[January 15, 2021] Leaders around the world are starting to speak out in condemnation of Twitter’s censorship of U.S. President Trump and others they don’t agree with politically.1 This backlash is about Twitter trampling on fundamental democratic freedoms. The leadership of Twitter has repeatedly stated that their censorship goals are only about safety and are not biased in any manner.
Democratic leaders are coming forward, saying that Trump’s banning is a decision that should be left up to the citizens and not to a private company.2 For example, French Finance Minister Le Maire said that “the regulation of digital giants cannot be done by the digital oligarchy itself,” adding that big tech was “one of the threats” to democracy. He has a good point.
We do not see this thinking as a general trend in the U.S., which is terrible news. Freedom of expression is a long-held value and a fundamental right. Yet, nearly every major news outlet, teachers’ union, most politicians, and private businesses are okay with the censorship. If you disagree with the current political progressive ideology, expect to be banned, canceled, de-platformed, doxed, cut off from social media, and worse. And, you being censored will be cheered.
Yesterday morning, I received an email from Richard Pearson, Executive Director of the Illinois State Rifle Association. He noted that many firearm groups rely on the Internet and social media platforms to communicate with their members and others. He warns that this access may now be eliminated or at least made much more difficult and expensive. He went on to give examples where that is already happening.
Some free nations are rising up against this form of soft tyranny. The country of Uganda, for example, had its presidential election yesterday. They ordered that Twitter and all other social media be blocked until sometime after their election. Interestingly, Twitter’s Public Policy tweeted that “We strongly condemn internet shutdowns; they are hugely harmful, violate basic human rights and the principles of the #OpenInternet.” At first, I thought this was satire, but not so. The irony was staggering.
Twitter’s leadership, specifically Jack Dorsey as Twitter’s CEO, is not just cowardly but hypocritical. How could it be that the leaders of Twitter are so unaware of their own hypocrisy? When you live in an ideological bubble and are oblivious to social realities, expect to be mocked and humiliated as Twitter has been.
And now, tens of millions of Twitter users are migrating off their platform to other alternatives. It might be that Jack Dorsey and his followers don’t care.3 Dorsey believes he is immune from any responsibility. Fine, but by any standard, Twitter’s actions are an abject leadership failure.
All those who love freedom should be appalled. The first step is to speak up about this despotism and stand firm against those who support it. Ask yourself this question, “Am I a watchdog of freedom or a licking puppy of tyranny?”
A tidbit of information: On this date, January 15, 1870, was the first recorded use of the donkey to represent the Democrat Party. Twitter is a donkey, par excellence.
- Frankly, I was surprised by the chorus of national leaders who typically hide from this kind of controversy.
- As a commercial company, Twitter is a multi-billion dollar company with just under 5,000 employees in about 25 locations worldwide. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twitter