Social media should NOT be thought-policing for Joe Biden, the Democrat Party & the Deep State
Social media should not be thought-policing for Joe Biden
December 16, 2022: Twitter and Facebook are private companies. People raise this fact every time the issue of social media censorship is raised. Therefore, the argument goes, they can allow or disallow whatever sort of speech they want.
This is true in principle. But the situation changes when a social media platform acts on behalf of a government or presidential administration to censor disfavored speech. At that point, people's First Amendment rights are being violated. Government has no authority to suppress discussion online. It is indeed banned from doing so by the Bill of Rights. And it may not evade this fundamental principle through a third party any more than it may lawfully deputize a private security company to search your home without a warrant.
The Bill of Rights bars the government from regulating free speech and especially political speech. With rare exceptions for defamation, incitement to criminal acts, obscenity, and fraud, the government has no right to silence people. This is a bedrock principle that went without question when America was thriving better than it is now — that is, until the recent rise of the totalitarian Left.
Red flags have been raised by the "Twitter Files" released by the platform's new owner, Elon Musk, and also by the October revelation that the Department of Homeland Security sought to suppress online conversations on certain topics. Whether it is in the name of blocking disinformation or preserving health, safety, or even national security, the government's increasing censorship role is alarming and un-American. The intelligence community, using its own disinformation, got social media to treat news of Hunter Biden's laptop that would have been embarrassing to Biden's father, President Joe Biden, as a piece of Russian disinformation.
As for Twitter, the pre-Musk company's internal communications reveal a thoroughly dishonest corporate culture and possibly perjury in congressional testimony by one of its employees. Twitter employees repeatedly admitted in writing that former President Donald Trump had not incited violence with his Jan. 6 tweets and did not deserve to be banned. Yet the company has repeatedly said the opposite in public. Its assurances that conservative voices were not being deliberately muted have been laid bare as lies.
Defenders of old Twitter disingenuously point out that "de-boosting" was already a known tool, useful for stopping extreme spammers. This is both true and irrelevant. No one is complaining about spammers being "visibility filtered." They're complaining that one side of the political argument was systematically de-boosted using these tools. The mere assertion that children should not be locked out of schools during COVID, which everyone now knows was true, was enough to get accounts secretly suppressed.
The mere possibility of government collusion in censorship is already troubling enough. But the Biden presidential campaign's heavy use of Twitter to get unhelpful tweets removed is undeniable. Given that the assistance was overwhelmingly in Democrats' favor, it raises the separate question of whether Twitter and perhaps other social media companies made large unreported in-kind political contributions to Democratic politicians by helping amplify their message and suppress opposing messages. With Musk hinting that even political candidates were banned by Twitter's woke former staffers, the possibility of a campaign finance violation is not outlandish.
Twitter's former management turned a blind eye to actual harms such as child pornography but obsessed over the imaginary harm of people expressing varied opinions or making jokes about presidential appointees. That says just about everything you need to know about the humorless piety that afflicted Twitter in the past. The nation has already benefited from the change of ownership.
Source: The Washington Examiner