More Information Wars 107

I am subject to a very peculiar hidden censorship by Twitter. I have long noted that many of the articles I deem most important were reaching far fewer people than I might expect through Twitter, whereas inconsequential tweets reach large numbers with ease. I decided to do a controlled test on this, with a content free tweet.


This got retweeted 131 times and was seen by 134,576 people.

That’s 1,027 people per retweet.

That is the neutral control. Now here is the tweet of an article which I believe to be very important.

That got retweeted 419 times but was seen by just 38,288 people.

That’s 91 people per retweet.

On that measure 11 times less than the content free tweet.

The “Impressions” measure is governed by Twitter actually introducing the Tweet into somebody’s timeline. When I tweet, (the same principle applies when somebody retweets) Twitter does not just automatically drop that tweet into the timeline of all 80,000 people who follow me. It starts with a sample of those, and then an algorithm increases the number depending on how popular the tweet was. There are a number of moving parts to that, but retweets is a major factor. Yet in this instance, a tweet which is retweeted by over 1.1% of those who see it, is given far less exposure by twitter than a tweet retweeted by less than 0.1% of those who see it.

The reason that I did this experiment is that I have been observing this happening for a long time, with many of my most important tweets suppressed. Either there is electronic monitoring and analysis of subject matter to suppress certain political subjects, or there is active human monitoring. I am very much inclined to believe the latter, because I find the suppression kicking in is quite nuanced; it depends not so much on subject matter, as on precisely my take on the subject matter and how far it challenges the mainstream narrative.

Impressions per retweet is a rough measure of what is going on. For a more accurate measure you would need to divide Impressions by: my 80,000 follows plus the totaled follows of all who retweeted, in each case. But the rough measure is a good indication that something is amiss. As I said, I am attempting to measure a phenomenon I have noticed over a long period.

Yesterday, my friend Stuart Campbell had all his twitter accounts cancelled. The highly popular Wings Over Scotland account was taken down some time ago, and now his personal account and his old Sealand Gazette account have also been taken down. This is following a campaign against him by activists opposed to his view on trans rights. I do not share Stu’s views on that specific subject, but the attempt to impose conformity of opinion and to limit the right of free expression is appalling.

These attacks on free speech matter.

Sadly the internet has developed in such a way that alternative media outlets like this one are highly dependent on two major corporate gatekeepers – Facebook and Twitter – for bringing in the majority of our traffic. Both have instituted policies of deliberate suppression of views which do not accord to the agenda of the mainstream media.

The reason that my tweet in this instance was suppressed is that it points to my article giving information on the UK government’s coronavirus App which you will not find in the mainstream media.

I find Twitter much worse than Facebook in this regard. A few years ago I would have mentioned Google as a major source of traffic too, but that pass has long been sold. This website used to get a great deal of traffic from Google, but even though our readership is now many times what it was a few years ago, Google has penalised alternative media heavily in its rankings and we now get almost no traffic from that source.

People learn. About 40% of readers of this site now just come straight here, and not from any link or source, just dropping in themselves to see if anything new. Five years ago that number was less than 10%. The internet retains its ability to work round blockages, because it empowers the ingenuity of people.  Keep that hopeful thought and cherish it.

With grateful thanks to those who donated or subscribed to make this reporting possible.

This article is entirely free to reproduce and publish, including in translation, and I very much hope people will do so actively. Truth shall set us free.


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107 thoughts on “More Information Wars

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    For what it’s worth I open your blog as a tab automatically whenever I open firefox. I usually get a twitter message when you add an update. I cannot remember not getting a tweet when there was a new post on the blog. I live in Vietnam. Perhaps the censorship is focused on the UK or Scotland in particular?

  • DoctorK

    I don’t do twitter, I don’t do facebook, I don’t do google.
    Or paypal, or amazon.
    It is possible, you know, there are less evil alternatives.
    As for this site, it’s as AAVMN says.

  • Goose

    Yes, it’s definitely a thing, and on Youtube too. Both individuals(Twitter) and popular(but controversial) videos can be hidden from search results, or put in the digital equivalent of sin bins.

    Obviously these tech giants have come under mounting pressure from the politicians (since alleged Russian ‘ election meddling’ and the Cambridge Analytica scandal) they’ve overreacted by instituting, overly aggressive, wide-ranging , totally opaque censorship and suppression policies, that are imho, worse than the alleged problem they are trying to solve. Whether it’s AI controlled (machine learning – based on ‘key’ words) or human isn’t clear. But there is definitely an agenda favouring mainstream ‘centrist/ centre-right opinion and suppressing dissenting/controversial opinion. It’s antithetical to the values the west claims it’s defending.

    • Ralph

      ‘Obviously these tech giants have come under mounting pressure from the politicians’ – wrong, they’re all in it together.
      How do you think google was allowed to grow so big so fast, withOUT m$ offering any proper competition??? And m$ couldn’t even get into 2nd spot, beaten by yahoo, and is STILL pathetic?

      • Goose

        I think that’s a fair point. Their sheer size, wealth leaves them vulnerable to political threats(antitrust investigation) and blackmail. Basically these billionaire owners are have to say ‘how high?’ when the politicians say ‘jump’.

        There is loads of consolidation going on too, both in terms of ISP mergers and increasing use of CDNs.

    • Johny Conspiranoid

      That should be worse than the alleged problem they are allegedly trying to solve.

  • Tom

    Maybe you should encourage followers to use third party Twitter clients to read your posts and all the others they follow or have in lists? Personally I use Tweetbot as it syncs my unread across 3 devices but no doubt there are other and better although Twitter has been clamping down on their functionality for some years, presumably in the hope of starving them of utility.

    I just checked my account on a browser and was horrified at what it shows: none of the people I follow on the front page, then a very limited selection of the latest when I visit the home tab. Can’t comment further as I so rarely use the web browser version.

  • Shatnersrug

    Google is an absolute joke, if you remove the overtMy political And just want to search for say, some articles or blogs on woodworking you are now confronted with several pages of adverts for equipment or crappy made in china wood products.

    Google used to be an incredible search engine, one that could plough the depths of the internet. Now it’s a search engine for yellow pages, I’ve actually found myself using yandex for searches, it pulls far more interesting stuff up and doesn’t censor news that questions the western narrative

    Don’t worry Craig I check you every day!

    • Yr Hen Gof

      I have to agree and indeed everybody I’ve discussed it with says the same thing: “Google is an absolute joke”.
      It is indeed Yellow Pages for 2020 and not very good Yellow Pages at that. When I might be interested in buying a product they often send me to sites on the pretense that a company might sell what I’m looking for, only to find that either they did once but don’t now, they’re out of stock, or the page is no longer available. I get most of my leads from specific interest groups that I’m a registered member of.

  • David

    I use RSS feed reader to flag up new content on this site. Saves me checking every day. Just off to check my Twitter feed…

  • marcel

    That censorship is why I left FB. Posts I saw on my smartphone were disappeared on my PC and vice-versa.
    I think the algorithms are strong enough to make your ‘unwanted’ disappear without human intervention, even though Twitter is just an arm of some evil force, shutting down accounts of anybody telling hard truths.

    I know you put out a new article because the RSS feed your site provides tells me so, and that cannot be controlled by GAFA trolls (that is probably also why that feature tends to disappear).

    (btw, thank you for your hard work and all info you provide to the world)

  • robert

    in order for anyone to know how many have read your tweet there must be a feedback loop, therefore, you ARE being monitored

  • Republicofscotland

    Twitter has suspended the Revs accounts for no apparent reason, yours is doctored. The Rev was forced to defend himself in a trial, as was Salmond, and Wightman, now your heading for the dock yourself.

    The games rigged, the decks stacked, for the likes of you and the others, social media giants don’t want you informing the public, no that won’t do at all.

    Best to start singing Vera Lynn songs and waving the Butchers Apron (which is in overload today) to get results.

    • Steeve Greene

      Craig will not get anywhere near a courtroom. They would have to reveal all their secrets and other nefarious bullshit.

      I don’t understand why we are not all setting up blogs in support of CM. How would we go about doing this?

      I don’t care if some suits show up at my front door and want to talk to me. I’m a decent homebrewer and they would enjoy drinking a few cold ones and shooting the shit about the last twenty years of turds.

      At some point, the suits are the people we are going to have to turn.

      • humph28

        Hi Steeve

        A very good idea, I also would be interested to find a way of suppporting Mr Murray….. if you hear anything please let me know. thank you

  • Devonshire Dozer

    I don’t do Twatter, Farcebook or Gargle. Nor do I read newspapers, watch any live TV or radio, never see TV ‘news’ & hear radio ‘news’, largely because I realised some years ago that these media are populated entirely by pretty boys & bimbos who are barely able to read the teleprompters regurgitating the latest PR driven nonsense.

    Whilst not agreeing with some of your views, I always read what you write & feel better informed for it. Usually notified by RSS feed then it’s straight to your website.

    Incidentally, YouTube (aka Google) also seem to be applying censorship in quite a big way. One of the alternatives seems to be an outfit called ‘bitchute’. If you do any more videos (I’m not generally a fan of them BTW), you might want to give it a go.

  • Alex Birnie

    I have absolutely no clue as to the technical stuff you are talking about, Craig, but I can understand the dangers of censorship. I too have a direct link to your blog on my tablet, and I very rarely look at Twitter, unless someone like you directs me to a particular thread.

    I detest Stu Campbell’s views on most things, but I completely agree that his right to be heard should be protected by everyone who values freedom. The only caveat I have about Stu being shut down, is that my first reaction to the news was “the biter has been bit”. Stu has no hesitation in blocking views from people who offer him alternative views to his own. Nevertheless, the principle stands.

    • mogabee

      In case you hadn’t noticed, blocking someone on twitter does not stop your voice being heard. That’s the difference.

  • Giovanni Dall'Orto

    I’ve learned too. I cannot get “push” updates from several Twitter accounts I follow, so I saved them on my desktop by bookmarking their internet address through a browser, and once a week I check what I missed.
    It works, and the more I use this method the more I notice it is always the same accounts that got a “shadowban”. You may not criticise neoliberalism, the USA and UK military, Syrian and Iranian opposition, Israel, and for some unknown reason, trans activists.

  • Martyman

    Craig – does the way that people set their twitter feed view, have an effect on this? I set my twitter feed to “latest tweets”, in the hope that I would be looking at ALL tweets & retweets posted by who I follow (up to the hourly limit). But I know that many people just use the default “home” view, where Twitter shows what it deems as “Top Tweets”.

  • Ena

    Perhaps make youtube videos. That would reach out to an audience more efficient than social media, no?

  • Ronnie

    I think you should get a mailing list sorted Craig.

    I’m increasingly concerned about the control of Facebook and Twitter so best get pro-active imo.

    Keep up the great work!

  • MrSoft

    One tweet was posted a month ago and the other was only two days ago. The number of Twitter impressions are therefore not comparable.
    A far better comparison is the ratio of the number of likes to the number of impressions, which actually match almost perfectly between the two tweets. There is no evidence of any Twitter censorship going on at all. Sorry about that!
    Also if you ask for something not to be retweeted then it’s no surprise that it isn’t.

    • Ralph

      ‘There is no evidence of any Twitter censorship going on at all. Sorry about that!’ You mean, YOU don’t have any evidence, or you don’t recognise any evidence? The FACT is that they are all part of the corrupt MSM, and you haven’t noticed this yet?
      There is plenty of evidence on shitter censorship, faecesbook too, not to mention the Orwellian ‘Suspended’ shitter accounts which are PERMANENTLY suspended.

    • Stonky

      Also if you ask for something not to be retweeted then it’s no surprise that it isn’t…

      Congratulations on not understanding a word of the point that Craig was making, and thanks for taking the trouble to let us all see that you didn’t understand a word of the point he was making…

      • MrSoft

        If you ask for a tweet not to be retweeted, then the number of times it is retweeted or the ratio of retweets/impressions ratio becomes an unreliable and irrelevant parameter. This is not evidence of censorship, though by definition accounts being suspended or deleted by Twitter (rightly or wrongly) is. The only significant factor in the example given by Mr Murray is that one tweet is far older than the other and so has far more impressions.

        • Stonky

          The only significant factor in the example given by Mr Murray is that one tweet is far older than the other and so has far more impressions…

          Really? Well I’ve got fifty quid says you’re wrong. II’ll take a stab that 80% of impressions happen in the first week after a tweet is posted. So the fact that one tweet is a month old and one is three days old is irrelevant.

          And I’ll put my money where my mouth is. Fifty quid says the Civil Liberties tweet won’t get to half the impressions the first one gets. I’m wrong, I’ll give you fifty quid. I’m right, you pay fifty to Craig’s fund. Deal?

          • MrSoft

            The number of impressions is not public so your deal is not possible, but I’m happy to wait for a month and see what the number of likes shows us.

          • Stonky

            Craig can give us a screen grab of the number of impressions, and I’m a man of my word. I’ll pony up if I’m wrong. If you want to come here and wave your walloper around, then have the cojones to put your money where your mouth is. Likes appears to round to the nearest thousand, but if you want to run with that what’s your counter-offer?

          • MrSoft

            OK Stonky – see you here on the 9th June. I’m a man of my word too. My £50 will go to the British Lung Foundation, but if you think Mr Murray needs your money more than any charity then that’s a matter for you.

  • Eleanor

    Craig, I add Twitter accounts whose tweets I don’t want to miss to a private ‘list’. This is in effect just a separate feed which is not subject to the home feed algorithm/suppression and seems to display all posts from all members. Maybe you could advise your followers to do the same? Just a thought.

  • Bill Thomson

    More than a couple of times I have asked my girlfriend to explain to me what Twitter is and it’s purported purpose.
    Still haven’t got a clue.

  • Sopo

    I do this too. It would work perfectly, but it never (for myself) turns off retweets, even if I have set that option for each account followed, so any account persistently RTing quickly dominates the list feed. I have given up on it for now.

    • N_

      Any “radical” who has been involved in places such as Twitter and Facebook has made a fool of themselves – but hey, it’s never too late to wise up, so let’s have a laugh together and move on. We all do foolish stuff sometimes.

      Indeed let’s all benefit from what they’ve learnt from the experience, because at least some of it will be applicable in the real world. That’s even if the wisest among them will probably feel like burying their heads in the sand for a few decades out of shame and being “burnt out”.

      Radical critics should withdraw from many other “sucking-pits” too or at least scale down their activities there, so as to concentrate on QUALITY. Sorry but radical blogging isn’t about to storm and overturn the world of journalism. Similarly the Jeremy Corbyn era is over and we should now go exclusively extraparliamentary – that’s obvious.

      In Britain, test a person’s sense on how they talk about the NHS maybe…

      Let’s go smaller but better…

      People should keep their minds and souls…that’s very important.

      We’ll be in a better position to contribute to larger-scale struggles when they arise too…

  • N_

    On Twitter…recall Mussolini’s definition of fascism: “when you can’t put a cigarette paper between the interests of the government and corporate business interests”. Benito knew what he was talking about.

    Quality compared with quantity is far superior on this website to what it is on the associated area on Twitter. We can’t measure that because quality and quantity are so different but I am sure it is true. On an email mailing-list the quality per quantity would be even better. It’s nice to have a public face but it can be a trap.

    Most of those 134,576 people probably think Coca-Cola is a nutritious and healthy drink, as well as being terrified that their neighbour who doesn’t clap enthusiastically for Boris Johnson might give them the lergy.

    On the other hand, when CIA front Twitter tries to reduce the reach of your message you know you’re saying something worthwhile.

    There has been a clampdown on a number of other sites too (such as the Germa social site in relation to “coronavirus conspiracy theory”, in other words any written material that challenges fascism.

  • jake

    I don’t think anyone especially wants to censor what Craig writes. What they want to know is who reads it. They’ll be particularly interested in who makes a point of linking to it directly, not those who happen upon it because it’s trending or has oodles of likes.

    • N_

      “Censorship” was the wrong word.

      The bigger ballpark is the type of conditioning where the more “acceptable” what a person says, the more allowed it is to spread…and people then ADJUST THEIR BEHAVIOUR accordingly.

      You see that all over the internet.
      That is one of the main functions of the internet.
      You see it all over the culture generally.

    • Mightydrunken

      No they would rather “censor”. True “they” probably know who reads Craig’s blog if they wanted to look up the data but what could they do? If they can suppress inconvenient information then they can “control the narrative”. If most people think the government is doing a good job then they will get re-elected. No one cares about the us the minority who have a better handle of the truth.
      Winner takes all.

  • Peter A Bell

    This highlights the importance of sharing material in as may ways as possible. We have alternative media. What we need is alternative distribution.

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    Think about this from the commercial perspective for Twatter. Taking down the hugely popular Wings account was odd, completely removing Stu’s accounts is odder still. Ditto sensoring / fucking about with the Craig Murray account.
    To the extent that Twatter is a viable commercial enterprise and not just a cash sink / Ponzi scheme, you’d have to wonder whether they have a stronger income stream from the Intel services of Western States.
    If Twatter has removed all Stu’s options perhaps he’ll take his patronage to Mastodon?

    • Antiwar7

      Twitter, Google search, and Facebook have tremendous value in their power to shape perceptions of the masses. That’s why Jeff Bezos of Amazon bought the Washington Post. It wasn’t for realizing any direct profit.

      The powers that be certainly know this.

    • Spencer Eagle

      Crickey, no sooner than Mark Dice posted that video critical of Facebook’s ‘impartial’ Oversight Board they’ve removed his channel completely. Hardly surprising because it showed how politically biased the appointees are.

        • Spencer Eagle

          It was, but it’s back, maybe taking it down would be more embarrassing for them than leaving it up.

          • nevermind

            Taking it down anf then reinstating is a message in itself, i.e ‘shut up and repent’

  • DaveH

    I suggest you also use a twitter alternative, for instance Mastodon. Then you know that your messages would get out.

    In your place I’d also post all content on a alternative social media platform. Just in case the authorities go for your hoster.

    Best wishes,

  • Sam

    Twitter is a fucking joke.

    I am a “nobody” with just a few thousand followers who used to tweet about boring, everyday nonsense (started in 2009, so I have a long track record). But when I saw a documentary on shadow banning a couple of years ago, I wrote three angry tweets to a fellow countryman who works at Twitter and was partly involved in the practice.

    Next thing I know, my impressions/reach/everything dropped to near zero. And I got straight up blocked by several prominent twitter accounts in the country.

    I should add that this whole thing took place in a language that isn’t English, so it isn’t of much interest HERE on Mr. Murray’s website. Just wanted to say that it’s going on everywhere.

  • Carl

    “The reason that my tweet in this instance was suppressed is that it points to my article giving information on the UK government’s coronavirus App which you will not find in the mainstream media”

    Once upon a time I think the fact a guy controlling a nationwide surveillance tool has longstanding ties to Israeli military intelligence would have piqued the interest of at least some mainstream journalists. Or am I misremembering?

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