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Biden's 'Minister of Truth' complains about Twitter users who 'shouldn't be verified,' claims disinformation 'manipulates our emotions'

"I always like to say that disinformation exploits the trust gap," Nina Jankowicz said. "It is manipulating our emotions."

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Libby Emmons Brooklyn NY
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Biden's new "Minister of Truth" Nina Jankowicz addressed a panel on a Zoom call about the benefits of editing other people's tweets in a newly surfaced video.

In what appears to be a conversation about Twitter's Birdwatch feature, which was eligible for Twitter verified users, Jankowicz laments that "there are a lot of people who shouldn't be verified, who aren't, you know, legit, in my opinion. I mean, they are real people, but they're not trustworthy," she told those on the call.

"Anyway," she went on. "So verified people can essentially start to edit Twitter, the same sort of way that Wikipedia is so they can add context to certain tweets."

"So just as an easy example, not from any political standpoint," she said, before launching into a political example, "if President Trump were still on Twitter and tweeted a claim about voter fraud, someone could add context from one of the 60 lawsuits that went through the court or something that an election official in one of the states said. Perhaps your own Secretary of State and his news conferences, something like that, adding context so that people have a fuller picture rather than just an individual claim on a tweet."

According to Twitter, "Birdwatch allows people to identify information in Tweets they believe is misleading and write notes that provide informative context. We believe this approach has the potential to respond quickly when misleading information spreads, adding context that people trust and find valuable. Eventually, we aim to make notes visible directly on Tweets for the global Twitter audience, when there is consensus from a broad and diverse set of contributors."

While also on the call, Jankowicz spoke about how "disinformation" has affected American culture at large. For Jankowicz, "disinformation" is a symptom of the decline in trust that Americans have for their institutions.

"I always like to say that disinformation exploits the trust gap," she said. "It is manipulating our emotions." She shared a chart that showed her findings, saying "I love this chart which is now wow, three years old, hard to believe I've been giving a version of this presentation for three years. But here we are.

The chart, she said, "shows the change in trust in institutions from 2017 to 2018. This is produced by the Edelman Trust Barometer, which does the survey every year. And you see from 2017 to 2018, we had this just absolutely catastrophic fall off and trust in institutions in the United States. I would wager that among many of these countries that had a negative trend from 2017 to 2018, the decrease has been even larger since then, mostly because of the pandemic.

"And that kind of gives you an idea of why COVID disinformation has been so successful because we already were in this distrustful environment toward our institutions, which then continued to lead us astray and present really difficult to discern information, etc, etc," she went on.

"Again, remembering that this trust gap is key to successful disinformation campaigns that emotion is key to those disinformation campaigns is something that I want you to keep with you, not only as you're navigating the news environment, but to remind your students of as well," Jankowicz said.

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