Twitter Bitch Fight of the Week

Queen of Broadcast Kay Burley has spectacularly slapped down “the second best broadcaster on LBC” James O’Brien. Read the extraordinary conversation in full…

The whole interview is worth watching. O’Brien does not come across well…

We’ll let Guido readers decide who won that one…

Seumas is Getting Slicker

An out of character tweet this afternoon from the man who on Sunday was asked by Andrew Marr if he was an anti-semite. Is it too cynical of Guido to note the timing of this followed on from Palestinian flags being waved en masse in the conference hall – in breach of conference rules – and then a vote condemning Israel and freezing arms sales to a key military and intelligence ally in the war on terror? Seumas is getting slicker…



The optics of that flag waving are not great with many voters outside Gaza. It will take a lot more than a few tweets to convince British Jews that Corbyn’s Labour Party isn’t hostile…

Happy #PositiveTwitterDay

It is not just pay day today, it is #PositiveTwitterDay. Let’s try for one day to make Twitter a positive experience for everyone…

Spread a bit of civility in these polarised times. Twitter can be a place for the exchange of information rather than the abuse of political opponents. The power of positive tweeting…

To tweet your support just click this link #PositiveTwitterDay

Wes Streeting Quitting… Twitter

 

Wes Streeting has announced that he is stepping back from twitter after it “has increasingly become an angry swamp to the extent that its utility is outweighed by the negativity.” Guido agrees, and has invited Wes to join him for #PositiveTwitterDay this Friday where, for one day at least, we all try to be nice and civil in our tweets.

One last hurrah?

Twitter Bitch Fight of the Week

Remainer’s favourite loopy Twitter lord, Andrew Adonis has found himself in a twitter bitch fight with wet Tory Tom Tugendhat. After referring to Tugendhat in a tweet as ‘dripping’ (without even the courtesy of tagging him – very bad twitter etiquette), Tugendhat slapped back with ‘you’re just another troll’, before seeing Adonis off with a final rhetorical soccer punch. Worth reading the sharp exchange in full below…

I’m Supporting #Positive Twitter Day on Friday, August 31

On August 31 back in 2012 Sunder Katwala and Guido promoted with temporary success, a “Positive Twitter Day“. Twitter, especially the political Twittersphere, can be a horrible nasty place, what with the culture wars and political extremists generally being unpleasant. None of us are immune from it. Wouldn’t it be pleasantly calming if for just one day we all tried to be nice and civil in our tweets? The idea came originally from the invariably polite Sunder Katwala and he agrees with Guido we should try again. We sorely need to try again…

If well known Twitter curmudgeons re-tweeted the hashtag #PositiveTwitterDay and entered into the spirit of the day on Friday, August 31, it might spread a bit of civility in these polarised times. Guido for his part is determined to have civil, positive discussions today with the likes of Owen or Raheem. The power of positive tweeting…

To tweet your support just click this link #PositiveTwitterDay

The Exiling of InfoWars from Social Media

Guido is instinctively uncomfortable with censorship, even of liars. In the marketplace of ideas, good ideas should best bad ideas in free debate. That is the theory. So the exiling of Alex Jones from Facebook, Apple’s iTunes, YouTube, Vimeo, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Flickr, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn and MailChimp seems to be shutting down open debate. Twitter have now put Alex Jones in a half-way house where he is unable to tweet. That cuts off Alex Jones from most of his audience.

He’s not completely exiled from public discourse, the InfoWars apps are available to download, his website is running. His freedom of speech has not been taken away, Big Tech has just exiled him from their huge social media audiences. They are it seems to Guido making an example of him because he is the highest profile “fake news” outlet associated with Trump. The tech titans are of course completely within their rights to purge InfoWars from their platforms.

Jones says “Mass censorship of conservatives and libertarians is exploding. You’ve already seen this with the demonetization and ultimate purge of Infowars and other alternative media outlets by mega-corporations working in tangent to stifle competition.” He is right in that it really does seem that it is right-of-centre voices that are being purged disproportionately, the left argues that is because the right are disproportionately “haters”. The alt-right does revel in being provocatively confrontational. Milo being kicked off Twitter was an early sign of this reaction.

If the social media platforms are going to start discriminating about what content they will host and distribute they will become like the US TV networks, seen as partisan and thus subject to partisan heckling. The left are hard-wired to “no platform” people, banning voices they don’t like, the right are not so temperamentally inclined. This means there is a continuous lobbying from the left to silence people they don’t like; the ceaseless effort to get advertiser boycotts of the popular press, to get Nigel Farage off LBC, Owen Jones’ shrill screeching about Andrew Neil (nothing to do with his humiliation at Brillo’s hands). Does all this matter much to voters? Only at the margins, those who want Alex Jones will still be able to get Alex Jones. It increases the self-filtering effect on public discourse. As our information sources become ever more filtered we live in our own increasingly polarised social media echo chambers, that is not good for democracy.

Farage v Verhofstadt

It’s all kicking off between Nigel Farage and Guy Verhofstadt. The European Parliament’s Brexit coordinator has boldly accused Nige of taking Kremlin money:

Farage says that is a lie:

Can Guy back up his claims? If not it looks like Farage could lawyer up…

Iran v Israel

Clear slam dunk for the girls from Jerusalem…

Viral Dad on Science Museum School Trip Made Up Story, Deletes Account

Twitter users may have seen a viral thread posted yesterday by “Simon from Harlow”, a dad live-tweeting a school trip to the Science Museum gone wrong. Simon’s “hilarious” story featuring crying, vomiting and lost children was retweeted thousands of times, gained him 7,000 new followers and was reported by pretty much all major news outlets – it was even a page lead in The Times. Unfortunately Simon has since admitted he largely made the story up and has now deleted his account. He is refusing interviews but says he is “very sorry”, “no real children” were in danger, and the thread “got out of hand”. Peak Twitter.

Michael Dugher v Owen Jones

Michael Dugher shot straight back at Owen Jones after the Corbynista commentator criticised the former Labour MP for swearing on Twitter. Jones accused Dugher of “online abuse” – somewhat ironic since the discussion was about Jones’s Angela Smith pile-on.

Owen was triggered:

Dugher speaking for most Labour MPs there…

Twitter Down

Twitter is down – thousands of users have reported service interruptions and difficulties accessing their timelines. The Down Detector website recorded a spike in outages. TweetDeck seems unaffected. You’ve gone too far this time, Vlad…

Weapons-Grade Clusterf**k

Got to hand it to this government, who true to form have managed to turn the one positive narrative they’ve had in months into a total omnishambles. This incorrect FCO tweet from two weeks ago claiming Porton Down experts had determined the Novichok was made in Russia has been deleted. Whichever FCO mandarin who tried to disappear this tweet to cover up their incompetence has properly landed everyone else in it. 

Screengrab via Paul Waugh

Russia was clearly responsible for the attack on the Skripals – as the Porton Down scientist said yesterday it had to be a state actor – and the intelligence obviously points to Russia. Yet Gary Aitkenhead’s interview was a total PR disaster, giving out the misleading top line that the government can’t be sure it was Russia. Why did the MoD let this broadcast novice in front of the cameras?

Just when May had succeeded in getting the international community on board – one of her best achievements to date – they have conjured doubt where there should be none. Russia is already taking full advantage, gleefully tweeting out the deleted FCO screengrab and making out the British government lied. Corbynistas are echoing the conspiratorial Kremlin line and claiming this proves Seumas and Corbyn were right all along. All the grown ups in Whitehall are on holiday as the UK’s position internationally becomes needlessly undermined. What a mess.

Kinder, Gentler Politics Latest

These are just some of the private messages sent by Corbyn supporters to young Tory activist Alice Terry on Twitter over the last 24 hours:

Surely at some stage surely the Corbynistas must look at themselves and ask: “Are we the baddies?

Dugher v Skwawkbox

When Corbynista “trolling fake news nob head” Skwawkbox asked UK Music boss Michael Dugher why he was at the Brit Awards, the former Labour MP responded in characteristic fashion:

Sadly the volume of sweary anonymous quotes from Labour MPs has plummeted since Dugher left Westminster…

Aaronovitch Talking “Sh*t”

Times columnist David Aaronovitch took the high ground when engaging with a critic who called him “a sh*t”, boasting grandly: “I don’t call people ‘sh*t’ on Twitter”. Guido fact check:

Aaronovitch went on to lecture his troll that there is “no excuse” for calling someone a “sh*t” on Twitter…

Hodges v Hendopolis

The two egos guilty of ruining Sunday night Twitter this week were the Mail on Sunday’s Dan Hodges and Neil Henderson of the BBC’s #TomorrowsPapersToday. Henderson kicked things off by countering criticism over his failure to tweet last week’s MoS Brendan Cox front page citing “legal advice”. Dan then reached Peak Hodges when he proceeded to attempt to explain libel law to specialist libel barrister Greg Callus.

It ended with Dan unfollowing Neil and Neil then blocking Dan…

May’s Chief of Staff in Late Night “Twinkystar69” Porn Shocker

The late night activities of Gavin Barwell, Theresa May’s chief of staff in Number 10, are usually limited to tweeting from Nando’s. On Monday night however, it appears he was choking the chicken rather than eating it.

Barwell’s Twitter account replied to a pornographic tweet featuring two ‘teen schoolgirls’ and their ‘mom’, as well as a second video from the niche website Blacked.com. Guido has analysed the tweets and determined it is impossible that Barwell was hacked or clicked on a funny link. The only way he could have tweeted a reply featuring these handles – which were tagged into the original porn tweet – is if he was viewing the tweet in question. The porn account’s name is “Twinkystar“, and Gavin was viewing it on his Android device at 9:21pm. At least he wasn’t doing it in the office, right Gavin? 

UPDATE: Barwell has now deleted the tweet, proving he does have access to his account.

UPDATE II: Told Barwell was not in Downing Street when he sent porn reply (phew!). No. 10 source: “Gavin Barwell replied to this tweet, which was in his timeline, in error. He has deleted the reply and regrets the embarrassment this has caused.”

Sunday Times’ Shippers v FT’s Spiegel

A classic Media Twitter Bitch Fight over the weekend, as the Sunday Times’ Tim Shipman and the FT’s Peter Spiegel argued about who scooped whom. Particular highlights are Shippers on the “classic FT self-satisfied and patronising tone” and Spiegel’s catty remark about a departing Sunday Times hack.

After some even early jousting, Guido reckons the more experienced Twitter streetfighter Shippers took it with the final zinger.

49 Russian Twitter Trolls Sent Just 942 Tweets During Referendum

Over in Washington, Twitter’s Nick Pickles has told grandstanding Damian Collins and his Culture, Media and Sport select committee that the company detected just 49 accounts linked to a Russian “troll factory”, which sent out a mere 942 tweets during the EU referendum.[…] Read the rest

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Quote of the Day

Andrea Leadsom told BBC Radio 4’s Today

“He’s made his views on Brexit on the record, and the problem with that of course is that the chair’s impartiality is absolutely essential. … He’s made his views known on Brexit… it’s a matter for him but nevertheless it’s a challenge and all colleagues need to form their own view of that.”

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