Twitter Censors Conservatives. Should We Bail?

By Rachel Alexander Published on February 22, 2019

Big tech censors conservatives. A lot. Sometimes Facebook and Twitter only suspend the victims for a few days. Other times they ban their victims permanently. Like Christian human rights activist Faith McDonnell. Facebook banned her forever for … posting a picture of the 21 Coptic martyrs. Which she’d posted before, as had many other people. Read her story here. (After the story went viral on Facebook, they restored her account.)

That’s Facebook. But Twitter seems to be the worst lately, judging by how often it’s in the news for banning some prominent conservative. Many conservatives argue that Twitter has become a hotbed of leftism, they say, and it’s just not worth their time.

They’re wrong. It is.

What Twitter Gives 

Twitter offers something that Facebook and the other tech giants don’t quite have: an easy, free way to become famous and communicate with other famous people. Anyone can build up followers for free by following others who then follow you back. 

Some people accumulate hundreds of thousands of followers this way. Once well known, the odds increase that famous people will retweet you and interact with you. Twitter has made fame — and influence — more easily available to the common man. 

Even without large numbers of followers, Twitter allows anyone to tweet at famous people. Many of them closely monitor these tweets and occasionally respond. Writers tweet their articles at others with large followings, requesting they retweet them. Many do. 

While several prominent conservatives — Robert Stacy McCain, Peter Van Buren and Nick Monroe — have been permanently banned from Twitter, many remain. Twitter hasn’t become a wasteland. Instead, it’s become one of the hottest places on the internet for breaking news.

President Trump has helped with this, tweeting his own breaking news every day. Journalists go to his Twitter feed first every day when looking for White House news. While it’s not necessary to have a Twitter account in order to view tweets on Twitter, without an account you can’t retweet, respond, or comment on tweets.  

Political Speech

Twitter is a private company, so free speech protections don’t apply. Still, a large percentage of political speech now takes place there. If you want to get a message out free to a large group of people, you have to use private social media platforms, especially Twitter. 

Smaller, competing platforms like Gab and MeWe don’t discriminate against conservatives. They may someday take Twitter’s place. At least they might become competitors everyone has to use to reach new audiences. But they’re growing slowly.

Meanwhile, we can’t ignore Twitter. This doesn’t mean conservatives should accept the censorship. Just the opposite. We should speak out loudly and condemn it. We should try to get every example of anti-conservative prejudice reversed. 

While Twitter isn’t as responsive as Facebook is to such pressure, it does back down some of the time. When Twitter permanently banned conservative radio talk show host Jesse Kelly last November, the tremendous outcry caused the company to reverse the ban. Kelly said the ban was significant “because it was a big tool I used to promote my show, to promote things that I had written.” He is not sure why he was banned, he was only told he violated Twitter’s terms of service.  

Others aren’t so lucky. Investigative journalist Laura Loomer was permanently banned from Twitter in November after criticizing Ilhan Omar, a Muslim who had just been elected to Congress as a Democrat from Minnesota. Loomer called Omar “anti-Jewish.” She said she is a member of a religion in which “homosexuals are oppressed” and “women are abused” and “forced to wear the hijab.”

 Twitter Obliges the Left

Yet Twitter doesn’t censor many leftists who tweet hateful things toward Jews. Omar herself tweeted a week ago that American political leaders’ support for Israel is “all about the Benjamins,” a reference to $100 dollar bills. She also tweeted that she thinks the American Israel Public Affairs Committee is paying politicians to support Israel. Twitter took no action against her, despite the public uproar over her remarks. 

Twitter’s list of “offensive” speech is growing. And the new offenses are all conservative. Now, calling a transgender person by their pre-transition names or referring to them with the “wrong” pronouns can get someone banned. The company believes the ancient view of the two sexes, one still held by Christians and others, is hateful. It expects us to accept a man’s claim to be a woman just because he says so. 

Meghan Murphy, a gender-politics blogger, has filed a lawsuit against Twitter after she was banned for referring to a man identifying as a woman as “him.” What’s troubling about this is Murphy’s view is a commonly held viewpoint. Twitter is now censoring regular folks on the right, not just the outspoken ones. 

The right desperately needs a platform that can compete with Twitter. The pressure is mounting every day as the censorship worsens. But until one of the minor competitors gains some major traction, it’s not wise to ignore Twitter.  

 

Follow Rachel on Twitter at Rach_IC. Send tips to rachel.alexander@stream.org. 

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