Some Thoughts on Twitter, Censorship, Free Speech and Social Responsibility

And the white supremacists who destroy
Opinion • Views: 45,065

This was originally posted to Twitter as a “tweetstorm,” but I thought I should also make it an article at LGF so the whole thing is easily accessible in one spot.

First, let’s get something clear: the First Amendment of the US Constitution has absolutely nothing to do with Twitter.

The 1st Amendment says the government cannot restrict free expression, and Twitter is not the government. Twitter has an absolute right to suspend anyone’s account for any reason, and when you register an account with them you explicitly agree to grant them this right.

Second, the word “censorship” does not apply to Twitter. Censorship means taking away someone’s ability to speak or express themselves, and if Twitter suspends an account that person is still absolutely free to go to Facebook or Gab or start a blog or write a letter to a newspaper, and express themselves that way.

It’s simply not possible for Twitter to “censor” you, because they cannot stop you from expressing yourself elsewhere.

This brings us to the issue of whether Twitter should try to shut down the use of their service by white supremacists and neo-Nazis. I believe they have not only a right, but a social responsibility to not give these dangerous views a gigantic megaphone.

The idea that letting white supremacists have free rein of Twitter will result in getting them shut down by force of social pressure is refuted by the empirical fact that it simply has not worked. Neo-Nazis and white supremacists are now dismayingly numerous on Twitter, and this was reportedly one of the factors that led companies like Disney to back out of a potential deal to buy Twitter.

When Twitter takes no action to stop them, it’s not only harming its own reputation and brand, it’s handing the worst people on the Internet enormous power, and allowing them to spread and convert others — and they are taking full advantage of it. “Debating” the views of neo-Nazis does no good, because they have no interest in honest debate; all you achieve by arguing with them is to make it seem as if there’s something to argue about, and they’ll just laugh at you for being so easily manipulated.

Doing nothing to stop racists and neo-Nazis has another, even more insidious effect: it drives away decent people, either because they’re harassed and tormented by these cavemen, or because they simply choose not to take part in a social network that allows this kind of abuse.

But in the real world, we have a terrible example of what can happen when websites and networks like Twitter abandon the concept of social responsibility.

We know from his trial that Dylann Roof was inspired to commit mass murder by his exposure to the views of white supremacists on the Internet. It’s horribly dangerous to pretend this virulent ideology of hatred is just another viewpoint, as valid as any other.

Jump to top

Create a PageThis is the LGF Pages posting bookmarklet. To use it, drag this button to your browser's bookmark bar, and title it 'LGF Pages' (or whatever you like). Then browse to a site you want to post, select some text on the page to use for a quote, click the bookmarklet, and the Pages posting window will appear with the title, text, and any embedded video or audio files already filled in, ready to go.
Or... you can just click this button to open the Pages posting window right away.
Last updated: 2016-01-01 10:29 am PST
LGF User's Guide RSS Feeds Tweet

Help support Little Green Footballs!

Subscribe now for ad-free access!Register and sign in to a free LGF account before subscribing, and your ad-free access will be automatically enabled.

Donate with
PayPal
Square Cash Shop at amazon
as an LGF Associate!
Recent PagesClick to refresh
Day After Neo-Nazi Is Convicted of Murder, Associates of a Violent Skinhead Group Charged With Hate Crimes Travis David Condor, a member of the band Birthrite and head of hate-music record label American Defense Records, was among nine people arrested at a bar in Lynwood, Washington, early Saturday morning. The Snohomish County Sheriff's Office said in ...
Thanos
1 week ago
Views: 413 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Embattled Washington Rep. Matt Shea Is Skirting State Law to Funnel Campaign Funds to Far-Right Groups Shea uses his office and campaign funds to spearhead a partitionist effort to split Washington into two states, and may have violated state laws by using surplus campaign funds to make at least $5,500 in contributions to far-right nonprofit ...
Thanos
1 week, 1 day ago
Views: 324 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 2
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
The Outer Worlds - Official Announcement Trailer Watch the official announcement trailer for The Outer Worlds, a new single-player first-person sci-fi RPG from Obsidian Entertainment and Private Division. In The Outer Worlds, you awake from hibernation on a colonist ship that was lost in transit to ...
Thanos
1 week, 1 day ago
Views: 271 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
The Umbrella Academy When it rains, it pours. Here's your first look at The Umbrella Academy. Coming to Netflix February 15. A dysfunctional family of superheroes comes together to solve the mystery of their father's death, the threat of the apocalypse and ...
Thanos
1 week, 1 day ago
Views: 248 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 2
Tweets: 2 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Elvis Costello & the Imposters - Suspect My Tears The new deluxe album ‘Look Now’ out now, order here: elviscostello.lnk.to Explore more music from Elvis Costello: lnk.to Follow Elvis Costello:Facebook: facebook.comInstagram: instagram.comTwitter: twitter.comWebsite: elviscostello.com Director & Original Story - MustashrikExecutive Production - Whitney JacksonProduced by Partizan VFX Supervisor ...
Thanos
1 week, 1 day ago
Views: 289 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
VULFPECK /// Half of the Way (Feat. Theo Katzman) VULFPECK /// Half of the Waybuy on bandcamp → vuuulf.com Theo Katzman — vocalsLarry Goldings — piano, composerRyan Lerman — guitar, composer, engineerJoey Dosik — saxWoody Goss — tambourineJack Stratton — drums, mixingJoe Dart — fender bassCory Wong — ...
Thanos
1 week, 1 day ago
Views: 196 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Storyhill - Blazing Out of Sight (Live at Radio Heartland)Storyhill perform "Blazing Out of Sight," from their 2007 self-titled album as well from the 2018 compilation, "Stages," live at Radio Heartland.
Thanos
1 week, 1 day ago
Views: 232 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
How Smooth Jazz Took Over the ’90s You should give smooth jazz a chance. Subscribe to our channel! goo.gl Smooth jazz has gotten a bad rap for decades. It’s often associated with background music for elevators or the soundtrack at the dentist office. Smooth jazz is ...
Thanos
1 week, 3 days ago
Views: 254 • Comments: 1 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Feds Target Butina’s GOP Boyfriend as Foreign Agent Paul Erickson, a longtime Republican politico whose Russian girlfriend is in jail on charges she acted as a covert foreign agent, has been informed that he may face similar accusations. The Daily Beast reviewed a so-called “target letter” that ...
Thanos
1 week, 5 days ago
Views: 325 • Comments: 1 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Police: Charge Benjamin and Sara Netanyahu With Bribery in Telecom Case - Israel News - Haaretz.com The police and Israel Securities Authority on Sunday recommended indicting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyau and his wife, Sara, as well as media mogul Shaul Elovitch and his wife, Iris, for bribery and other corruption charges in the investigation dubbed ...
Thanos
2 weeks, 1 day ago
Views: 369 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0