With the rise of independent voices and media online and the 2016 election of Donald Trump, social media companies have taken it upon themselves, most likely from outside pressure, to start policing and censoring the ideas published on their platforms. It started with the extreme personalities like Alex Jones, but that censorship quickly encroached on mainstream political thought and activists. Laura Loomer was banned from Twitter for criticism of Ilhan Omar. Comedian Megan Murphy was permanently suspended from twitter for referring to someone as “him”. The victim of this online transgression claimed he/she was “misgendered”.
I am an absolutist when it comes to free speech. Any and all speech should be free from censorship as long as it does not call for violence. This is the common standard most Americans have embraced to safeguard our constitutionally enshrined natural right to speech. As a private company, Twitter is not compelled to guarantee our rights, but as consumers on their platform, we should insist and expect that their standards are equally applied to everybody regardless of their political standing.
At the moment this is not the case.
The most recent and glaring example of this was Twitter’s recent decision to ban a video tweeted out by President Trump. The video consisted of Doctors sharing their clinical experience and success with a potential treatment for COVID-19. This was banned at a time when Iranian dictator Ayatollah Ali Khamanei regularly tweets about his desire and intention to destroy Israel, the only Jewish state. Twitter is compelled to step in when a conservative President of the United Stares shares a video of doctors during a pandemic, but excuses Khamanei’s Hitlerian ambitions with a two-word excuse, “public affairs”. There’s no way of excusing this; it is utterly despicable, unethical and hypocritical.
I am very concerned with Twitter’s decisions and political bias because it is shaping the political perspectives of its users and setting new precedents that are antithetical to our American values. In America, there’s freedom of speech. That means anyone can say anything they want no matter how hurtful or how false-they just cannot tell someone to commit an act of violence. Again, twitter is a private business, but we are using their tools. Shouldn’t we be demanding they try to reflect the values of our society? Or do they actually think that their terms and policies are more informed than the centuries of philosophy underpinning our constitution? And if not that, then at a minimum we should expect that they enforce their rules objectively and uniformly.
With the disturbing escalation of antisemitism on the far left, Jew hatred is one of the areas completely ignored by the Twitter police. Being targeted for violations for calling out Jew hate is a daily topic of concern for Jewish Twitter users. Some have sent me screen shots while others tell me about their experiences via private message. If we are censored, considered in violation of their rules, and put on a “time out” just for calling out antisemitism, why aren’t they doing the same to Ali Khamenei? This has led to mass confusion about their judgement calls. There have been rumors, whispers, and mumblings online that Twitter, themselves, has its own institutional racist problem; antisemitism. A bold statement that is becoming increasingly hard to deny. This sentiment among Jews and Jewish allies recently culminated with Jewish Twitter users calling for a 48-hour black out of the app in order to prove a point. Twitter saw it, responded by banning people like David Duke, and then got back to business allowing Ali Khamanei to tweet out death to Israel.
As stated in my opening paragraph, I am an absolutist. I believe in the right of freedom of speech. I am not here to say any false or hateful thing should be censored. I am here to say that direct calls for violence towards an entire people cannot be tolerated anywhere. It is in direct violation of their own rules and it is in direct violation of many countries’ rules. To label it as “public affairs,’ was a slap in the face to all Jewish and freedom-loving people. We demand they rectify this or the 48-hour boycott will be repeated on a more permanent basis