Why do politicians and their staff even use Twitter?

No good ever comes from letting a politician or a staffer tweet, unless you are Donald Trump.

No swinging voter, ever, has been swayed by a tweet. So why do politicians and their staff even bother, it just seems fraught with danger.

It’s the last thing Malcolm Turnbull needs.

A day after hosing down rumours of a rift between the US and Australia, a staff member from the Australian Prime Minister’s own office has been caught sharing anti-Donald Trump propaganda.

Sydney radio station 2GB reported this afternoon the executive assistant to the PM’s chief of staff, Drew Clarke, had been suspended indefinitely.   Read more »

Finally David has a Goliath in his corner

Israeli Leaders quite understandably have hailed the ‘New Era’ of Donald Trump after eight long and painful years of Barack Obama’s leadership. It is worth noting that Donald Trump has been described as a “true friend of Israel” given that Whaleoil published the responses from three of New Zealand’s political parties to the question, ” Are you a friend of Israel? “

Maori Party response

Act Party Response

Labour Party response

Both the National Party and NZ First did not respond to the question.

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Mike King points out one of the many serious flaws with social media

Both Facebook and Twitter are failing to provide consistency in their business models. No matter what side of the free speech divide you are on as a customer you expect a business to enforce its rules fairly and dispassionately. Furthermore, you expect its rules to be simple and easy to understand so they are easy to enforce.Mike King has alerted Facebook to a serious issue that is still unresolved. It should not be this hard to get a suicide video removed and it reflects the worldwide problem of social media giants who are unable or unwilling to moderate their forums adequately or consistently.Ironically Facebook has a suicide prevention feature but it has failed to remove a video of an actual suicide.

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Another example of a value system that doesn’t match ours

In my article on Sunday, I wrote about how Muslims are the group impacting the West most because of their birth rates and because of their demands on our Christian and secular societies that reflect their different values. A Syrian refugee who writes for the Huffington Post is an excellent example of a Muslim who has a value system that is completely at odds with a society that defends women’s rights.  18-year-old Aras Bacho tweeted that women should not be out alone at night. He also blamed women for the sex attacks across Germany last year on New Year’s eve.

…In a perhaps revealing statement about the attitudes of Syrian refugee men, Bacho — who writes frequently for the Huffington Post’s German website — said: “Most of the time the women are to blame. To be alone at night. On the other hand, the refugees should behave”.

…His tweet, on his verified account, has been live for over 5 days at the time of publication, and the Huffington Post shows no signs of relieving him of his duties as a columnist, with his latest column being filed 5 days after the offending tweet.

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Bill English on the leadership of the National party in his own words

In March of this year Jarrod Gilbert interviewed Bill English. The interview was published in the NZ Herald, but Gilbert left out this part:


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On Wednesday #DumpKelloggs #1 trending topic in the U.S.

Cereal company Kelloggs chose to politicise their advertising choices when they publically withdrew their advertisements from Media powerhouse Breitbart News. They  claimed that the site’s values were not aligned with their own. Breitbart that has an audience of 45,000,000 readers, (many of whom are Kellogg’s customers ) did not take the attack against their income sitting down. They declared war on Kelloggs and organised a boycott against the company on Wednesday. As a result of their action  #DumpKelloggs became the most popular trending topic on Twitter in the United States that same day.

The message to politically minded businesses is clear. Politicise your business decisions at your peril. Conservative customers will punish you for it. The days of only left-wing customers engaging in boycotts of businesses are over. The new conservatives and the so-called alt-right are not afraid to use their buying power as a weapon.


The boycott …under the hashtag #DumpKelloggs, has generated thousands of posts on Facebook and Twitter, with the official Kellogg’s Facebook pages for various products being bombarded with complaints from Breitbart’s readers.

…“Breitbart News is the largest platform for pro-family content anywhere on the Internet. We are fearless advocates for traditional American values, perhaps most important among them is freedom of speech, or our motto ‘more voices, not less,’” declared Marlow. “For Kellogg’s, an American brand, to blacklist Breitbart News in order to placate left-wing totalitarians is a disgraceful act of cowardice. They insult our incredibly diverse staff and spit in the face of our 45,000,000 highly engaged, highly perceptive, highly loyal readers, many of whom are Kellogg’s customers.”

“Boycotting Breitbart News for presenting mainstream American ideas is an act of discrimination and intense prejudice,” he continued. “If you serve Kellogg’s products to your family, you are serving up bigotry at your breakfast table.”

Breitbart President and CEO Larry Solov mirrored Marlow’s response, branding the move as “un-American.”

“Kellogg’s has shown its contempt for Breitbart’s 45 million readers and for the main street American values that they hold dear,” said Solov. “Pulling its advertising from Breitbart News is a decidedly cynical and un-American act. The only sensible response is to join together and boycott Kellogg’s products in protest.”


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Do it Twitter, I Double Dare you

Twitter has said that it will remove Trump from the social platform if he becomes too ” unruly. ” Their stance is not unsurprising given their ongoing campaign of censorship of conservative voices which has created an exodus to Gab. Trump’s campaign team have credited their social media campaign with helping them win the election so it is not surprising that the left-leaning business would now look for any possible excuse to take away Trump’s communication with his massive following.


Trump’s Twitter account now has 16.2 million followers, and his Facebook account has 15.6 million likes. His Instagram account has 4.2 million followers. Between the three, that’s 36 million people his personal social media accounts reach.

“The success to our social media platforms comes directly from then-candidate, and now President-elect of the United States of America, Donald J. Trump,” Scavino told Breitbart News. “It is all Mr. Trump and his messaging. Whether Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram platforms, Mr. Trump is directly involved with our social media messaging. He loves communicating with the American people, and he loves seeing what is going out.”

Scavino informed Breitbart News that there was not some boardroom of political consultants pre-testing talking points for tweets and Facebook and Instagram posts before they went out. It was him, Trump and his iPhone, that led the way in making this happen.

“Our social media platforms—and the way they were operated—is without question, historic,” Scavino said. “It has never been seen before, and it will never be seen again. We didn’t have a massive team—just a few of us working on all of his social platforms. We did not have videographers, producers, or social media managers responsible for handling each platform.

…That occasionally led to some criticism of some of the posts, but Trump’s victory on November 8 speaks for itself.

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How Twitter twice pulled the rug out from under the Trump campaign

Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, restricted advertising for Trump’s campaign and withdrew permission for two campaigns at the last minute after previously giving them the red light. This was done despite significant spending by the Trump campaign on twitter.

…About 2 weeks before the 9/26 debate, the TW team provided several designs that were pre-approved by their legal and policy teams. One included was a hand receiving a moneybag:

Emoji originally designed and approved by Twitter to be used with #CrookedHillary

Next, I met with TW in NY, at Trump Tower, to tweak the already approved emoji designs. Pushing the envelope, the hand/moneybag emoji evolved into a running stick figure with a moneybag:

Evolution of the already approved “hand w/ moneybag” emoji

The TW team thought this had a good chance of getting approved since all that changed was a hand to a stick figure.

Sure, it was more aggressive and eye-catching, but that was the goal. I was fine with the hand/moneybag emoji, which was already approved, so I figured we might as well see if we can go further.

Well, I was wrong.

Day after day, TW wouldn’t give us an official yay/nay and my contacts inside TW told me the new design was causing a lot of heartburn and “big meetings” with folks at the top.

…I wasn’t too worried because our plans could continue with the hand/moneybag emoji, even if they denied the more aggressive evolution.

Then, finally, a couple days before the first presidential debate, TW reached out for a call with Dan Greene, VP of US Sales.

  • Newly evolved running stick figure emoji was not approved.
  • Approval on the previously OK’d (hand/moneybag) emoji was pulled back and was no longer allowed to be used.
  • Twitter’s reason: We couldn’t accuse someone of committing a crime they did not commit or were not under investigation for. (Seriously, they said this.)
  • They claimed to fear litigation from HRC.
  • I told them we were trying to show she’s gotten wealthy from public office — they did not budge.
  • I asked, why were able to use (still approved) emojis that showed emails being destroyed or phones being destroyed (which could also represent committing a crime) — they could not explain.
  • I asked, if the Clinton Foundation were being investigated for financial crimes, could we use it — they said no.
  • Dan apologized and admitted TW’s wrongdoing in pulling back an emoji that was previously approved..

…Given that TW had pulled back a previously approved emoji and disrupted our strategy for the debate just days before, we cancelled our promoted trend (costing them hundreds of thousands of dollars).


The next plan was to launch with the second presidential debate. TW, admitting wrongdoing for how they handled the first, extended a $50K discount (“make good”) so we would agree to keep our next trend and give this another shot.

I took them at their word and proceeded. Foolish of me.

  • Worked with TW team and our internal creative team to create a moneybag with wings emoji:
RNC originally designed emoji on the right and Twitter design, adjusted to meet their specs, on the left
  • Knowing I needed to appease TW’s legal team, I sent it with an explanation to help fend off the HRC lawyers they feared.
  • Explanation: “The emoji represents govt waste and money flying away from taxpayers. Our internal polling has shown this to be a top issue for voters and it’d be inappropriate to restrict us from being able to discuss this important topic.”
  • Wednesday 10/5, we receive approval from their policy and legal team!
  • Thursday, 10/6, we have a call with their comms team to plan the rollout, including the list of media they’ll be leaking the story and emojis to.
  • Slated to launch at 3am ET on Saturday 10/8, with press teasers to go out on Friday 10/7, driven by their comms team.

Screenshot from a sample tweet sent by TW’s team, showing the emoji in place for launch
  • Friday 10/7 PM, hours before launch, TW asks for a call, with Jack Dorsey, CEO, Adam Bain COO, and Dan Greene, VP US Sales.
  • My internal TW contacts informed me that on Thursday night, 10/6, TW CEO, Jack Dorsey, personally killed the emoji and notified his senior staff.
  • I asked if “There’s going to be another BS legal reason like last time” and they responded, “No, Jack just killed it, there isn’t one.” They were shocked that this was happening.
  • On the call, Jack and Adam started with a lovefest by telling us how great our use of the platform has been. They then told us a last-minute legal review was triggered and they needed to pull the emoji because there wasn’t a paid-for-by disclaimer. (Again. Seriously, they said this.)
  • However, both DNC and RNC conventions had custom emojis this cycle and they did not use disclaimers.
Red Elephant emoji in use for RNConvention — No disclaimer needed
  • It’s also been reported that a top FEC official has said “the agency does not regulate emojis and that such transparency isn’t required on tweets.”
  • Jack and Adam apologized repeatedly and offered a new incentives package to keep our promoted trend that was just a day away.

We told them it was BS and what they were doing with a public platform was incredibly reckless and dangerous. We voiced that it was clearly a political move and telling us otherwise was just insulting.

…In return, I cancelled our 10/9 and 11/5 promoted trends. Further, I pulled all persuasion and lead gen spending, costing Twitter millions of dollars.

A plan already being implemented

Scott Yorke blogs about a plan for the left-wing to dominate politics:

Donald Trump’s election win has shaken the left, and not just in the US.

With the UK’s Brexit vote and the rise of rabid anti-immigrant extremism around the world, it feels like a bad time to be on the left.

But that’s no reason for despair. We will get through this. We just need to recruit, organise and do what we do best. It’ll be fine.

Here is what we will do.

We will continue to demonise the people who didn’t vote the way we wanted them to. We will make sure they know they are all stupid racist jerks, and eventually they will agree with us and plead for forgiveness.

We will also poke fun of these people–when we are not demonising them, that is. It is so easy to find footage of Trump supporters saying hilariously stupid things.    Read more »

Twitter is looking down the wrong end of the telescope

Confused, looking into the wrong end of a telescope. This is a genuine 19th-century naval leather-and-brass instrument. Camera: Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III.

Confused, looking into the wrong end of a telescope.

Do you know how to catch an elephant? You need a telescope, a matchbox and a pair of tweezers. As soon as you see the elephant pick up the telescope and look at the elephant through the wrong end. Then using the tweezers carefully pick up the elephant and put it inside the matchbox.

Twitter thinks it can tackle a large problem by changing how it views it but the more Twitter censors its users and clamps down on so-called hate speech the more ineffective and one-sided they become. Almost anything can be flagged as offensive or disrespectful as anybody can choose to be offended by anything. Likewise, the  recent changes that allow users to report anyone who directs hate against a race, religion, gender or orientation  can easily be used to shut down fact-based criticism by labeling it hate. The more rules they add the bigger the problem becomes  and the harder it becomes to police it. The problem is already insurmountable as they simply do not have enough staff to handle the volume of complaints.

This tweet for example against well-known Ben Shapiro should have resulted in the user being suspended immediately. Read more »