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

And the white supremacists who destroy
Opinion • Views: 39,229

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.

Recent PagesClick to refresh
Arkansas Senate Wants to Ban Same-Sex Marriage and Abortion in the U.S. Constitution The Arkansas Senate voted 19–9 on Tuesday to ban same-sex marriage — everywhere. Despite the fact marriage equality has been the law of the land for the better part of two years, the Republican-controlled Arkansas Senate wants to amend the U.S. ...
Birth Control Works
46 minutes ago
Views: 49 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
52 Percent of Men Say They Haven’t Benefited From Women Having Affordable Birth Control Recognition of this intersectionality cut across demographics, though there were some differences: Women, overall, were more likely to see connections than men, and black and Latino voters were more likely to recognize economic effects than white voters. Still, the ...
Birth Control Works
49 minutes ago
Views: 57 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 1
Comments: 0
: 1
Correctly Interpreting and Implementing the Lessons of 2016 In 2016 we watched the unthinkable happen: The United Kingdom voted to remove itself from the European Union and we, in America, elected an unqualified liar as President of the United States. We have seen much discussion surrounding why ...
MsJ
3 hours, 40 minutes ago
Views: 99 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 3 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Classic Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies Recipe - NYT Cooking ngredients 1 cup/227 grams (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, more for pans 1 cup/200 grams dark brown sugar, packed ⅓ cup/66 grams granulated sugar 2 large eggs 1 tablespoon/15 milliliters vanilla extract 1 ½ cups/187 grams all-purpose flour ¾ ...
The Vicious Babushka
6 hours, 34 minutes ago
Views: 97 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
New Poll Shows Majority of Americans Oppose Discrimination in the Name of Religion The confirmation hearing for federal Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Donald J. Trump’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, got under way yesterday, with some senators mentioning religious freedom during their opening remarks. Gorsuch will start taking questions today, and ...
Tarkloon
10 hours, 44 minutes ago
Views: 113 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Paul Manafort’s Plan to ‘Greatly Benefit Putin Government’ Manafort proposed in a confidential strategy plan as early as June 2005 that he would influence politics, business dealings and news coverage inside the United States, Europe and the former Soviet republics to benefit the Putin government, even as ...
Tarkloon
10 hours, 47 minutes ago
Views: 139 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 2 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Ricardo Naipes, Al NorteI love how this song is about people living in the same neighborhood where my mom grew up in Southwest Detroit way back when the accordion was for the polka music. Oh and will someone please translate,,
Mich-again
17 hours, 30 minutes ago
Views: 127 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Maple Scones Recipe - NYT Cooking Ingredients 1 cup whole wheat flour 1 cup white flour (more as needed) 2 tablespoons (packed) brown sugar 2 teaspoons baking powder ¼ teaspoon salt ¼ pound (1 stick) chilled butter ½ cup chopped toasted walnuts or cooked wheat ...
The Vicious Babushka
20 hours, 16 minutes ago
Views: 139 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
How Politicians Force Doctors to Lie to Women - Rolling Stone On Tuesday, the Texas Senate advanced a bill that would enable doctors to lie to pregnant patients about fetal deformities in order to coercively dissuade them from choosing to have an abortion. Specifically, SB 25 eliminates withholding information regarding ...
Birth Control Works
20 hours, 47 minutes ago
Views: 162 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Gang Rape of 15-Year-Old Was on Facebook Live; Police Search for Attackers - North Lawndale - DNAinfo Chicago CHICAGO — A 15-year-old girl who had been reported missing was gang-raped on Facebook Live, officials said. The girl went missing Sunday. On Tuesday, Anthony Guglielmi, a Chicago Police Department spokesman, announced she had been found by Ogden District ...
Birth Control Works
20 hours, 51 minutes ago
Views: 265 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 3 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0