Twitter aand Facebook are private companies. People bring up this fact every time the issue of social media censorship is brought up. Therefore, the argument goes, they can allow or forbid any type of speech they want.
That’s true in principle. However, the situation changes when a social media platform acts on behalf of a government or presidential administration to censor unwelcome speech. At this point, people’s First Amendment rights are being violated. The government has no power to suppress online discussions. The Bill of Rights actually prohibits him from doing so. And she may not circumvent this principle through third parties, just as she may not lawfully commission a private security company to search the house without a warrant.
WHAT THE “TWITTER FILES” SAY ABOUT THE FUTURE OF JOURNALISM
The Bill of Rights prohibits the government from regulating freedom of speech, and in particular political expression. With rare exceptions in the case of defamation, incitement to commit crimes, obscenity and fraud, the government has no right to silence people. This is a fundamental principle that was unquestionable when America was thriving better than it is now – that is, until the recent rise of the totalitarian left.
The “Twitter files” released by the platform’s new owner, Elon Musk, and the October revelation that the Department of Homeland Security was attempting to quash online conversations on certain topics have raised alarm. Whether in the name of blocking disinformation or safeguarding health, safety, or even national security, the government’s increasing censorship role is alarming and un-American. Using their own disinformation, the intelligence agencies tricked social media into treating news about Hunter Biden’s laptop that would have embarrassed Biden’s father, President Joe Biden, as Russian disinformation.
As for Twitter, the pre-Musk company’s internal communications reveal a thoroughly dishonest corporate culture and possible perjury in a congressional testimony by one of its employees. Twitter officials have repeatedly written to admit that former President Donald Trump’s Jan. 6 tweets did not incite violence and did not deserve to be banned. But the company has repeatedly publicly said the opposite. Their assurances that conservative voices were not being deliberately muted have been exposed as lies.
The defenders of old Twitter disingenuously point out that “de-boosting” was already a well-known tool useful for stopping extreme spammers. This is both true and irrelevant. No one complains about spammers being “visibly filtered.” They complain that one side of the political dispute has been systematically defused with these instruments. The mere claim that children shouldn’t be locked out of schools during COVID, which everyone now knows was true, was enough to covertly suppress accounts.
The mere possibility of state collusion on censorship is worrying enough. But the Biden presidential campaign’s heavy use of Twitter to have unhelpful tweets removed is undeniable. Given that support was overwhelmingly in favor of Democrats, a separate question arises as to whether Twitter and perhaps other social media companies have made large, unreported political donations in kind to Democratic politicians by helping to spread their message amplify and suppress contradictory messages. With Musk pointing out that even political candidates have been banned by Twitter’s woke former employees, the possibility of a campaign finance breach is not far-fetched.
Twitter’s previous management ignored actual harms like child pornography but became obsessed with the imaginary harms of people expressing differing opinions or making jokes about presidential candidates. That says pretty much everything you need to know about the humorless piety that has plagued Twitter in the past. The nation has already benefited from the change in ownership.
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