- The Washington Times - Monday, June 3, 2019

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Twitter’s bought a new fake news finder — a machine learning tool devised by the London-based Fabula AI, a company co-founded by Imperial College of London scientist and researcher Michael Bronstein and by chief technologist Federico Monti, both of whom worked for a time at the University of Lugano, Switzerland.

Both of whom will be doing fake news finding work directly for Twitter, now that Twitter has acquired Fabula.

Heads up, conservatives. This may be the next big social media enemy.

The problem is this: When it comes to conservative speech, London-based scientists trained in the art of thinking globally first, sovereignly second — or not at all — may not make the most friendly partners in First Amendment free America.

“Only Six Percent Of Scientists Are Republicans: Pew Poll,” one HuffPost headline blared years ago.



The headline came from Pew’s 2009 finding that 55% in America self-identified as Democrat; another 32% as independents; only 6% as Republican. But that independent statistic is tricky. When broken down by issue, it’s found “fully 81% identify as Democrats or lean to the Democratic Party,” Pew wrote.

That’s in America.

Now add the globally focused Imperial College of London — prestigious though it is — to the mix, a place of learning that tied for Number 18 in the US News 2019 “Best Global Universities” ranking.

Now add the fact that neither London nor the United Kingdom is known as top-notch tolerators of free speech. London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, at the South by Southwest conference in 2018, called for curbs on social media speech that didn’t seem to “connect, unify and democratize the sharing of information,” as the Washington Examiner reported.

The United Kingdom, meanwhile, has banned the likes of talk show host Michael Savage for speech deemed extremist and intolerant. That’s code for free-thinking, free-wheeling, unrestrained and insightful. Or, in a word: conservative.

Suddenly, that 6% percent of American scientists who self-identify as Republican seems a pretty large pool.

Here’s another clue of how Fabula players lean: In February, Fabula.AI announced in its website the breakthrough in its fake news-detecting machine learning technology. So far, so good. But then come Fabula’s examples of so-deemed problematic fake news — A) the “highly debated 2016 presidential election in the United States and B) the “Brexit vote in the United Kingdom.”

From Fabula.AI: “In both cases, fake news is alleged to have manipulated public opinion, considered very seriously by governments as a threat to democracy and even a threat to human lives. It also presents potentially the biggest existential threat to the social media platforms Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, who face the prospect of government regulation and large-scale economic finds if they fail to bring fake news under control.”

Interesting examples, yes? The common denominator is the people’s rebuke of the political status quo — the elitist, globalist, domineering political status quo.

Nary a mention of how, say, the fake news network ramped into double time to slam Donald Trump as a racist by selectively quoting his comments about Mexico sending criminals and rapists across the border to America.

Eh. No doubt, an oversight. Right?

Anyway, the point is this: Social media already has a sting of anti-conservative bias it just can’t shake.

Twitter’s new acquisition may make a front-page splash within technology circles and with leading A.I. researchers who are all trying to break the code on machine learning bias — ostensibly, to stop it, not use it for personal dastardly means.

But A.I. that comes from a global network of scientists who more likely than not lean left on the political scales, and who more likely than not only bounce ideas off their similarly leftist leaning colleagues and acquaintances, doesn’t bode well for free-loving Americans.

It doesn’t bode well for Americans who love the easy exchange of sometimes contentious speech — and in particular, of contentious political speech.

What it does bode well for are the elitists and globalists and leftists who tout tolerance with their mouths, but tut-tut the ideas of conservatives as derisive and divisive.

Republicans, patriots, free-marketers and free-thinker-ers, make way for more Twitter censorship.

This latest partnership is sure to bring a European-tied hammer on rhetoric deemed fake. Which in the eyes and minds of most in the world of science and technology, means — conservative. And just in time for America’s next elections. How convenient.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter, @ckchumley.

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