Twitter is taking action against conservatives. It is taking away verifications on conservative accounts. It is also suspending the accounts of conservatives.
Twitter is a public company, but it’s also a private company. It can do what it wants. The Bill of Rights and the First Amendment don’t apply to Twitter. However, because it’s a public company and because it’s supposed to be a place where free communication takes place, it seems like actively banning accounts management doesn’t agree with will hurt the company. They have a Trust and Safety council that actively monitors Twitter accounts.
Terrorists and other unsavory people have used Twitter to communicate, recruit and publicize their activity. One of the things about free speech is that people can say anything. You might not agree with it, but they have the right to say it. If it’s wrong, you can let it go or you can call them on it. The beauty of social media is that it is easier to discredit people.
Of course, some people have used Twitter and other social media accounts to publicly humiliate people they don’t agree with. But, if you value free speech, you have to take the good with the bad. One of the virtues of free markets is they allocate resources better than centrally controlled bureaucracies. One of the frustrating things about free markets is they can take time to allocate those resources and in the process look very messy.
Twitter is shadowbanning various accounts. The ideal situation is when the user doesn’t even realize they have been shadowbanned. Milo Yiannopoulos (@nero) has been shadowbanned. Milo is a gay conservative.
Robert Stacy McCain is a conservative pundit/blogger. He has been very vocal about the false campus rape accusations that are happening all over the US. His account was banned by Twitter.
What is shadowbanning?
Shadowbanning, sometimes known as “Stealth Banning” or “Hell Banning,” is commonly used by online community managers to block content posted by spammers. Instead of banning a user directly (which would alert the spammer to their status, prompting them to create a new account), their content is merely hidden from public view.
I am empathetic to social media platforms because spammers will use them to get their crap out. But, at the same time, Twitter has done the same thing as Obama’s IRS. Targeting accounts simply for their views.
In the last six months, Twitter rolled out a feature called “moments”. It’s their curation of topics on Twitter. One of the things conservatives feared is that Moments will be biased. After seeing what the company did with shadowbanning, and delisting accounts, does anyone have confidence that the curation of moments won’t be very biased?
It would be a total shame to have to startup a new company that was “conservative Twitter”. It also would be a waste of time and resources. The beauty of Twitter is that you can curate your own feed. It’s a river of information. My own personal feed has both conservatives and liberals. It has classical economists and Keynesians. Having those ideas smash each other together in my feed creates value for me because I specifically designed my Twitter feed NOT to be an echo chamber. If I want to experience an echo chamber I can turn on MSNBC or other main stream media. Or, I could read the NY Times.
One of the purest ideals that the American founders had was that people were intelligent. They could think for themselves. Individual liberty was prized over everything else. The quicker Twitter embraces that ideal for the company, the quicker their stock price will start to turn around.
The company is certainly under pressure. They continually miss earnings and they aren’t growing. Actively disenfranchising 50% of the US population isn’t going to help.