Free Markets, Free People

Watching Twitter’s self destruction

And enjoying it (frankly, I’ve never been a fan of Twitter).

First and foremost I want to make it clear that Twitter’s decision to shadow ban and outright ban certain users has absolutely nothing to do with the right to free speech.  It’s a private company and they can ban and shadow ban anyone they want too.  Of course, being a private company and depending on “customers” they can screw the pooch anytime they want to as well, and that’s what they are in the middle of doing.

I say, “more power too them”.  They have to compete in a market with alternatives, unlike government, and they have to suffer the consequences of their decisions … also, for the most part, unlike government.

So, yeah, they’re not allowing certain conservative users to post on Twitter anymore.

Cool.  It’s not like Twitter didn’t have enough problems before this decision to monitor and ban users for arbitrary and biased reasons.  They were already under pressure to find a way to stop the declining numbers of users.

And their reaction?  Well, let’s put a “Trust and Safety Council” together to monitor what users say.  Oh, and let’s put a harpy from the extreme left wing of the political spectrum in charge and let her decide who can and can’t say “controversial things”.

How Orwellian can one get?  Well, the degree is still up for debate, but the hypocrisy isn’t.  Here’s Biz Stone, a Twitter co-founder in 2011:

[F]reedom of expression is essential. Some Tweets may facilitate positive change in a repressed country, some make us laugh, some make us think, some downright anger a vast majority of users. We don’t always agree with the things people choose to tweet, but we keep the information flowing irrespective of any view we may have about the content.

Except for now, when Twitter has decided that its “view” (or at least that of the “Truth and Safety Council”) is more important than the content.

Well done, Twitter.  You deserve everything you are now suffering.  It was all brought about by your policies and the decision that your customers weren’t the most important thing to your company.

That’s the beauty of markets.  They will speak.  And Twitter is presently being spoken too … harshly.


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11 Responses to Watching Twitter’s self destruction

  • First and foremost I want to make it clear that Twitter’s decision to shadow ban and outright ban certain users has absolutely nothing to do with the right to free speech. It’s a private company and they can ban and shadow ban anyone they want too.

    >>>> Oh really? Now that we have a legal precedent where a private company is forced to accomodate someone they weren’t inclined to (bake a cake or provide photography for a homosexual wedding) why can twitter not be forced to provide equal service on their platform to conservatives?

    The club that smacks cares not about which hand wields it

    • Just because they have a right to run their business they way they want to doesn’t mean their conduct is moral or their objectives not nefarious.

      I also don’t get where they are being punished. They have been working to make themselves attractive for a buy out. The tech industry from the reporters to the founder types to its investors are pretty hard left (this is somewhat true for the whole financial sector). The fact that SJW’s couldn’t go on a tear without some opposition, some intelligent and some not so intelligent, pissed them all off.

      The info about the bans probably gave them a stock bump. A win for them.

      At the same time, markets are a mechanism, they don’t give a shit about motives or intent and they aren’t required to serve up justice.

      • should have been a general reply and not under the shark. whoops.

      • As Megan McArdle points out:

        When your user base has stalled despite your best efforts to grow it, and investors are getting restive, it’s probably not the right time to signal to half of the political spectrum that their views are not necessarily welcome on your platform.

        Hardly a way to attract investors or a buyer unless you want to buy a diminished echo chamber.

        • The narrative is that he user base is stalled because Twitter has not done enough to secure the safe space. For people that believe that, this reveal is directionally correct.

  • I just like the name of the gruppen doing the dirty necessary work.

    The Trust and Safety Council.

    Makes me feel all warm and secure – Trust and Safety Council.
    Name like that, you feel like you’re all wrapped up warm and scootched down on a soft bed where the nippy winds of winter won’t get you while you sip your just perfect temperature hot cocoa doesn’t it?
    I guess I might have been happier if they’d named it the “Warm blankee and milk council”.
    but I’m will to go with Trust and Safety.
    Trust and Safety.
    Because you know you gotta trust people you don’t know, across the internet, who’ll type nice words at you. Words that will make you feel like you belong.
    Above all you to feel ‘Safe’ over there on Twitter. Safety. Wow. They’ll make you safe.
    Safe from..words…which came from thoughts! Safe from thoughts and words typed by others.
    Safe from things you don’t want to hear in your little snuggly Twitter playhouse with your twitter pals.
    And a snuggly warm fuzzy bunny Trust and Safety Council keeping out thoughts you don’t like.

    Safe. Trust they’re going to keep you safe.

    What a stupid concept.

    • The Trust and Safety Council.
      Doesn’t that just engender visions of the French “Committee of Public Safety” and the Guillotine ?

      • Thank you, that’s exactly it!
        I knew the name was ringing alarm bells for me, I just couldn’t place the reason.

  • Twitter’s ban-friendliness does relate to the right to free speech — it shows they do not care much for that right. What it does not mean (absent some other government actions or endorsements) is that anyone’s constitutional rights are being infringed.

    • Sure they are. All we have to do is figure out a trumped up way to “prove” it and we can bring them to heel. Or jail a bunch of them. I’m good with either option.

      It’s all in the application of power. Get it, use it, maintain it.

  • “It’s a private company and they can ban and shadow ban anyone they want too.”

    More to the point, they’re not Christian cake bakers. They’re not right-wing (and therefore low status) proles whose speech can be by judicial whim. They’re part of the Cathedral now, so they decide whom they will “tweet.”