Twitter

Twitter

Twitter apparently is going “Big Brother” on users over speech.

Either that, or it’s making a turn that is distinctly progressive.

The social networking giant recently unveiled a “Trust & Safety Council” as part of a new “strategy to ensure that people feel safe expressing themselves on Twitter.”

The worry?

Some of the “40 organizations and experts” making up the council are frequent critics of conservatives and Christians, including the homosexual rights group GLAAD, the Anti-Defamation League, the feminist organization Feminist Frequency, and the Islamic organization the Wahid Institute.

In its official announcement, Twitter claimed the council would attempt to “strike the right balance between fighting abuse and speaking truth to power.” The rules say they are designed to prevent online bullying, including death threats and encouragement to commit suicide.

However, critics wonder if Twitter is practicing a double standard. Leftists have used Twitter to make violent threats against conservatives, including overt calls to assassinate Republican frontrunner Donald J. Trump, seemingly without much reaction from the social networking giant.

Indeed, supporters of Trump seem to be particularly targeted by Twitter. A number of pro-Trump posters have been banned in recent weeks. Among them was the user @RWSurferGirl, who had over 665,000 followers and had been quoted widely in the mainstream media.

Media critic Milo Yiannopoulos (@Nero), editor of Breitbart Tech, had his “verified” account status revoked for unnamed “violations of the Twitter rules” early in January. Outraged fans started a hashtag, #JeSuisMilo, to express solidarity with Yiannopoulos, which was soon one of the top trending hashtags on the site. However, as of this writing his “verified” status had not been restored.

Yiannopoulos is well known for tangling on and offline with so-called “Social Justice Warriors,” championing what he calls “cultural libertarianism” against any attempts to limit speech in the name of egalitarianism and political correctness.

Leftism is – literally – driving us all insane. Find out how and what to do about it in David Kupelian’s latest blockbuster, “The Snapping of the American Mind.”

Yiannopoulos expects large-scale of purges of conservatives on Twitter.

“They have sent every signal possible that they intend to start punishing conservatives ahead of the election, including de-verifying and shadowbanning prominent writers and public figures,” he told WND. “They have chosen to play dirty and conservatives should be aware of that.”

“Shadowbanning” refers to making a user’s posts visible only to the user, thus denying a user his or her audience.

Twitter reportedly has a “white list” and a “black list,” with prominent conservative, nationalist, and libertarian users being secretly placed on the latter. Users on the “black list” will be essentially unable to communicate with their followers.

Phil Elmore (@Phil_Elmore), an author and WND columnist, believes Twitter is selectively enforcing its policies to deliberately make the site less welcoming to “politically incorrect” views.

“I’ve experienced it myself,” said Elmore. “Twitter claims they take ‘targeted harassment’ very seriously, yet a Twitter user whose timeline was almost 99 percent devoted to harassing me, even after I blocked him, went untouched even after I reported him multiple times. After a while they stopped even bothering to acknowledge my reports. Yet several users whose only ‘violation’ was tweeting as much as once to this person were themselves suspended.

“The worst thing about a Twitter suspension is there is no way to appeal it. You can’t speak to a person and you can’t get any reasonable explanation for what you supposedly did wrong – only canned, boilerplate responses. Twitter hides behind these while selectively removing conservatives and allowing politically correct liberals, no matter how harassing their behavior, to remain.”

The current speech battle on Twitter is in many ways a continuation of “Gamergate,” a scandal over ethics in video game journalism that grew into a massive controversy. A female developer named Zoe Quinn released a “game” of questionable merit called “Depression Quest,” which received rave reviews allegedly as a result of political pressure from feminists as well as Quinn’s personal relationships with reviewers.

One of the key figures in the scandal was self-styled media critic Anita Sarkeesian, who was able to exploit the scandal to draw more attention and funding for her project “Feminist Frequency.”

“Feminist Frequency” criticizes video game content from a feminist perspective. Sarkeesian has been accused of manufacturing threats against herself.

Nonetheless, both Sarkeesian and Quinn were invited to the United Nations to urge global censorship of anti-feminist speech.

Elmore called Sarkeesian’s inclusion on the “Trust & Safety Council” an especially worrying sign for anyone who cares about speech.

“Feminists like Anita Sarkeesian have effectively redefined any and all criticism of them as ‘hate,’ ‘misogyny,’ and ‘harassment,’ effectively creating a screen behind which they hide whenever anyone points out that they have no idea what they’re doing,” he charged.

“Twitter appointing Sarkeesian to its Trust and Safety Council just portends more biased enforcement of Twitter’s vague terms of service. They won’t be happy until they’ve made every online space ‘safe’ for leftist opinions and hostile to all dissent.”

It’s questionable whether purging conservatives is a smart business strategy for the struggling company. Twitter’s core user base is actually declining and the company’s stock recently hit an all-time low.

Twitter’s users are also in revolt over a controversial plan to modify what appears on their timelines. Currently, tweets are shown chronologically. However, a mysterious computer algorithm will soon choose what content to display instead of users themselves.

Critics say such a method could be used to discriminate based on ideology. Though the changes are not mandatory yet, they are expected to be forced through for all users at some point. Outraged users have been circulating the hashtag #RIPTwitter in response.

Yiannopoulos argues Twitter’s efforts at censorship will ultimately destroy the company.

“It is the most monumentally dumb thing they could possibly do,” he laughed. “It seems like these moves coincide with a shocking decline in their stock price. Conservative firebrands and alternative media stars like me are Twitter’s future. Well, we were.”

Elmore is less sanguine, saying the company’s long-term prospects will only be endangered by the rise of a credible competitor.

“I think ultimately it won’t endanger their long-term success,” he said. “Social media is very much integrated into people’s lives. What will happen is that Twitter eventually becomes a ‘safe space’ for liberals because conservatives find it intolerable. We’ll either opt out entirely or we’ll migrate to some new social media site. Sadly, such an uncensored, fairly mediated site has yet to present itself.”

Elmore thinks companies like Twitter ultimately feel it is “safer” to attack conservatives because leftists hold most political power and have a greater willingness to use it to marginalize ideological opponents.

“Left-wingers dominate popular culture and our government, so the ‘safe’ choice is to side with the lefties,” said Elmore. “As the liberals try harder and harder to marginalize conservative thought as politically incorrect, ‘abusive,’ ‘harassing,’ ‘hate speech,’ and so on, the choice for most businesses will continue to be to side with the Left out of fear.”

But Yiannopoulos believes Twitter’s leadership has deliberately made the choice to turn the company political.

“In Twitter’s case, it seems obvious they are more interested in enforcing left-wing social norms than making money,” he charged. “The return of Jack Dorsey as CEO was marked by an immediate collapse in value that has never been arrested. He has turned the company into a liberal attack vector at the expense of his obligations to his shareholders.”

Dorsey is regarded as a progressive and participated in the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, after the shooting death of Michael Brown.

Elmore believes conservatives, libertarians, and everyone who values ideological diversity will ultimately need to get behind a new platform – or build their own.

“The logical response is to build a social media site friendly to conservatives, or at least fairly run for everyone,” he said. “We need a site whose management realizes that just because somebody makes you feel bad, a crime has not been committed. I’d join a site like that in a heartbeat.

“Conservative media succeeds every time it is tried because so many conservatives and libertarians are very aware of the biased treatment they receive in ‘mainstream’ sites – all of which, like Twitter, Facebook, and Google, are owned and run by radical, wealthy left-wingers who hate your freedom. I think we naturally ought to respond by getting behind a platform of our own. That’s the free-market solution.”

Leftism is – literally – driving us all insane. Find out how and what to do about it in David Kupelian’s latest blockbuster, “The Snapping of the American Mind.”

 

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