President Trump, Twitter, Donald Trump discussed on Fresh Air


Dave Davies in for Terry Gross. Who's off this week? We're speaking with Craig Timberg. He's a national technology reporter for the Washington Post specializing in privacy, security and disinformation. He's written recently about the followers of the Cuban on conspiracy theories and other extremist groups that were involved in the assault on the U. S Capitol on January 6th. We're talking about how President Trump's departure and social media restrictions on him and many of these groups Will affect them and the nation in the coming months. So let's talk about how Trump's departure and the capital assault affected all of this After this happens and You know, Trump goes to Florida and Joe Biden is inaugurated and Trump, you know, kind of condemns the violence. How have to a non members reacted? Different people have reacted in different ways. And I'd say there is absolutely a group that says, Hold on a minute. Where what happened to the storm? How is Joe Biden now president and there's clearly Consternation. In some cases, outrage among people who feel like they were misled. Can we just focus on them for a moment? Trade? I mean, are they saying, Hey, we've been duped. Are they say this was all we've been played? What do we hear? We have heard exactly those kinds of comments. People feeling do people feeling played people being angry? Yes, and have some of them left or taken down their sites or, yes, hard to know exactly what the impact has been because you know, Twitter, etcetera have been so aggressive at knocking these forms down. I mean, in preparation for this conversation, I sort of portraits familiar places. It's actually relatively hard. Get a feel for what's going on the Cunard community because the community's been smashed into 100 different bits and you can find it, but it used to be. You talked queuing on into Twitter and you, you knew immediately. What was on people's minds is just not true anymore. Clearly some disappointment, some disillusionment. What about others who are still believers? How did they interpret these events? So I would say they fall into two broad categories. There are those who believe that the great storm is still coming in some way, shape or form. Even though President buying is now in office, and I guess sections to generations of this one is one is that President Trump is secretly in charge and controlling events from Mara Lago. I guess Thea other is that there's a new date March 4th, which is was the original inauguration day in this Country was done away with e. I believe in the thirties and that when March 4th arrives, Donald Trump full swoop back in is I've been president all along. I'm taking a second term and then the mass arrests and the coming storm all happened then so we'll have to see what happens to that group. And when that day comes and goes But then there's like an even more angry kind of dead ender group that is feeling as though this central tenets of Cuba not about pedophilia and saying, worshiping, etcetera. I've been through all along that Donald Trump was not. Maybe the Messiah they thought he was. I mean, that they're sort of like preparing for a longer struggle. Of all the groups that one kind of scares me because they're really doubling down on the most terrifying parts of these prophecies. So let's talk about what's happened on social media platforms in response to a particular the violence at the Capitol. What have these large platforms done all of the big platforms? Really all it once acted against Donald Trump. They began seeing what we all had seen for a long time. Which was that the president was a huge source of this information that was reverberating to the our world and shaping it in all sorts of ways. And so he got, you know, deep pot formed by Twitter and Facebook and such and Uh and other online forums that were pro trump and also procured not also have really had a rough few weeks. So one we've written a lot about his parlor, which was founded is kind of what they would call it free speech alternative to Twitter. They were supposed to be Essentially no rules. As long as what you did was legal, you know Parlor was knocked off line. It was kicked out of the APP store by Apple and Google. Its Web hosting services from Amazon were withdrawn and they're working pretty hard to get back online, But they're really not online now. And another form the that was very prominent. All of this called the Donald thought Wind has also disappeared. And now there's two new versions of that. And it's not clear which one of those is going to emerge. So in the in the social media world, the mainstream platforms have cracked down on this stuff They've closed. Tens of thousands of accounts finally, and in addition to that the smaller platforms have really struggled to stay online and stay coherent. It's been a tough It's a tough time to be a que non believer. Believe it enough, right? Certainly hard for people like you to find them and presumably harder for them to find each other. Yeah. I mean, I think that the conventional wisdom is a the Internet such a big place that there will always be places for them to gather and talk to each other What they loses the ability to like. He'll talk to my uncle might stumble about this stuff on on Facebook like that. That has really been removed. But but be the other place people have gone are these encrypted Shop, perhaps signal and telegram etcetera, and I love these abs like I use signal every day all day long, and I think it's great, but the down side of it is that there's really no way to monitor what's going on on a platform where the communications are encrypted end to end meaning from my phone to your phone, and so I think there's a lot of evidence. That folks have moved off of places where they can be easily monitored not just by researchers and journalists like me, but also by the FBI. They have moved off of these places into these darker, quieter places. Where where they can speak in an unfettered way. There's no report. There's very little possibility anyway. Be overheard by someone they don't want. Overheard by, maybe should catch some of us who are less technologically savvy up a bit on this you said you used what was the signal? I use signal and, you know what is it? What do you The tour. Signal is a is a is a communications app that goes essentially from phone to phone or computer to computer. And so when I send a message or have a phone call on signal My software in my phone turns it into encryption, which is basically you know, it was intercepted on the way looks just like a jumble of code. Uh, it just sort of gibberish essentially and then you go down it lands in, say, my friend's phone and it gets unencrypted and becomes my voice or an image or a text message. And so for someone like me who You know, does a lot of communicating and doesn't necessarily want everyone to know what I'm saying about whatever or or who I'm talking to. It's a complete God set. I mean, reporters in Washington used signal and similar things all the time, and that's true of human rights workers. It's true of political dissidents, the ability to communicate without Government easily just happen in is great. But as with all of these technologies, it's also something where criminals use it and you know and terrorist. Use it. And so it's a double edged sword. Ultimately, I love it, but the police don't love it. I could tell you that. Let me reintroduce you gonna take another break here We're speaking with Craig Timberg. He's a national technology reporter for The Washington Post will continue our conversation after this short break. I'm Dave Davies, and this is fresh air..

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