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Police spy on George Floyd protests with help from Twitter

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Police spy on George Floyd protests with help from Twitter

By Comrade Hash

There’s no denying that social media has the potential to be a tool used toward liberation. Never before has humanity been so able to share information, connect with people around the globe, and do so every second of the day.

These tools, however, are in the hands of profit-chasing corporations. These corporations keep trying to scale back on the parts of their technology that empower colonized people, and scale up money-making schemes.

The rise of Dataminr

In recent years, Twitter developed a system where they “verify” certain accounts using a secret process. These accounts then get special privileges and a popularity boost.

Also, the twitter stream is now “smart”, which means that an algorithm designed by white people shows you only what it wants you to see. This again is an example of the colonial lines drawn by technological tools. These threats of surveillance and control exist because corporations have complete dictatorship over social media, and will use it to maintain control over colonized people.

Make no mistake, this is colonial brainwashing and propaganda.

Facing a wave of public backlash during the George Floyd protests, Twitter made a big fuss about preventing pigs from using the platform to spy on protesters. Surprising absolutely nobody, it turns out that Twitter invests in Dataminr, a company that sells “curated data feeds”. Who do they sell this private information to? I’ll give you three guesses.

A picture of three pigs
Here, I’ll make it easy for you.

What’s the difference between “surveillance” and “curated data feeds”? Nothing, unless you built a career on making excuses for violent repression, like the “executive vice president” of Dataminr:

“We sell to law enforcement…situational awareness through real time events, [where in] many of which people’s lives are at stake, and they can respond more quickly and save lives. … Ultimately what we’re doing is we’re providing a check and balance for [police]. … Those alerts provide context to the world keeping people safe, and enabling people to do so in a way that isn’t about trying to invade user privacy, but quite the opposite. It helps magnify their voice.”

It’s not just Twitter

Twitter isn’t the only big name in the business in partnership with the feds. For example, Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, has been called the “face of neocolonialism” by Indigenous Hawaiians for trying to “legally” steal their land.

Although much of Facebook’s profits come from other corporations and from government contracts, liberal Facebook vowed to prevent police from using data for “surveillance” in 2017 following the Ferguson uprising sparked by the murder of Mike Brown.

Sure enough, in 2018, it came to light that police were still using Facebook to monitor Black protesters.

And I oop

If we learn anything from Indigenous people, it’s that we should never trust the white ruling class to keep their promises.

Liberal promises

Social media is only as revolutionary as the people who have a dictatorship over it. The tech sector of the white ruling class is working night and day to keep their dictatorship for their own profit. The work exposes everything.

If Twitter truly wanted to stop police surveillance they would, but that would mean loss of profits.

The liberal promises that social media gives out are fake. The pigs are the ones who defend them, so there’s no material reason for these companies to weaken the colonial police. 

On the topic of white liberals, Malcolm X explains,

“The white liberal differs from the white conservative only in one way; the liberal is more deceitful, more hypocritical, than the conservative. Both want power, but the white liberal is the one who has perfected the art of posing as the Negro’s friend.”

Social media is not a liberatory tool because Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (which is owned by Facebook) are not liberatory institutions. Whenever social media is used to threaten parasitic corporations or the colonial state that protects them, they will turn into weapons against poor and working class colonized people.

An African man screams as four pigs pin him to a vehicle

It’s no wonder that Twitter was so quick to ban Black Hammer’s account, accounts from the Venezuelan government, and anti-colonial, anti-imperialist Chinese accounts.

Colonized people should have dictatorship over our land, lives, and our information, not colonizers like Zuckerberg. 

When it comes to stopping police surveillance and repression, colonized people can rely on nobody’s tools but our own.


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