Twitter has begun to purge alleged hate speakers, including extremists. However, people banned in recent years include those with credible claims to be middle of the road Conservatives and Human Rights activists. A few years ago I was permanently suspended, but legally persuaded them to unban me. I then used the unban to delete my accounts in disgust. I then had to threaten them again to make them ban people impersonating me with my old names. Aside from me, they even failed to ban an account claiming to link to the “child porn captial [sic] of the internet” until they received multiple media inquiries. I have little time for Twitter. However, why are we as a society allowing corporations to police free speech?
Twitter is a social media company partially owned by a Saudi Arabian prince. Saudi Arabia being a country where the monarch is an actual, old fashioned monarch who holds legislative and executive power and most public offices are held by members of his extended family.
Even left wingers are beginning to realise that it is scary to allow corporations motivated by profits unfettered power. Aside from their calls for censorship, I could agree with almost everything far left Senator Al Franken says in his Guardian article (archive) –
“In 2014, Facebook published its findings from an experiment in which it altered its News Feed algorithm for a segment of its users – unbeknownst to them, of course – and filtered posts based on their emotional content. As orchestrated by the altered algorithm, some users saw predominantly positive content while others saw mostly negative content. Unsurprisingly, the big takeaway was that Facebook has the power to influence our psychological state.
There is little more to say. When Al Franken is (almost) on the same page as Breitbart news and Steve Bannon, society has a major problem. I have no tears for the Twitter purge. I saw this coming and left last year. Mainstream Conservatives (not alt-Right, not neo-Nazis) need to set up social media that is functional, allows us to function and enticing to ordinary non-political people. Gab is a start. I think we do need to allow the alt-Light and alt-Right because censorship is unhealthy for democracy – that is not the same as endorsing the alt-Right.
What cannot happen is we allow multi-national corporations to decide for us what speech is acceptable. In the United States it is tantamount to an end-run around the 1st Amendment. In the EU it overrides the European Convention on Human Rights. This has to change.