Twitter suspended the account of the U.S. President on Friday, citing a supposed “risk of further incitement of violence,” though it failed to actually identify any such prior incitement. No surprise there – Trump’s failures on Wednesday were legion, but they in no way amounted to “incitement,” which makes citing any incitement exceedingly difficult.
Not that Twitter’s actually concerned about the violence – they only object to what inspired the violence: Congress’s approval of the election of Joe Biden. When the Left was trying to burn down police stations and federal courthouses, Twitter genuflected to Black Lives Matter. And Twitter’s only too happy to oblige the communist thugs torturing the Uighurs of western China. But, then, that is their violence. Leftist violence.
But even taking Twitter at its word, its decision doesn’t hold up. University of Wisconsin law professor and blogger Ann Althouse lists what she calls the seven “most violent statements.” None of them can be construed as encouraging violence or criminal acts, which is what the law actually requires. As UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh puts it, citing the 1969 Supreme Court case Brandenburg v. Ohio, which set the legal standard, “even ‘advocacy of the use of force or of law violation’ can’t be punished unless it ‘is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.’ Saying things that foreseeably move some audience members to act illegally isn’t enough.”
So the millennial hall monitors that run Twitter suspended the account of the U.S. President on Friday and then lied about why. They also suspended Gen. Michael Flynn and attorney Sidney Powell, who committed the sin of sharing conspiracy theories involving QAnon.
Oh, and then Google Play kicked Twitter alternative Parler off its platform.
And Apple is threatening to do the same.
And YouTube suspended Steve Bannon’s account.
And Simon and Schuster cancelled its publication of Senator Josh Hawley’s book.
Meanwhile, it takes an uproar to get Twitter to decide a tweet by communist China’s U.S. embassy promoting genocide violated its terms. It’s good to be Red in Twitterville.
As the Left loves to point out whenever conservatives point out the disparate way Twitter treats them compared to, say, genocidal monsters, Twitter and the other tech giants are privately owned companies, and so not subject to constitutional limits on free speech. Funny they don’t seem to recognize such rights when it comes to mandating private companies, say, pay for employee abortions – but when it comes to shutting conservatives up, the Left is only too happy to oblige. Their devotion to open discourse is, uh, falling into question.
But here the Left plays with fire, as it tends to do. After all, Twitter uses the internet, which was, as everyone knows, created by the U.S. government. Lawyers are crafty types; shouldn’t take long for an enterprising advocate to come up with some theory, arguing that the internet is a public utility, and discriminating against some is discriminating against all, or some line of bull of similar aroma.
Even Alexander Graham Bell didn’t go kicking racists like Woodrow Wilson off his telephone lines.
Though now that I think of it, that might not have been such a bad idea…