Suddenly, Twitter is concerned about free speech
If you think the title is a joke, it isn't. Indeed, just the other day, a "Twitter spokesperson" expressed alarm about actions that "undermine the public conversation and the rights of people to make their voices heard."
You are wrong if you think this "Twitter spokesperson" meant Twitter's ban on President Trump. Not in the least. The spokesperson is appalled by Twitter's having been shut down in a country far from U.S. borders: Myanmar (Burma). Here's a report citing reactions from Facebook and Twitter:
Rafael Frankel, Facebook's director of public policy, APAC emerging countries, said in a statement to The Verge that the company was "extremely concerned" by the shutdown orders, and urged authorities to unblock access immediately. "At this critical time, the people of Myanmar need access to important information and to be able to communicate with their loved ones," Frankel said.
A Twitter spokesperson echoed that concern, saying in an email to The Verge that the order "undermines the public conversation and the rights of people to make their voices heard. The Open Internet is increasingly under threat around the world. We will continue to advocate to end destructive government-led shutdowns."
Twitter has a good opportunity to lead by example. Isn't it a good moment to show that it indeed values "the public conversation and the rights of people to make their voices heard" — by restoring President Trump's access and apologizing to the American people for cutting it off in the first place? Isn't it time to restore the accounts of so many Americans it banned from its platform for voicing their opinions?
Defending free speech overseas while suppressing it at home rings hollow. Charity begins at home.