HOT TOPIC: PEN America Cautiously Welcomes Twitter Political Ad Policy, Says More Details Needed; Zuckerberg Says It’s Not All About Money, It’s About Free-Speech

Jack Dorsey, co-founder and CEO of Twitter, in 2009 / Brian Solis, / under CC BY 2.0

We’ve made the decision to stop all political advertising on Twitter globally. We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought. Why? A few reasons… A political message earns reach when people decide to follow an account or retweet. Paying for reach removes that decision, forcing highly optimized and targeted political messages on people. We believe this decision should not be compromised by money. While internet advertising is incredibly powerful and very effective for commercial advertisers, that power brings significant risks to politics, where it can be used to influence votes to affect the lives of millions. nternet political ads present entirely new challenges to civic discourse: machine learning-based optimization of messaging and micro-targeting, unchecked misleading information, and deep fakes. All at increasing velocity, sophistication, and overwhelming scale. These challenges will affect ALL internet communication, not just political ads. Best to focus our efforts on the root problems, without the additional burden and complexity taking money brings. Trying to fix both means fixing neither well, and harms our credibility” … Dorsey Status Update Tweets October 30, 2019 MORE

Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey announced  yesterday that the platform will no longer accept paid political advertising. PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel issued the following statement:

“We respect Twitter’s decision to take a pause from running political advertising, recognizing that such ads on social media can have powerful distorting effects on public discourse. We cannot risk a repeat of the 2016 election where the scourge of misinformation raised serious questions about whether the Democratic process could be trusted. As a private platform, it is reasonable for Twitter to take the time to figure out whether and how the manifest ill consequences of micro-targeted ads can be mitigated. While political ads represent an important part of our democratic discourse, online advertising methods pose unique concerns that lawmakers, companies, and civil society are only beginning to understand, much less address. We welcome Twitter’s willingness to put responsibility above revenue in seeking to prevent its platform from misleading voters and polluting the democratic process.

“Still, we recognize that there are many unanswered questions and that this policy may have some unintended consequences, including, for example, advancing incumbents who rely less on ads. While we reserve judgement on how it may play out, we commend the effort to protect democratic deliberations and emphasize the role of ideas, language, and creativity – rather than money – as tools in the battle of ideas.”

Zuckerberg in 2005 courtesy of Elaine Chan and Priscilla Chan – Derived from: File:MarkZuckerberg.jpg under CC BY 2.5

“Right now, the content debate is about political ads. Should we block political ads with false statements? Should we block all political ads? Google, YouTube and most internet platforms run these same ads, most cable networks run these same ads, and of course national broadcasters are required by law to run them by FCC regulations. I think there are good reasons for this. In a democracy, I don’t think it’s right for private companies to censor politicians or the news. And although I’ve considered whether we should not carry these ads in the past, and I’ll continue to do so, on balance so far I’ve thought we should continue. Ads can be an important part of voice — especially for candidates and advocacy groups the media might not otherwise cover so they can get their message into debates. And it’s hard to define where to draw the line. Would we really block ads for important political issues like climate change or women’s empowerment? Instead, I believe the better approach is to work to increase transparency. Ads on Facebook are already more transparent than anywhere else. We have a political ads archive so anyone can scrutinize every ad that’s run — you can see every message, who saw it, how much was spent — something that no TV or print media does.” Mark Zuckerberg in his Community Update and quarterly results MORE


This post is complied with details from PEN America, Twitter, Facebook, and Wikipedia


PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. It champions the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Its mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.

Jamie Dedes. I’m a freelance writer, poet, content editor, and blogger. I also manage The BeZine and its associated activities and The Poet by Day, an info hub for writers meant to encourage good but lesser-known poets, women and minority poets, outsider artists, and artists just finding their voices in maturity. The Poet by Day is dedicated to supporting freedom of artistic expression and human rights and encourages activist poetry.  Email for permissions, commissions, or assignments.

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Recent and Upcoming in Digital Publications Poets Advocate for Peace, Justice, and Sustainability, How 100,000 Poets Are Fostering Peace, Justice, and Sustainability, YOPP! * The Damask Garden, In a Woman’s Voice, August 11, 2019 / This short story is dedicated to all refugees. That would be one in every 113 people. * Five poems, Spirit of Nature, Opa Anthology of Poetry, 2019 * From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems), July 2019 * Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review, July 2019 * Three poems, Our Poetry Archive, September 2019

“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

TWITTER: New Policy for Government Officals and Political Candidates with more than 100K followers; social media and politics/presidency

Content of tweets according to Pear Analytics News (3.6%) Spam (3.8%) Self-promotion (5.9%) Pointless babble (40.1%) Conversational (37.6%) Pass-along value (8.7%) / public domain chart

“In a study done at New York University in 2015, an analysis and comparison of the Twitter accounts of Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Bernie Sanders, and Hillary Clinton, found observations showing the goals of each candidate’s Twitter during their respective primary elections. Some comparisons that were made were the use of Aristotle’s theory of Rhetoric. The research found that Donald Trump used pathos, the appeal to emotion, in his rhetoric; Bernie Sanders tended to use ethos and logos for his Twitter; Hillary Clinton tended to use logos and pathos to try to convey her values, and Jeb Bush shows that he uses a mix of all three on his account. The study also looked at the media response to the tweets during the election. The study found that the tweets became more persuasive for the candidates if the media put the tweets in front of more viewers, versus less powerful if they were only visible to those already on Twitter. In that way, presidential candidates who had their tweets covered more in the news were able to get their message to more potential voters.” Wikipedia

In response to reports that Twitter announced it would begin labeling and possibly flagging tweets from national political figures, PEN America issued this statement:

“Twitter’s newly announced policy appears to strike a careful balance in responding to the dual imperative of enforcing the platform’s own policies about abusive behavior while also protecting the public’s right to access the unfiltered views of political figures and government officials. Of course the test will be in the implementation, and in ensuring that the policy does not excessively encumber access to information for constituents and other users; the plan to use this tool sparingly appears to be a good one,” said Summer Lopez, Senior Director of Free Expression Programs, PEN America.

“Social media provides unique and important opportunities for direct engagement between political leaders and the public, which should be protected.  That said, words can have consequences and the words of political leaders can be especially piercing and potent.  If this policy inspires a more considered approach by political leaders to their tweets, that may be a good thing.”

If you are viewing this post from an email subscription, you’ll likely have to link through to the site to view this Washington Post video, “How social media is changing the presidency.”



This post was compiled courtesy of Pear Analytics, PEN American, Wikipedia, and the Washington Post.

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. It champions the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Its mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible. 


Recent in digital publications: 
* Four poemsI Am Not a Silent Poet
* Remembering Mom, HerStry
* Three poems, Levure littéraire
Upcoming in digital publications:
* Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review (July 2019)
* From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems)(July 2019)
* The Damask Garden, In a Woman’s Voice (August 2019)

A busy though bed-bound poet, writer, former columnist and the former associate editor of a regional employment newspaper, my work has been featured widely in print and digital publications including: Ramingo’s Porch, Vita Brevis Literature, Connotation Press, The Bar None Group, Salamander CoveI Am Not a Silent Poet, Meta/ Phor(e) /Play, Woven Tale Press,Metho/BlogThe Compass Rose and California Woman.

I run The Poet by Day, a curated info hub for poets and writers. I founded The Bardo Group/Beguines, a virtual literary community and publisher of The BeZine of which I am the founding and managing editor. I’ve been featured on the Plumb Tree’s Wednesday Poet’s Corner, several times as Second Light Live featured poet, on Belfast Radio and elsewhere.

Email me at for permissions or comissions.

“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

“Dr. Jernail S. Anand (Poet), Writing in the Virtual World” by Aprilia Zank, Ph.D.


Living more and more trapped in cyberspace (statistics can attest that we spend daily more hours in the virtual than in the real world), we may at a certain point be inclined to demonise it, but the fact of the matter is that the virtual space does offer us an unparalleled range of opportunities. Through it, I have been bestowed the privilege of coming into contact with a large number of amazing personalities from various fields of culture and creativity, among whom I am happy to mention Dr. Jernail S. Anand, an Indian poet, philosopher, teacher, educator, to name just the main aspects of his proliferous career.

Dr. Aprilia Zank

Due to both my profession and my passion for literature and art, I had been familiar with creative people before the Internet, but it was the sort of closeness which one finds in the seclusion of libraries, museums, university halls and the like. With the new generations ‘born’ with notebooks, tablets or smartphones in their hands, the encounter with knowledge or creativity acquires new coordinates. The notion of reception needs to be reshaped and reconstructed. What sounds like self-evidence at first view needs though critical questioning. Do we really experience and process literary and artistic contents in a new way in the virtual space? Does it make a difference if I hold a paper book in my hands, or if I read it on a screen, or is its impact on me the same? Perhaps we need indeed to pay new consideration to Marshall McLuhan’s declaration that “the medium is the message.” Extensive research is necessary, and scientists of all domains are busy attempting to transmute their findings into relevant statistic data, but beyond all scholarly devices are the unique literature and art recipients with their particular premises for the reception and processing of literary writings and of works of art.

My encounter with Dr. Anand has taken place – so far and I hope it will change soon – in the virtual space only. I have had no opportunity to meet him in person, yet I have the feeling that we are good old friends. Furthermore, we both belong to a tremendous network of friends and friends’ friends who are in a permanent and immediate encounter and exchange of information, opinions and critical views. For there is no denial of the fact that accessibility of all types is practically borderless in cyberspace. A sheer number of readers can and do access Dr. Anand’s poems, essays and philosophical work in bits or as full books on the Internet. This unparalleled intercourse occurs within our beloved social networks in which communication is possible at any time, from every place and with everybody. But what sounds like a tremendous achievement in general and a huge chance for writers and artists in particular comes at a price. It is precisely the easiness of accessibility that renders the encounter with e-media contents accidental, fugitive, and often enough perfunctory. Under the ‘burden’ of the stupendous offer we are confronted with in cyberspace, we race from stimulus to stimulus in a feverish attempt to absorb as much information as possible. Under these circumstances, we run the risk of being superficial in our assimilation and, accordingly, far from optimal in our response.

Dr. Jernail S. Anand

Dr. Jernail S. Anand

Now, Dr. Anand is a renowned personality with a remarkable retinue of followers and admirers who always search for his presence and newest publications in the virtual world. And he does indeed regale them with exquisite poetry, thought-provoking quotes, or deep-reaching philosophical musings. The readers’ response is there, but it has evolved into a new language, semiotic to a great extent. We use ‘like’, ‘love’, ‘angry’, ‘sad’ and more signs to save time, or in the best case, we type ‘excellent’, ‘profound’ ‘congratulations’, to attest due consideration. Can this be a satisfactory type of feedback? On looking at Dr. Anand’s literary items shared the day I am writing this article, I spot a poem titled “HOW POOR IS THIS LIFE”. A quick analysis reveals that a response is there: 23 readers have liked and/or loved the poem, two have provided comments of one and of four words respectively, but that is about all. I miss some, to my mind, almost compulsory remarks, e.g. a reference to the Eliotian echo of the lines:

I write so much yet the feeling …
of half fulfilment stays.

or a few words of appreciation for the exquisite metaphors below:

I could not digest the winds
I could not drink the seas

The poet further complains about the unsatisfactory living we are trapped in:

Life! How poor you are!

It is, of course, the spiritual poverty he is is weary of, a recurring theme in Dr. Anand’s writings and a major potential starting point for a debate among the readers of the poem. Decay of traditional values, lack of genuine communication with one’s own kind, failure in the attempt to connect with God – it is all there craving for introspection and deliberation. But here, too, things seem to be doomed to fail to meet expectations:

Things remained half loved
Hence half lived.

Is there any chance left for mankind to find its way back to primeval joy? In the poem “JOYS PAINS”, Dr. Anand emphasises the inextricable duality of joy/pain by using stylistic devices such as capitalisation and the juxtaposition of words with no punctuation, thus almost creating a proper name with a single ‘signifié’. The last three lines convey one more cry-out-loud testimony of the shallowness of inter-human relationships in a world devoid of true communication:

Nobody listens to the shrieks
Which issue from silent lips
Coated with red smiles

A look at the feedback on these major issues present in the poem reveals a poor echo to such a challenging piece of writing: a few semiotic ‘likes’, a ‘sad’ sign, and a positive remark illustrated by a line of the poem. No truly deep consideration offered to major existential questions posited in other poems either. Weirdly enough, this is by no means lack of appreciation or interest, since Dr. Anand is well-known as one of the most widely acknowledged contemporary Indian poets and philosophers. It is rather a peculiar aspect of the nature of reception in this kaleidoscopic world which is the virtual space. Aside from the already mentioned fast-paced character of this medium, which urges us to move on and on to the next items of interest, further components come into play or better said interplay among its users. Visibility and transparency, which per se are positive features of the virtual space, may become inhibitory under the realisation that people ‘can read your mind’ when you express your ideas, opinions and the like on various issues. Direct comparison with other minds can occur, with an uncertain outcome. A reason for many to refrain from a too obvious display of their own facets of spirit or intellect.

Luckily, Dr. Anand’s prolific work has been extensively and skilfully dealt with by scholars who have assuredly taken more than a glance at his literary and philosophical writings. For there is no doubt that thorough reading and rigorous research is still being practised, even in our high-speed world and in the fugacious virtual reality.

Summing up, I think there is no point in trying to solve the quandary whether the virtual world with its social networks are a blessing or a curse. Living without it has become unthinkable, so why not make the best of it. The possibility to display your work and creativity in it, to enjoy borderless visibility and access, and to have the chance of getting feedback from the most unexpected corners of the virtual but also of the real world is priceless. And in this respect I am grateful to have had the opportunity to meet the tremendous personality of Dr. J. S. Anand in this scintillating world. This notwithstanding, I am of course looking forward to an early encounter with the man in person.

– Aprilia S. Zank
October 12th, 2017
Munich, Germany

© 2017, essay and photo portraits, Aprilia S. Zank; Originally published in Galaktika Poetike “ATUNIS” and republished here with Aprilia’s permission

DR. APRILIA ZANK is a lecturer for Creative Writing and Translation in the Department of Languages and Communication at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany, where she received her PhD degree in Literature and Psycholinguistics for her thesis THE WORD IN THE WORD Literary Text Reception and Linguistic Relativity. She is also a poet, a translator and the editor of two anthologies: the English–German anthology poetry tREnD Eine englisch-deutsche Anthologie zeitgenössischer Lyrik, LIT Verlag, Berlin, 2010, and the anthology POETS IN PERSON at the Glassblower (Indigo Dream Publishing, April, 2014). She writes verse in English and German, and was awarded a distinction at the “Vera Piller” Poetry Contest in Zurich. Her poetry collection, TERMINUS ARCADIA, was 2nd Place Winner at the Twowolvz Press Poetry Chapbook Contest 2013. Aprilia Zank is also a passionate photographer: many of her images are prize-winners and several have been selected for poetry book covers.

DR. JERNAIL S. ANANAD is the author of two dozen books in English poetry, fiction and non-fiction, Dr. J. S. Anand is an established name in the field of education, philosophy, and spirituality. Born on 15th Jan., 1955, he hails from village Longowal [Distt. Sangrur,Punjab, India]. He got his school education from the best schools in Ludhiana, the highly industrialized city of Punjab, famous for its hosiery and cycle parts industry. He was a student of famous Govt. College, Ludhiana, during his graduate studies, and he did his M.A. in English literature from Punjabi University, Patiala, securing 2nd position in the University. His doctoral thesis, submitted to Panjab University, Chandigarh, was on “A Comparative study of Mysticism in the poetry of Walt Whitman and Prof. Puran Singh”. Dr. Anand is an educationist, an able administrator, a talented writer, a novelist, a poet, and a philosopher, who is a multi-dimensional personality, particularly, in view of his interest in Saving the Earth. He planted around 20 thousand saplings in and around Bathinda. He has also delivered lecturers on Spirituality, Human Rights, and Moral Values. “We are inheritors of the wealth of this earth and this sky, and it belongs equally to us all” – Anand

A Million Desitines is Dr. Anand’s English language collection.