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

And the white supremacists who destroy
Opinion • Views: 43,289

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
Young the Giant: Simplify (Official Audio) Young The Giant's official audio for their new single 'Simplify' - available now. Download / Stream 'Simplify': lnk.to Catch Young The Giant on Tour this fall with very special guest Lights!More info at: youngthegiant.com Site: youngthegiant.comFacebook: facebook.comTwitter: @youngthegiantInstagram: instagram.comYouTube: ...
Thanos
1 hour, 8 minutes ago
Views: 50 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Traveller - ‘Nobody Makes It Out’ (Live at WFUV)wfuv.org • Follow @wfuv: ow.ly Traveller performs "Nobody Makes It Out" live in Studio A. Recorded 5.9.18. Host: Alisa AliAudio: Caroline InzucchiCameras: Kristal Ho, Brian Gallagher & Kaylee KurkierewiczEditors: Kaylee Kurkierewicz & Brian Gallagher
Thanos
1 hour, 41 minutes ago
Views: 63 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Fantastic Negrito - the Duffler (Official Video) ‘The Duffler’ is taken from Fantastic Negrito's brand new album 'Please Don't Be Dead' out now. Order your copy here: fn.lnk.to Director: Freddy Macdonald Producer: Fred MacdonaldCinematographer: Sebastian KlingerEditor: Freddy MacdonaldProduction Company: Macdonald Entertainment Partners Check here for Fantastic ...
Thanos
1 hour, 44 minutes ago
Views: 59 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Facebook’s Screening for Political Ads Nabs News Sites… One ad couldn’t have been more obviously political. Targeted to people aged 18 and older, it urged them to “vote YES” on June 5 on a ballot proposition to issue bonds for schools in a district near San Francisco. ...
Thanos
1 day, 16 hours ago
Views: 139 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 6 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Stanford Prison Experiment: Why Famous Psychology Studies Are Now Being Torn Apart Sometimes pseudoscience makes it through to the text books, most often in the soft and social sciences. A new exposé based on previously unpublished recordings of Philip Zimbardo, the Stanford psychologist who ran the study, and interviews with his ...
Thanos
3 days, 11 hours ago
Views: 310 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 3
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Goliath Season 2 - Official Trailer In Season 2 of Goliath, Billy McBride takes on a new case, and the fight spills into the streets of Los Angeles and alleys of Venice Beach.Goliath returns 6/15 on Prime Video. » Stream Goliath 6/15 on Prime Video: ...
Thanos
4 days ago
Views: 268 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Wild Nothing - Letting Go "Letting Go" is the first single from Wild Nothing's forthcoming album, 'Indigo', out 08/31/2018 on Captured Tracks. Order here: wildnothing.lnk.to Follow Wild Nothing:wildnothingmusic.comwildnothingct.bandcamp.comfacebook.cominstagram.com@WildNothingopen.spotify.com Lyrics:It's getting hard for me to reframe all those shifting memoriesLike a music box that never ...
Thanos
1 week, 3 days ago
Views: 431 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Third Circuit Nominee Tries to Walk Back Past Comments, Writing Porter appeared before the Judiciary Committee Wednesday despite not receiving the approval of Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa. Under the tradition known as the blue slip, the committee has in the past declined to schedule hearings for nominees who do ...
Thanos
1 week, 3 days ago
Views: 451 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 5 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Wrongfully Influencing a Private Entity’s Employment Decisions by The Executive When Donald Trump makes pro administration or pro republican, or anti democratic party demands, he is breaking the law. I invite those with some familiarity with how this is actually supposed to work to chime in. (a) Whoever, being ...
Unshaken Defiance
2 weeks, 2 days ago
Views: 666 • Comments: 1 • Rating: 9
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Starcrawler - I Love LA Taken from the band's debut album 'Starcrawler', out now on Rough Trade Records: rtrecs.co Director: Autumn de WildeExecutive Producer: Eric SternLine Producer: Jessica CooperDirector of Photography: Tim IvesEditor: Miky WolfVFX Supervisor: Ryan SearsVFX Artist: Agnes GunawanMix: Bob Grenmore (Juice ...
Thanos
2 weeks, 1 day ago
Views: 649 • Comments: 1 • Rating: 2
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0