December 14, 2016

The deplorable notion that Twitter should kick out Donald Trump.

Addressed by the NYT's Farhad Manjoo in "Twitter Has the Right to Suspend Donald Trump. But It Shouldn’t."

If you think private entities should engage in censorship because they have a legal right to do it, you should be ashamed of your lack of free speech values.

This has been a big topic of mine for a long time. I'll just refer you to:

1. "When did the left turn against free speech?"

2. "The Bob Wright/Ann Althouse email exchange about what free speech means in the context of saying Roger Ailes needs to kick Glenn Beck off Fox News."

51 comments:

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Twitter isn't going to kick the POTUS off, no matter what he says. If it did it's stock would plummet and that Gab thing would really take off.

Nonapod said...

Yeah, banning Donald would be a really, reeeally bad idea for Twitter.

Twitter (and the entire left) need to get over themselves.

Fabi said...

Twitter isn't that stupid. Right?

Ron Winkleheimer said...

I like a comment I saw on another blog. The left keeps doing things without taking into account who they are dealing with, which is Donald Freaking Trump.

Hunter said...

Tend to agree, more likely than not Trump's account isn't going anywhere. But it's hard to say with confidence. This is a topic in the first place because Twitter has censored high-profile individuals (Milo) for what appeared to be largely political reasons.

On the other hand, the backlash over Milo was pretty big. Maybe someone noticed.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

The opposition the left is used to and keeps expecting.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdFLPn30dvQ

What they are actually getting.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLHFdduVDVg

robother said...

Twas the making of Glenn Beck, though. (Until his own unmaking.)

Hunter said...

I've also tried to engage lefties on free speech as a value. It's hard to get them to budge from "the First Amendment only applies to the government".

It is almost as though their ideology can't account for some things being neither good nor illegal.

Big Mike said...

Does Ywitter have any patents that a Trump-funded startup couldn't easily get around?

Qwerty Smith said...

Hunter said... It is almost as though [lefties'] ideology can't account for some things being neither good nor illegal.

That's because they think everything that is not good should be illegal. They leave no breathing room between forbidden and compulsory (T.H. White).

Ron Winkleheimer said...

The RNC convention

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ep-xgd_eETE

Election Night

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pX71mALOPKs

Hey Skipper said...

From the article:

If you look closely at Mr. Trump’s Twitter messages, he has appeared to tack just inside the lines of the service’s rules of conduct.

If there was ever the perfect example of a conclusion absent an argument, this is it. There are three examples of Trumptweets in the article; only one is on point:

Chuck Jones, who is President of United Steelworkers 1999, has done a terrible job representing workers. No wonder companies flee country!

Please, using charts, diagrams, and equations as appropriate, explain how this tweet is even within shouting distance of the rules of conduct, unless practically every damn tweetster there is needs rubbishing.

(Why doesn't Fahrad deserve a fake news tag?)

Kristian Holvoet said...

Donald Trump will have the right to direct GFE (government funded equipment) to block Twitter, but he shouldn't.

Freder Frederson said...

Oh come on, even you occasionally censor comments. And every private entity censors in some respect. Just try and post a nude picture on Facebook (there no nudity policy even was applied to the famous photo of the napalm victim from Vietnam, until they had to backtrack).

Not that I think twitter should suspend Trump, but it would be nice if they fact checked his tweets. He is irresponsible for spreading lies like he would have won the popular vote if all the illegal voters were eliminated or that he won the Electoral College in a landslide (his margin is historically slim).

mikee said...

The Left has always been at war against free speech.
Even longer than we have always been at war with Oceania.

The Left used to have significant control of public discourse, via ideological conformity of a much smaller number of gatekeepers in limited media venues.

Now the Left is trying to regain control of public discourse the same way in media that are by their very nature much less subject to ideological conformity in use.

Good luck with that. MySpace still exists, too.

Matthew Sablan said...

I don't get why Chuck Jones is considered a private person when Joe the Plumber was not.

Nonapod said...

lies like he would have won the popular vote if all the illegal voters were eliminated

First off, that's impossible to definitively prove one way or another, unlike "If you like your Healthcare Plan, you can keep your Healthcare plan" or "I didn't set a red line." or any of the other hundreds of demonstrable lies told by a certain person over the past 8+ years. But if you expect Twitter (or whomever) to "fact check" politicians you would have to assume a level of objectivity on their part that they haven't demonstrated before.

clint said...

"Freder Frederson said...

Not that I think twitter should suspend Trump, but it would be nice if they fact checked his tweets. He is irresponsible for spreading lies like he would have won the popular vote if all the illegal voters were eliminated or that he won the Electoral College in a landslide (his margin is historically slim)."

Are you sure you want them to go down that path? Once they start fact checking, don't they open themselves up to legal liability for every libelous or fraudulent tweet?

rehajm said...

If you think private entities should engage in censorship because they have a legal right to do it, you should be ashamed of your lack of free speech values.

Meh. There's no sustainable comparative advantage in the Twitter platform. Go build your own sandbox.

Matthew Sablan said...

"He is irresponsible for spreading lies like he would have won the popular vote if all the illegal voters were eliminated or that he won the Electoral College in a landslide (his margin is historically slim)."

-- First, Trump's millions of illegal voters is no more irresponsible than the left's "RUSSIA HACKED THE ELECTION FOR TRUMP!" In fact, one is a legitimate, if hyperbolic, complaint about illegal immigration that can lead to actual discussion, whether you agree or disagree with Trump. The other is a scare tactic designed to undermine the legal authority of the United States to weaken it internally.

Second: More than 300 EVs is not "slim." Of course, the problem is that you're taking what he said on that, and reinterpreting it into something you can take offense at.

rehajm said...

Adjust your attitude re: Twitter. It isn't an open forum of communication and ideas but a backwater of approved leftie screeds.

Hey Skipper said...

[Freder Frederson: He is irresponsible for spreading lies like he would have won the popular vote if all the illegal voters were eliminated or that he won the Electoral College in a landslide (his margin is historically slim).

Which was in response for Stein, that loathsome fool, demanding recounts on pretexts that would have to be a thousand times thicker than they were to reach the impregnability of "tissue thin".

Given the ludicrous lack of scrutiny involved with California's motor voter registration, in what regard is he more wrong than she is?

Freder Frederson said...

Are you sure you want them to go down that path? Once they start fact checking, don't they open themselves up to legal liability for every libelous or fraudulent tweet?

Frankly, if Twitter shut down tomorrow I couldn't care less. The only thing I would miss is following FloridaMan.

Matthew Sablan said...

Also, maybe not illegal aliens, but it seems like blue cities have many, many problems with voting tabulation. Thanks Stein!

Freder Frederson said...

First, Trump's millions of illegal voters is no more irresponsible than the left's "RUSSIA HACKED THE ELECTION FOR TRUMP!"

Actually, it is. The latter is the conclusion of the CIA (not the left), the former is the conclusion of the monkeys flying out of someones butt.

Matthew Sablan said...

The CIA's conclusions are not that convincing and appear to be quite open to reasonable disagreement.

Which is not how the left is treating them.

Matthew Sablan said...

Honestly, though, no one has provided a good "Why Trump?"

Up until Hillary was losing, Trump was a less Pro-Russia candidate than the woman who brokered them a deal for uranium, from the party that promised them more flexibility and whose current president insisted that the foreign policy of the 1980s was a thing of the past and it was wrong to think of Russia as our enemy.

The only reason Russia is antagonistic towards Hillary is because her team scapegoated Russia after their own incompetency.

Matthew Sablan said...

Also: "Reports of the assessment by the CIA, which has not publicly disclosed its findings, have prompted congressional leaders to call for an investigation."

So, forgive me if I wait a bit to believe what I'm told the CIA's just happened to perfectly agree with a left-leaning talking point, despite on record intelligence agencies saying that that conclusion isn't right.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

There is another angle here with Twitter being a public company whose managers and directors have a fiduciary duty to its shareholders. Do they have the right to ban Trump from a Twitter if doing so would tank the stock price? Do they have a right not to ban him if not doing so would tank the stock price?

Kristian Holvoet said...

The only thing I would miss is following FloridaMan.

He is a treasure.

Hunter said...

The "Free Speech Movement" makes more sense if you think of it in the same vein as Positive Rights and Social Justice.

Positive Rights aren't rights, but obligations imposed upon other people.
Social Justice isn't justice, but targeted injustice meant to shift outcomes.

So Positive Free Speech may start with the thesis "I will force you to let me speak" but then progresses to "I will force you to shut up and listen" and finally "You will not encroach on my speech by arguing with it."

Brando said...

When have they ever been "for" free speech? Hint--being in favor of speech you like is not "being for free speech".

When a leftist defends the speech rights of the KKK or other groups they presumably find deplorable, that's defending free speech. When they get mad about Dixie Chick boycotts, that's just defending their own side.

sunsong said...

I don't recall this kind of love for the first amendment when Trump was talking about taking away citizenship for flag burning! That is an exponentially more serious breech than losing a twitter account. Twitter is a private company for God's sake.

Brando said...

"I don't recall this kind of love for the first amendment when Trump was talking about taking away citizenship for flag burning! That is an exponentially more serious breech than losing a twitter account. Twitter is a private company for God's sake."

I thought Althouse did come out against Trump's statement on flag burning? Anyway, Twitter isn't a First Amendment issue, just a general "free speech" issue. It's of course up to Twitter who they keep and who they ban, but if they ban enough people some competitor may swoop in to be the more "open" application.

Michael said...

The left, when it was Liberal, was for free speech but liberalism gave way to progressivism and that was the end of speech as a right for all.

And nothing says free speech more than speaking out for its elimination, or tweaking to silence.

Alex said...

Time to sign up for Gab.ai. No longer be hostage to the Silicon Valley Commmies.

Alex said...

Considering that Twitter is a monopoly in the type of social network it runs, I think having some government oversight re: free speech is important. If Twitter had actual competition it wouldn't matter.

Brando said...

"Considering that Twitter is a monopoly in the type of social network it runs, I think having some government oversight re: free speech is important. If Twitter had actual competition it wouldn't matter."

Why do they have a monopoly? Is anything stopping someone from creating a competitor that is more dedicated to free expression?

Hell, I'd like to see a Facebook competitor so that we get feeds that include more than crazy aunts spreading the latest Snopes-disproven rumor and overused memes.

Alex said...

Twitter nails the mechanics of the social network very well. The timeline, composing a tweet, mobile apps and notifications. That's why they are successful, not because of their 'free speech' policy.

Brando said...

"Twitter nails the mechanics of the social network very well. The timeline, composing a tweet, mobile apps and notifications. That's why they are successful, not because of their 'free speech' policy."

Right--but those advantages don't appear to be something that couldn't be replicated (such as IP protected processes). Maybe they'll go the way of MySpace some day.

Alex said...

Brando - the thing is network effects make Twitter/Facebook/Instagram runaway monopolies to the point that even the idea of a competitor is sheer lunacy. Given Instagram is owned by Facebook it means that 2 companies(Twitter & Facebook) have 100% control of the 3 social networks that matter. This is very dangerous.

hstad said...

So if Twitter banned Trump, who has over 40 million followers, Twitters total universe equals 317 million followers, which means Trump could cost Twitter 12% of their followers. Dumb concept, and if it happened the Board of Directors would immediately fire the Twitter management team.

Brando said...

"Brando - the thing is network effects make Twitter/Facebook/Instagram runaway monopolies to the point that even the idea of a competitor is sheer lunacy. Given Instagram is owned by Facebook it means that 2 companies(Twitter & Facebook) have 100% control of the 3 social networks that matter. This is very dangerous."

Yeah--Facebook has been dominant longer than I figured it would. Once people become invested it's hard to unstick that.

Maybe the Anti-Trust division at DOJ will look into it...

Brando said...

"So if Twitter banned Trump, who has over 40 million followers, Twitters total universe equals 317 million followers, which means Trump could cost Twitter 12% of their followers. Dumb concept, and if it happened the Board of Directors would immediately fire the Twitter management team."

Not just the number of followers, but the fact that a president is actually using their application as a key means of communicating with both the public and the media? No way they ban him. He could tweet out death threats and they'd do nothing more than tut tut.

Bay Area Guy said...

The Left strongly believes in Free Speech,

Except, of course, for Hate Speech.

And, they loosely define Hate Speech, as "stuff they don't like."

Fabi said...

Nice to see sunsong come to the defense of private companies! Does that also apply to cake bakers?

Alex said...

Fabi - we have non-discrimination laws on the basis of sexual orientation that doesn't allow what the Christian baker did. However Twitter is not obligated to allow Donald Trump's white supremacist hate speech.

Gahrie said...

@Alex:

How about all those companies and CEOs saying they don't want to do business with Trump voters......

I know, I know that's different because ....

Gahrie said...

And, they loosely define Hate Speech, as "stuff they don't like."

More and more you need to add "and questions they can't answer".

PeterJ said...

Who on earth is Fathead Manjoo?

EMD said...

"fact checked his tweets."

Yours first.