We don’t typically think of the left-leaning ACLU and President Trump as being in the same camp. And ordinarily, they aren’t.
But the overbearing power of social media giants Facebook and Twitter has alarmed freedom-loving people across the political spectrum. This issue goes far beyond our current mess, or even the wider gulf between conservatives and liberals. The problem of social media censorship creates some strange bedfellows at times.
The question here is: Is it a good idea to allow a handful of companies to set the rules for what the rest of us can say, type, watch, and read on the Internet?
The tech companies—besides being unelected and unaccountable—don’t provide anything that approaches due process when they “cancel” someone. There is no opportunity for third-party representation, or appeal, when you find yourself suddenly banned by Twitter.
I’m sure the decision to ban President Trump came from the highest level of Twitter (CEO Jack Dorsey). But lesser mortals are often banned at the discretion of lower-level Twitter employees who have ideological axes to grind.
In response to Twitter’s recent decision to ban President Trump’s account, the ACLU’s Legislative Counsel Kate Ruane issued the following statement:
“We understand the desire to permanently suspend him now, but it should concern everyone when companies like Facebook and Twitter wield the unchecked power to remove people from platforms that have become indispensable for the speech of billions – especially when political realities make those decisions easier.
President Trump can turn his press team or Fox News to communicate with the public, but others – like many Black, Brown, and LGTBQ activists who have been censored by social media companies – will not have that luxury. It is our hope that these companies will apply their rules transparently to everyone.”
Given that most of the recent bans and purges at Twitter have focused on conservatives, I’m not sure where the “Black, Brown, and LGTBQ activist” angle comes in. (Twitter, in fact, generally bends over backwards to accommodate BLM , Antifa, and LGBTQ activists.).
But no matter. I understand that in the current political environment, it was probably easier for the ACLU to come to the defense of the hated Trump if they also worked in an identity politics angle.
And for the record, this blog wants everyone—including President Trump, and “Black, Brown, and LGTBQ activists”— to enjoy the right of free speech in the public square. Decisions about who can speak, and who can’t, shouldn’t be left to the whims of Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey.
AT AMAZON: NordicTrack T Series Treadmill. Includes 1-month individual membership to Interactive Personal Training powered by iFit.