Twitter president for public policy and communications in Europe Sinead McSweeney said that it’s “no longer possible to stand up for all speech.”
The comment came just one day after the social media giant cranked up attacks to shut down what it deems as “hateful” or “abusive” behavior.
Of course, it’s Twitter isn’t really interested in that. They are interested in silencing those that oppose their opinion and worldview, and if you don’t believe me, take a look at what they are not doing concerning the trolls who have gone after Kathy Amidon.
“I look back over last 5 1/2 years, and the answers I would have given to some of these questions five years ago were very different,” Sweeny told British politicians and other social media executives on Tuesday. “Twitter was in a place where it believed the most effective antidote to bad speech was good speech. It was very much a John Stuart Mill-style philosophy.”
Sweeney then added, “We’ve had to go on a journey with it, and we’ve realized it’s no longer possible to stand up for all speech in the hopes society will become a better place because racism will be challenged, or homophobia challenged, or extremism will be challenged.”
Joe Jankowski reports:
The change of attitude is a complete about-face to what the company was wearing on its sleeve in 2012 when Twitter’s first executive in the UK, Tony Wang, described the company as the “free speech wing of the free speech party.”
In November, Twitter announced that Monday would mark the day the company begins suspending accounts which engage in “hateful conduct” or affiliate with organizations which “use or promote violence against civilians to further their causes” both on and off the platform.
“You may not promote violence against, threaten, or harass other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease,” reads an update to Twitter’s Help Center.
The strict crackdown will also target whatever the company deems as hateful imagery and display names.
“You may not use hateful images or symbols in your profile image or profile header,” the update reads. “You also may not use your username, display name, or profile bio to engage in abusive behavior, such as targeted harassment or expressing hate towards a person, group, or protected category.”
While not the only victims of Twitter’s new censorship of what they don’t like, labeling it hate or abusive, Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen of Britain First were among the first to be targeted in the new electronic Gestapo’s crusade against free speech.
Now, some have said that technically, outlets like Facebook and Twitter may qualify as towns and thus be subject to First Amendment restrictions, but I think that is a stretch because the First Amendment applies to Congress not being allowed to make law that restricts freedom of speech.
However, there is something to consider and that is that the US government is spending a lot of tax dollars on social media.
In 2014, The Washington Examiner reported the following:
Uncle Sam is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to pay for social media-related services and to fund grants for research into the habits of the Twittersphere and other online worlds.
Exactly how much the federal government spends on social media is not clear. The Congressional Research Service made waves when it found the government spent at least $945 million on advertising and public communications, including social media, four years ago.
Even if a comprehensive total isn’t possible to determine, a review of federal contracts and grants and stories in media reports across the country give some insight into how much the government is spending on social media — such as the $630,000 the State Department spent buying Facebook “likes” last year, news the Washington Examiner broke.
For instance, the National Science Foundation gave a $480,000 grant last year to fund “TwitterHealth,” an application developed by a team at the University of Rochester to use Twitter algorithms to track flu outbreaks, according to the Democrat and Chronicle.
In a similar vein, the University of California, Irvine received a $139,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health about a year ago to study if Twitter interaction helps smokers quit and avoid relapses.
This is just as sampling of their spending and one should ask if advertising by the federal government counts as propaganda to promote their “services.” It’s wasteful that’s for sure,
However, I would question that if these social media outlets are being paid millions in taxpayer dollars, whether or not they should be allowed to censor anyone.
After all, by taking that money, they are joining themselves at the hip with a government bound not to infringe on the free speech rights of its citizens.
Author Robert Spencer has actually pointed to how he and others have been censored by Google, Facebook and Twitter for telling the truth about Islam and jihad. He has asked, “What can be done?”
His answer may surprise some.
“In other industries, the government has used anti-trust laws when free markets are threatened,” wrote Spencer. “Here the free marketplace of ideas is threatened. Should the anti-trust laws be invoked to break up Google and Facebook?”
I don’t like intrusive government, but when businesses are taking money from the people via tax dollars and then seeking to infringe on their free speech, that is a serious problem Perhaps we should look into breaking up these giants or at least removing censorship if they are going to take taxpayer money.
Beware America, you not only have a tyrannical government to deal with, you have these companies who are seeking to push you out of the marketplace of ideas if your ideas conflict with theirs.