Twitter is wildly censoring President Trump
Since he rode down the escalator, President Trump has relied on Twitter to speak directly to the American people. (He also uses it to drive the media crazy, which is always a pleasant spectacle.) With the election outcome in dispute thanks to the bizarre and suspicious behavior of Democrat-run states and election districts, Trump has again been trying to communicate to Americans. Twitter is doing its best to stop him. The Department of Justice should move against Twitter on purely constitutional grounds, without requiring any special legislation.
Twitter is a wonderfully designed piece of software. The interface is easy to view and easy to use. Much as I would like to make Parler the new Twitter because Parler does not censor political views, I find the interface sadly clunky and non-intuitive. Conservatives are trying to move there, but it's just not fun and simple.
And of course, Trump is staying on Twitter. He's where the action is, thanks to his 88.3 million followers. During these insecure days, Trump has been trying to have a tweetstorm to keep his base informed and engaged. The hard-left activists at Twitter are doing everything they can to stop him.
Trump tweeted out a short clip of a speech he gave on Thursday, in which he said Detroit and Philadelphia are famous for corruption and should not be allowed to affect the outcome of this election. He also added that the Republicans won a case against Philadelphia regarding election observers, only to have the election officials ignore the court order. The fact that they're refusing to allow observers, he said, indicates that they're trying to commit fraud.
To get to that video, though, one has to click past a warning saying, "Some or all of the content shared in this Tweet is disputed and might be misleading about an election or other civil process."
Reading that, every free and logical person should ask, much as Ted Cruz asked of Twitter's CEO Jack Dorsey, "Who the hell are you, Twitter, to decide what the American people can hear?"
Only after clicking "view" can one get to the video itself. And again, that warning message is there, along with more encouragement to see Twitter's side of things. Note, too, that people cannot comment on or like the tweet. They can only retweet it:
Even retweeting is fraught because Twitter again tries to force its views on users:
So, to retweet Trump's tweet, one has to hit yet another button. And that's when one learns that the only thing Twitter allows its users to retweet is its warning:
In 1964, via the Civil Rights Act, the federal government announced that places of public accommodation could not discriminate against people based on race, sex, creed, country of national origin, etc. I doubt the statute's constitutionality because it constrains the freedom of those who wish to be stupid, unpleasant, and generally bad. The Constitution doesn't give the government power to control any of those nasty traits. However, as a whole, society agreed that the prohibition against discrimination in places of public accommodation was a good thing.
The tech giants have also become places of public accommodation — but not for sleeping, eating, and shopping. Instead, they have become the new public square, for they are the spaces in which speech occurs.
As Dan Bongino once said, with social media's massive expansion and its complete control over public discourse — including the president's — it's as if the tech tyrants bought up all the property around the public square and then announced that nobody could get to the public square without passing through their censorship. No person or entity should have that kind of total control over a constitutional right in a free society.
What I keep arguing is that we don't need legislation such as the Civil Rights Act to break the tech tyrants' stranglehold. We've got something better, which is the First Amendment itself.
Yes, it's directed at the government, not at private companies. However, as I noted, America freely forced on privately run places of public accommodation a government prohibition against discrimination. It can certainly do the same for freedom of speech. The rule would be that if a private entity has achieved so much power that it is blocking people from exercising an explicit constitutional right, that entity has taken upon itself quasi-governmental power and is therefore subject to constitutional strictures.
In the case of speech, Twitter must allow free speech in the same way as the government itself – legal speech is permitted, even if people disagree with it. Illegal speech (incitements to violence, threats, pornography that involves or can reach children, etc.) is not allowed. (The same rules would apply to Facebook.)
There'll be lots of ugly speech, but as I learned long ago, sunlight is the best disinfectant, and the way to defeat a bad argument is with a good argument.