President Donald Trump is so angry about private social media platforms censoring offensive right-wing posts that he has established a complaint tool on the White House website, prompting libertarian writer Elizabeth Nolan Brown to humiliate him and his supporters.
Trump and Republicans have been throwing a temper tantrum for months over alleged “shadowbanning” by social media companies such as Twitter.
They claim the platforms have a political bias and are targeting conservatives by suspending their accounts or hiding their content from others.
The problem is that Twitter and Facebook are private companies that have the right to regulate what kind of speech can be shared. Hate speech and racism, for instance, are violations of community standards and can lead to suspensions and outright bans.
Trump himself complains that Twitter is somehow preventing him from having more followers than he already does, even though many of his “supporters” are actually just bots. Just in case you were wondering, bot accounts are also a violation of the rules.
All this complaining has drawn lots of ridicule, especially from Brown, who roasted Trump and his conservative supporters as snowflakes while warning that his crusade against social media is actually a war on free speech.
“It’s tempting to merely laugh at this sort of absurdity, to gawk at the blubbering fools who spent years ranting about easily-triggered liberal “snowflakes” only to literally make it a federal matter when their Facebook account gets suspended,” Brown began. “And sure, the self-owning MAGAservative chorus of “No one liked my tweet, I must be shadowbanned!” is a special delicacy.”
“But these collective delusions are now being used by preening, authoritarian asshats—from Sen. Josh Hawley (R–Mo.) to members of the Trump administration itself—to drum up support for policies that take away Americans’ speech rights,” she continued.
“Right now, too many Republicans want us to think it’s a First Amendment violation for a private company to dictate the terms of service on a private platform it owns, but not for the federal government to dictate what individuals can and cannot say on those platforms or to punish private companies that don’t conform to some Congress-created speech code,” she observed.
Indeed, the First Amendment protects free speech from being violated by the government. It doesn’t regulate how private companies regulate their own platforms.
What Republicans are really angry about is that social media companies are not letting them spread their hate and forcing it down everyone’s throat.
“I know it’s clichéd and melodramatic to make 1984 references, but this is some really serious doublethink,” Brown wrote. “The saddest part is that so many Republicans are proving themselves willing to go along with it, out of ignorance or convenience or both. They’ll throw away the whole open internet, their own First Amendment freedoms, and everyone else’s because, by golly, they want those anti-speech snowflakes on the left to see conservatives’ sick AOC memes in their timelines one way or other.”
Allowing the government to take over social media would be a massive mistake. The fact is that these are private companies that make the rules. Even liberal accounts get suspended or taken down over something that was posted. Conservatives are just whining because they think free speech rights only apply to them. If Trump and Republicans have their way, it will.
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