The Ideological Walls Dividing Social Media Equality

In the postmodern era, communication accessibility has expanded to an unmatched level—not ever before seen since the abandonment of Latin within the Church. With this grand expansion and abundant freedom has come a necessity of civil responsibility. However, not all are called to uphold their duties and responsibilities. To counter the reckless, totalitarian limitations are placed, resulting in a curtailing of free speech and a forced acceptance of leftist culture.

This tension in social media is centered around ideology. Twitter, the primary platform of modern discourse, claims to promote free speech and diversity of opinion. As a platform, it does not. It is a vacuum of common ideological culture, ill representative of the populace. A lack of tolerance towards conservative or dissident thinking has also led to suppression and censorship. 

“I don’t think that’s fair or right,” says CEO Jack Dorsey in reference to Twitter’s own company environment. Twitter has become so liberal that its conservative employees “don’t feel safe to express their opinions.” Dorsey acknowledged the company’s overwhelmingly strong viewpoint in a 2018 interview with NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen. At the time, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions considered a formal investigation into the suppression of conservative viewpoints. Like other social media platforms, Twitter tries to avoid political bias with the use of software algorithms. However, these algorithms are written by humans, making them innately biased. Policy development and enforcement philosophy are thus geared towards a left-wing progressive viewpoint more representative of Silicon Valley.

Twitter claims it does not tolerate behavior that “harasses, threatens, or uses fear to silence” individuals (“Twitter’s Enforcement Philosophy & Approach to Policy Development”). Controversial, offensive, and even bigoted perspectives are allowed to reflect real-world conversations. When it comes to policy, Twitter conducts its research and drafting through its internal teams and Trust & Safety Council. Enforcement is primarily focused on the context of the messaging. Twitter considers who the behavior is being directed at, who files the report, the severity of the violation, and if the content is of public interest. Furthermore, the impact of the content and its source are also considered providing room for editorialization (“Twitter’s Enforcement Philosophy & Approach to Policy Development”).

Many conservatives allege suppression and censorship, but it may not genuinely be either. Ideological values may be the true focal point of the problem. However, Twitter is not very transparent and rather ambiguous with its rules. The primary biases, if they lie in values, must lie within what is deemed “hateful conduct” and “abusive behavior.” What is considered “hateful” and “abusive” does not correlate to each value system equally. This leaves room for bias to take root and manifest in suppression and censorship.

In June of 2018, a Pew poll found 72% of Americans believe social media companies censor views they don’t agree with. Conservatives had relied on anecdotal proof until 2019 when Quillette conducted their own empirically driven research. Still, evidence of abuse does not answer the “how.” In Quillette’s research, Richard Hanania remarked: 

Harassment and the advocacy of violence are serious issues, and there is nothing morally objectionable about social media companies removing this kind of content from their platforms. However, such laudable objectives should not be used as cover to prosecute ideological campaigns. 

Hanania acknowledges the root of the issue to be the contextualization of the code of conduct.

Twitter’s contextual evaluation came under hardened scrutiny after a New York Times tech writer’s tweet displayed anti-white racism. Sarah Jeong tweeted several derogatory tweets aimed at white people. “Oh man its kind of sick how much joy I get out of being cruel to old white men,” Jeong tweeted in 2014. “White people have stopped breeding. You’ll all go extinct soon. This was my plan all along,” tweeted Jeong. “Are white people genetically predisposed to burn faster in the sun, thus logically only fit to live underground like groveling goblins.” Those are only a few of the racist tweets from Jeong, who tweeted a hashtag “CancelWhitePeople.” Twitter did not suspend Jeong’s account or remove the tweets. She also posted a graph claiming that “whiteness” resulted in being “awful.” She has claimed that it was only satire but apologized, nonetheless.

In an attempt to expose the double standard of leftist antics, prominent conservative activist and commentator Candace Owens mimicked Jeong’s tweets. She swapped “white” and “men” with “black,” “Jewish,” and “women.” Owens was banned for 12 hours, with Twitter citing her tweets about Jews as the reason for the ban. Strange how when its derogatory against Jews its bad, but with whites its not. Twitter later reinstated Owens’ account, claiming they “made an error.”

The anti-white sentiment has emerged full throttle after the death of George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer. Leftists claim the rhetoric is “antiracist.” Preaching the decline of whites doesn’t appear to be “antiracist,” though. These illiberal progressives believe in a notion of white repentance or social reparations. Many claim that it is impossible to be racist against whites. As a result of this discrimination, many alt-right and dissident right responded on Twitter with the hashtag “itsokaytobewhite.” The hashtag was almost purged from Twitter, but too many stood against anti-white racism to let Big Tech decide their values. It is odd enough that white progressives are okay with this anti-white racism. It is like they do not value their own identity. Nonetheless, the anti-white sentiment is stronger than any white identitarian belief which is why it is more palatable for Twitter’s platform. That does not excuse the racism, particularly from whites; it only demonstrates the substantial divergence of values, logos, and perspective.

Jeong is one of many who have overstepped the boundary. Former democrat congressional candidate Saira Rao has made similar tweeting decisions. Her timeline is fully dedicated to the “white man.” She has made it clear what she is about, and yet Twitter struggles to see any hate. In 2019, Rao tweeted, “White people have done everything to make my life miserable. Yet I’m supposed to not hate white people? If we were to replace white with black or any other race, she would have been suspended. She has a verified account and tweets the vilest things against white people. Rao is known in the dissident circles of the right as a “racial comic.” However, there is nothing funny coming from this first-generation American Indian. After her primary defeat, Rao said she was ready to “give up” on white people, accusing them of her loss. She has furthered the claim of racism against the DNC with rather bombastic accusations. Ironically, Rao even hosts her own club called “Race to Dinner,” where she invites white women to join her private dinners to “bear witness” to the pain of “Black and Brown” women. If it isn’t clear enough, this woman wholeheartedly hates white people.

The white guilt of modern culture has gotten out of hand, but it is a tenet of the new liberalism. How can one who values their identity adhere to the new gospel? Twitter demands adherence, and if you are to repulse the anti-white rhetoric via discourse, expect limitations on your account. Imagine if Rao’s words were about any other race. She would be shunned, publicly shamed, and banned from these platforms. Strangely familiar, that is what has happened to Donald J. Trump. And yet, we have struggled to find real racism in the former president’s words. But he said, “China virus!” Wuhan is in China, so his words seem fitting. Regardless, Twitter cannot expect white people to allow this. They have been letting enough slide by with illiberal thought, intolerance for their heritage, social classism based on racial identity, etc. It is maddening how strange the world has become, especially to the apolitical white person. Twitter should at least acknowledge the cultural reckoning and set aside some “privileges” similar to the protected classes.

Regrettably, the anti-white embracement of liberal whites prevents a conversation about equal treatment on the platform. Far-left democrats understand this while also understanding their protection as “protected classes.” No one stands up against anti-white racism except the dissidents who are falsely labeled and shamed to the corners. No one is “supposed” to advocate for the white masses. 

When Ilhan Omar tweets antisemitic commentary, things are handled differently. In June of 2021, Omar tweeted a moral equivalence between the U.S., Israeli and Afghan actions to those taken by the Taliban and Hamas. 

We must have the same level of accountability and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity. We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban. I asked @SecBlinken where people are supposed to go for justice. 

In a Morning Consult/Politico poll, 31% of voters said the tweet was antisemitic, while 41% said it was not. 35% believed it was hostile to Jewish people. Alas, Omar has apologized for her tweets, so “it’s okay,” at least according to the people who count. In 2012, she tweeted “Israel has hypnotized the world” and in 2018 she posted, “Drawing attention to the apartheid Israeli regime is far from hating Jews.” In 2019 she tweeted, “the Benjamin’s baby,” a reference to a song about $100 bills, and AIPAC, a pro-Israeli lobbying group. The Jewish Committee Relations Council of Minnesota claims the references are clearly antisemitic. Again, after racist remarks, democrats issue an apology, thus immune from responsibility and cancellation. Twitter still has yet to take any action against Omar. She is of a protected class which apparently supersedes her accountability as a public figure. This is why care ethics may be ideal but not practical.

In 2015, after Donald J. Trump declared victory in the U.S. presidential elections, comedian Kathy Griffin tweeted an image of her holding a bloody decapitated head of the newly elected president. Griffin did not provide any “context,” which might explain why the photo was up for 9 hours. It broke the sensitive media policy, which states a user “may not post media that is excessively gory or share violent or adult content within live video or in profile header, or Lists banner images. Media depicting sexual violence and/or assault is also not permitted.” The exceptions to this rule are for documentary or educational content, of which the tweet does not fit the two. Twitter claims, “to limit exposure to sensitive images and videos and to prevent the sharing of potentially disturbing types of sensitive media,” and yet the tweet had 10.9k retweets and 48.5k likes. That would extrapolate to millions of impressions at the minimum.

In 2017, Griffin posted to CNN’s White House Reporter, Jim Acosta, who observed Trump speaking at an event about protecting seniors with diabetes. The tweet read, “Syringe with nothing but air on the inside should do the trick. F*** Trump.” Such a syringe would result in a potentially fatal air or gas embolism traveling to the heart or brain. Twitter removed the tweet as it was clearly against community guidelines. Griffin wasn’t suspended or removed, even after calling for a doxing of the Covington Catholic High School students. Twitter claims, “you may not engage in the targeted harassment of someone, or incite other people to do so,” and yet Griffin tweeted, “The reply from the school was pathetic and impotent. Name these kids. I want NAMES. Shame them. If you think these f*****rs wouldn’t dox you in a heartbeat, think again…”

All three of these accounts are verified; however, Jeong’s was not at the time of her indiscretions. None of the POCs were suspended, banned, or forced to delete said tweets. However, Griffin was suspended and forced to delete her tweets. Separate but equal does not exist, yet whites are treated to have more responsibility and better judgment. That seems to allege POCs do not have the capacity to understand nor the demeanor to hold civil conversation. Race eugenicists may argue for this tiered system based upon cognitive ability, but others would argue against it. It appears the hood has certainly been revealed with Twitter’s embracement of such contextualization of policy. Lowering the threshold of accountability may pave the way for equity, but certainly not equality.

Acknowledging the difference of treatment based upon “class status” is only the beginning of Twitter’s troubles. Rules should be equal for all, but understandably some individuals, not groups, may need that extra protection. It is a far cry from social justice to demand higher accountability for whites. It is also remarkable the blatant double standard attributed between different ideologies, conservative and liberal. All of the women excluding Rao offered apologies after public angst. The same right to apologize is not acknowledged among those on the right. Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia is a fine example. Greene has been known to push the envelope. 

Last May, she stated, “Vaccinated employees get a vaccination logo just like the Nazis forced Jewish people to wear a gold star.” Many found her comments to be antisemitic. As a result, she was booted from her committee assignments, although she apologized. The point here is that culture has shaped Twitter, and Twitter has in turn shaped the culture. Only those “worthy” of repentance may be granted the ability. The mixing and mashing of cultural relativism with social media has transformed American culture to the very thing that has set it back. Politically correct, third-wave feminism-driven, and anti-due process social media is now the mainstream culture. As one Fordham University communications professor proclaimed, “We can’t make everyone happy.” So why do we cater to the 1%, 4%, or even 13% while admonishing the 40-50%? Strange it is how utopias work, although the decline matches its lack of practicality with hard realism.

Continuing along the lines of Twitter’s privilege system and its allowance of fact. Prominent paleoconservative journalist, columnist, and blogger Steve Sailer understands “wrong think” well. Sailer tweets data-driven analyses of crime almost daily. Last January, he tweeted, “There were 14 unarmed blacks killed by cops in 2020. Unarmed blacks are more likely to grab for other’s guy’s weapons: e.g., Michael Brown, Armaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks.” Two days later, he tweeted, “What caused 2020’s record increase in urban murders? It’s Black Lives Matter that got those extra blacks murdered by other blacks in 2020,” supplemented with a link to an article by the National Review. Both tweets granted him a 12-hour suspension on the grounds of being hateful and promoting violence. Sailer appealed the tweets citing his sources which appear to be true based on the Washington Post’s database of police killings and Brooklyn College professor Robert Cherry’s studies on murders. Twitter has removed both tweets after providing Sailer the opportunity to remove or appeal.

Sailer’s tweets did not break community guidelines of hateful conduct or promoting violence. This goes back to the protected class issue. Nothing bad can be alleged of the protected groups, regardless if they are true. Again, raising the accountability for some shuns the truth of others. At this moment, while Sailer and other crime analysts tread thin ice, Rao continues to tweet derogatory sentiments about white people. One goes punished, the other acclaimed, although both are not comparable but may seem comparable in the light of new liberalism. Context is everything for Twitter; remember that.

How can we amend this rather significant problem with Twitter? It is not about the rules per se. The contextualization is biased. The viewpoint of Twitter is progressive left-wing with a partisan “interpretation” of care ethics. Contextualization, the lens through which the conflict is analyzed, is biased. That may be due to the company’s employment, but also its philosophy. Individuals are not provided with an equal opportunity to build themselves up and effectively deliver their messaging, which is the only purpose of such platforms. Here is where there is a need for true diversity—ideological diversity.

Resolving the problem at hand may require a dismantling of the culture. The majority, the some odd 50-60% of the country, represent the whole. And yet, care ethics and this newfound liberal ideology demand representation of the few, or at least it claims. Ideological diversity has never been a part of progressivism. It just needs to appear that way. The allowance of counterpoints would strip progressivism of its perceived values showing its true worth, and that cannot be allowed. If Twitter did not embrace its platform’s culture of relativism, neutrality could be attained. Nonetheless, the ideal can still be wanted.

Twitter should consider ideological and cultural initiatives for prospective employees. Diversity can only be pragmatic in representation, so with the expansion of different minded employees, there can be nuance to the context in which problems are evaluated. Twitter should revamp its rules to represent the populace’s values. The rules should be detailed, clear, and evolving. Those who have their accounts suspended should have the opportunity to express their opinion and request to have the suspension reviewed by another Twitter specialist or team. These steps should be taken at a slow, gradual pace to maintain the platform’s current ebb and flow. Only through slow determination can a lack of ideological representation be amended.

Regarding the over policing off non-protected classes, it should be acknowledged that this distributive justice can lead to arbitrariness in interpretation and application of the rules (Sama and Shoaf 95). As a result, it can appear unfair or dishonest. Twitter should provide the ability to opt in and out of such classes. Since it is not the user’s account that is deemed protected, but the messaging of the received tweet, contextual evaluations should place its emphasis on the account before the message. Understanding that there never is “perfect information”, contextual evaluations are very important to the platform’s due process. Users would have the ability to disclose their protected status to Twitter or omit and relinquish such privileges. From the information based upon the account’s protected status, Twitter should be able to make more accurate decisions. The algorithms will have to be refined in order to decipher protected status as well. 

Over time, Twitter’s culture should become more representative of the populace. This will be a painstaking process filled with errors. Errors are where Twitter can find its flaws in order to create a sturdy foundation in which true inclusion is achieved. This does not mean the platform will foster pure harmony. What will be achieved is equality of speech for all users.

Works Cited

Chamberlain, Samuel. “Rep. Ilhan Omar Claims America Has Committed ‘Unspeakable Atrocities.’” New York Post, 2021,

Davis, William. “Former Democratic Congressional Candidate Saira Rao Says She Hates White People And America.” Dailycaller, 2021,

Durden, Tyler. “Twitter Again Refuses To Censor Kathy Griffin’s Pic Of Decapitated Trump Head.” Zerohedge, 2021,

Flood, Brian. “New York Times Stands By New Tech Writer Sarah Jeong After Racist Tweets Surface.” Fox News, 2021,

Fredericson, Colin. “Former Candidate For Congress Goes On Racist Twitter Tirade.” NTD, 2021,

Hanania, Richard. “It Isn’t Your Imagination: Twitter Treats Conservatives More Harshly Than Liberals.” Quillette, 20 Feb. 2019,

Kirkwood, R. Cort. “So Far, No Twitter Punishment For Kathy Griffin After Another Trump-Should-Die Tweet.” The New American, 2021,

Mittelstadt, Natalia. “Twitter Bans Candace Owens For 12 Hours But Not Sarah Jeong For Racist Tweets.” Cnsnews, 2021,

Murphy, Esme. “‘All About The Benjamins’: Ilhan Omar’s Tweet Criticized By Republicans, Dems As Anti-Semitic.” CBS Minnesota, 2021,

Omar, Ilhan [@IlhanMN]. “Drawing attention to the apartheid Israeli regime is far from hating Jews. You are a hateful sad man, I pray to Allah you get the help you need and find happiness.” Twitter, 31 May 2018,

Omar, Ilhan [@Ilhan]. “We must have the same level of accountability and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity. We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban. I asked @SecBlinken where people are supposed to go for justice.” Twitter, 7 June 2021,

Sama, Linda M., and Victoria Shoaf. “Ethics on the Web: Applying Moral Decision-Making to the New Media.” Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 36, no. 1/2, 2002, pp. 93–103. JSTOR,

“Twitter’s Enforcement Philosophy & Approach to Policy Development.” Twitter, Twitter, Accessed 25 June 2021.

“Twitter’s Sensitive Media Policy | Twitter Help.” Twitter, Twitter, Accessed 25 June 2021.

Wagner, Kurt. “Twitter Is So Liberal That Its Conservative Employees ‘Don’t Feel Safe To Express Their Opinions,’ Says CEO Jack Dorsey.” Vox, 2021,

Yokley, Eli. “Voters Are Slightly More Likely To See Antisemitism In Ilhan Omar’s Latest Comments If They Know She Made Them.” Morning Consult, 2021,

American Mass Media & Censorship: A Repeating of History

A Commentary on Media History, Law and It’s Abuse

2015 sparked one of the largest movements of populism in modern times.  Big Tech, an arm of the establishment, has taken the stance of censors.  To them, under the gaze of the hypodermic needle theory, we are simply not responsible enough to be our own individuals. We, the people, bound only to our maker and the Constitution, will not be silenced. 

Since the colonial era, American media has been stifled by suppression. After lifting the monarchical restraints preceding the English Civil War (1640-60), freedom of speech and press became de facto. Parliaments passing of the 1662 Licensing Act required all printers to acquire permission from the government before the publication of any literary pieces, newsletters, or pamphlets. Following the Glorious Revolution of 1688, the Licensing Act became defunct, allowing print without government authorization. In the 1730s, an editor-publisher of the New York Weekly Journal, John Peter Zenger, investigated the New York colonial government writing several critical publications. New York’s government accused Zenger of printing “seditious libel,” arresting him in 1734. Andrew Hamilton, brother of Alexander, represented Zenger in the libel suit. He successfully argued that if the print was truthful, it was not libelous. From thereon, truth became the defense in libel suits.

As colonial America’s thirst for freedom heightened, the crown imposed the Stamp Act of 1765. Printing firms were required to pay a tax on newspapers or pamphlets and even simple playing cards. Censorship of the printed word provided more angst, enough to fight for independence.

Post Revolution, America needed to decide how to protect its citizens’ speech. James Madison led the cause for Congress to pass the federal “Bill of Rights,” including the First Amendment, protecting free speech and the press. The interpretation of the first amendment became problematic with the 1798 Alien and Sedition Acts. The Sedition Act was, to some extent, intended to suppress opposition to Federalist President John Adams’ policies.  Democratic-Republicans claimed it violated the First and 10th Amendments. Political rivalry among media was just at its infant stages at this point. Federalists and Democratic-Republicans would continue to fight back and forth, even after the Sedition Acts expiration in 1801.

In the 20th century, Congress weighed in on the press’ freedom with the Espionage Act of 1917. The law allowed the suppression of pro-German or other subversive newspapers. This authorized the Postmaster-General to seize any “seditious” publications. During this period, President Woodrow Wilson’s administration established the ad hoc Committee on Public Information to regulate war news releases to the press. The 1918 Sedition Act extended the Espionage Act to prohibit attacks on the Constitution, military, flag, or United States. 

The passage of the Radio Commission of 1927 required broadcast companies to apply for federal licenses to broadcast. The Federal Communication Commission later replaced the law in 1934. The FCC created a code for broadcast regulation with enforcement through licensing control. In 1949, the “Fairness Doctrine” granted equal access to varied viewpoints. At the time, broadcast companies, not print, were required to follow such guidelines to renew their licenses. In 1987, the FCC repealed the Fairness Doctrine with the exception of “personal or political statements” (Pickard 116).

Diminished regulation followed the 1996 Telecommunications Act.  Radio and television were deregulated, allowing for much more diverse viewpoints leading to the rise of “talk radio” and cable news outlets. The 20th century’s limitation on freedom of the press was through “prior restraint,” whereby the government attempts to prevent publication – the most famous case being New York Times v. United States (1971).  The Rand Corporation, a prominent American think-tank, leaked to the New York Times, Washington Post, and St. Louis Post-Dispatch a forty-seven volume Pentagon policy analysis of the Vietnam War’s origins and progress.  Employees Daniel Ellsberg and J. Anthony Russo were prosecuted for violating government secrecy pledges.  The government intervened to stop further publication after the first installment of the Pentagon Papers. Ultimately, the Supreme Court ruled that the Pentagon Papers did not contain information that would endanger national security.

Regulation concerns came with the expansion of the internet.  “Net neutrality” or network neutrality was first recommended in 1999 by President Bill Clinton’s FCC chairman, William Kennard. In 2010, President Barack Obama’s Democrat-led FCC established internet operations subject to FCC “common carrier” rules for telecommunications. All internet content, from emails to audios and videos, would be treated equally.  Through net neutrality, a government agency obtained regulatory control over a vast internet system and its operations. However, in 2017, President Donald J. Trump, with new FCC appointees, terminated the net neutrality policy.   

Today’s social media platforms bear a striking resemblance to traditional media. Their main difference is that they do not edit content; however, they algorithmically organize it. Social media also uses excessive amounts of personal data, and its markets are more niche. Both have a significant impact on the individual and public discourse, being mediums for free expression and democratic discourse. They are also both profit-oriented, making them less likely to adhere to the public’s interest. Nonetheless, social media platforms are still expected to transmit information without bias or imposing agenda. Freedom of expression, the right to receive information and participate in public discourse are prominent facets of a sustainable democracy. Individuals are provided the opportunity to build themselves up through social media and internet blogs. Years ago, this was celebrated as providing equal opportunities to all viewpoints and elevating democracy to a level never seen before. “Cyber-optimists” viewed this as a real chance for minority views to be heard.  

Social media platforms’ purpose is simply meant to deliver and facilitate communication, not produce or edit content. They are only to intervene to alter or remove information reported by users within the community. Platform moderation is used to facilitate interaction through algorithms. Tools to amplify content are available, allowing for manipulation of the perception of content and expand its reach, affecting the public discourse. Theoretically, algorithmic design should lead to ideal outcomes. However, small aspects of the software can distort the “marketplace of ideas.”

Some believe social media is a right granted under the framing of free speech. A counter to this claim is that these social media companies are private corporations, so they hold no such legal obligation. However, considering only a handful of multinational corporations control social media platforms, these services are limited. With such a range of communication, they have become a dominant force in our democratic society. Consequently, they have a duty to provide services to customers without discrimination or bias.

Several social media platforms have systems in place to provide the “safest” user experience. The notice-and-takedown system pressures service providers to make the judgment on whether the content is lawful or not. This tends to be abused to stifle competitors’ content, leading to removal or suspension. On the other hand, notice-and-notice requires the service provider to forward the notice to the original content provider, if possible, otherwise it is removed. Original creators of questionable content are called to take responsibility for their content and manage disputes on the individual level. This method has led to abuse at the hands of copyright holders, pressuring for settlements, earned monies, or removing content.  Platforms are not beholden to any obligation to monitor content since they are not responsible for any third-party content. Since they are neither authors nor publishers, they are not responsible for activity on the platform. They simply facilitate, disseminate, profile or not, manage accounts, and cooperate with respective authorities.

Approximately one year ago, conservative comedian Steven Crowder’s YouTube channel was demonetized – losing the ability to make money off his channel. His offense was allegedly harassing former Vox journalist Carlos Maza, referring to him as a “lispy queer.” It should be noted that at the time, Maza himself used this phrase to describe himself in his Twitter profile.  Maza’s fight was not about “homophobia” or “hate speech”; it was an ideological takedown. In a series of tweets, Maza called on YouTube to ban Steven Crowder.  Crowder was eventually demonetized on YouTube.

In May of 2020, Twitter announced it would begin to label tweets deemed false or disputed concerning COVID-19. Facebook was already ahead of the curve, labeling and striking down alleged fictitious content. Misinformation is a great concern, but to add labels is simply a band-aid to the problem. According to MIT research: “when people see that some posts on social media have warning labels, they are far more likely to assume, incorrectly, that all the posts without these warning labels have been verified by fact-checks.” Selective fact-checking is indeed a form of censorship. Muzzling speech tends to amplify the speaker and the message.  The phenomenon of the forbidden fruit is a part of human nature.  Books tend to become even more popular after they are banned. Conspiracy theories are even worse.  Banning conspiratorial content drives “conspiracy-minded” individuals to push even harder, primarily because it is anti-authoritative.

In more recent days, we have seen censorship interfere with American presidential elections. The New York Post attempted to post on social media an article about Joe Biden and his son’s dealings with the Ukrainian gas company, Burisma. At the time, Joe Biden had been supervising the Obama Administration’s Ukraine policy when his son, Hunter, had been on Burisma’s board. Twitter and, to a lesser extent, Facebook took content moderation to another level. Twitter users were unable to post a link to the Post article.  The New York Post’s Twitter account with 1.8 million followers was indefinitely locked, as well as White House spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany’s, the “Team Trump” campaign account, and Politico journalist Jake Sherman’s Twitter claimed the Post story violated its “hacked materials” policy. The Post claimed the emails were found on a laptop in a Delaware repair shop. The owner of the repair shop gave them to Donald Trump’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani. To this day, the Biden campaign never denied the authenticity of the emails or the laptop.

U.S. Twitter has even allowed China to scapegoat the fault of COVID-19 onto the American military. Spokesperson & Deputy Director General, Information Department, Foreign Ministry of China Lijian Zhao posted articles indicating the virus originated in the United States: “It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan.” Meanwhile, Big Tech censors any American article speculating China’s role in the pandemic. Facebook has even censored a Fox News article with claims from a “top virologist and whistleblower” stating the “Chinese government intentionally manufactured and released the COVID-19 virus…”

When White House social media director, Dan Scavino, posted a video of Joe Biden stuttering: “Because we cannot get re-elect, we cannot win this re-election.  Excuse me, we can only re-elect Donald Trump,” Twitter flagged this immediately as “manipulated media.” Yet when edited content of President Trump is posted, it is not limited or taken down. Michael Bloomberg’s former senior adviser, Tim O’Brien, spliced audio clips of the President to portray he did not believe the validity or seriousness of COVID-19. Biden has tweeted similar clips without any form of restriction.   Furthermore, YouTube has removed over three hundred Trump campaign ads just over the summer of 2019. Google being ad revenue driven, refused service to conservative sites based on what its staff deemed “offensive.” 

The problem conservatives have upon them is that those aware of the censorship are a tiny sliver of the population. They may be motivated enough to take action, but they have no significant impact on the market. They do, however, have access to government power through representatives, such as congresspersons and senators. A counterargument is that social media is in the private sector and is meant to build a private community, so government intervention is not warranted. Section 230 has been considered for revocation, but that may not be the answer.

Conservatives need to call for a reconstruction of online liberties by reaching the very large indifferent audience of Americans to portray the problem. A starting point could be the Steven Crowder demonetization. The First Amendment provides free speech provisions preventing federal, state, and local governments from internet censorship, including social media. Social media companies being private and of non-governmental interests, have more freedom in restricting content on their platforms. Under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, social media platforms are generally not liable for their users’ content. Through “safe harbor” provisions under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, they are protected from “liability for monetary damages pertaining to copyright infringement activities of their users” as long as they comply with takedown notices. This protection from liability incentivizes social media companies to monitor and remove certain content from their sites. Social media platforms use “content filtering” or “content monitoring” in order to remove content. On sites like YouTube, content is algorithmically removed before even being aired.

Becoming a user on any social media platform, the individual agrees to the terms of service. Violation of any of the terms of service can result in a removal of the account. Social media companies also reserve the right to change or revise their terms of service at any time, even without informing its users. Although individuals have the right not to participate in social media, the platforms are rather limited. The lack of transparency and consistency has been an issue, displaying blatant bias of left-wing ideology.

Section 230 uses the “Good Samaritan” technique. “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” Social media companies are platforms, not publishers, and they are granted immunity from abusive content. With that, these platforms have civil liability. They are not liable for “any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected.” Platform providers are also not liable for “any action taken to engage or make available to information content providers or others the technical means to restrict access to material described as objectionable.”

Platform providers should explain how algorithms function for the sake of transparency. Users should have access to the tools which they would like to use or not. Verification of trustworthiness should be outsourced to eliminate internal bias. With Big Tech primarily headquartered in Silicon Valley, a vacuum of “common ideological culture” exists. When there is a monoculture, opinion and belief become fact. Big Tech disproportionately draws from elite academies that tend to be the “most blue of educational institutions.” Employees consist of the young coastal elite that tend to be of the left persuasion. Some ideological diversity is a necessity to maintain fairness and balance.

Individuals who are regarded as public figures should have tightened scrutiny on these platforms. They tend to have their accounts verified, demonstrating their vast communicative power, so with it they should hold the same level of responsibility. The three categories of users should be as follows: private individuals acting on their own accord, professionals acting in their own capacities, and professionals related to public issues or service. A three-tiered approach may be better than the simple private versus public figure approach currently implemented.

A very vital aspect of social media, personal data, requires some scrutiny.  Personal data is used to tailor content and maximize engagement, but it can also manipulate opinions. This violates the users’ right to privacy and protection. Even simple social media activities of liking and sharing content provide personal data collected by advertisers without any notification to the user. The user also cannot opt-out. Personal data has become a currency for social media and its advertisers.  It may be understandable, but it is certainly not justified. The recognition of personal data ownership needs to be addressed, and companies that deal with users’ personal data should treat them as confidential. Legal liability should be opened against these platforms to ensure protection.

Government intervention might be too intrusive, and hitting these companies with antitrust will not change Silicon Valley’s leftist ideology. For starters, we should re-evaluate Section 230 to interpret it in a less broad sense. Everyone should be able to express their own opinions, thoughts, or viewpoints through social media. Rules of conduct should represent the populace, not the Big Tech overlords of Silicon Valley. Nevertheless, the Orwellian times are here, and they may be here to stay.

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