really believe in them when Antifa starts dropping from snipers. The people who are mostly characterized by being on the non-transgressive side don’t easily transgress. We’re the polite ones.

  • Kirk

    @bobby b,

    The reluctance of “decent people” to do the necessary is what leads to the long flash-to-bang time for these things, and the utter insanity that then ensues.

    Social attitudes and responses don’t turn on a dime. They take forever, building up, and then it’s all “Holy shit, they’re setting that guy on fire…” From the perspective of the idjit class, it is all entirely inexplicable and utterly surprising. Yet, if you were smart enough to watch, you’d have seen the build-up going on and shaking your head the way I am.

    Today, the happy-dappy types are all decrying the apparent nasty way that that San Francisco fire captain was hosing the homeless down with bear spray; when the paradigm shift happens, they’re going to be wondering why he wasn’t just shooting them, ‘cos that’s what they’d do in his place…

    It’s absolutely enraging, because the idiots bringing this all on have no apparent realization of what they’re actually doing. And, they still won’t, once the worm turns.

    There will be a sea-change. No idea when, no idea where, but there will be a public consensus reached that these happy idiots are, indeed, idiots. All of their works and pronouncements will be found to be wanting, and they’ll become objects of utter oppobrium and mockery. From there? Watch the “heartless” new order put most of the homeless into destructive labor camps, and vagrancy becoming a capital crime.

  • Paul Marks

    Kirk and bobby b.

    When the crime (the savage chaos) gets worse – the international elite will offer their controlled society (outlined in various international agendas for a long time) as the solution.

    Create the problem – and they offer tyranny as the solution to the problem.

    “Bottom up, top down, inside out”.

    They control the education system and they control the corporate media (including the “controlled opposition” such as Fox News – ask Mr Carlson).

    And if all that is not enough – they can rig elections, which they do in some American States. And the institutionally corrupt courts and institutionally corrupt arbiters (“choose arbiters – from this list of Democrats and RINOs”) will do nothing about the rigged elections – other than punish people who complain too loudly about the rigged elections.

    Yes their fiat money, Credit Bubble, financial and economic order will collapse – that is inevitable now.

    But they know that to – and they are preparing to keep (indeed increase) their power in a post collapse world.

    Let us hope their plans fail.