When the head of Twitter’s public policy department told the Senate he’d do more on conservative censorship, making it worse wasn’t what most leaders had in mind! Unfortunately, that’s exactly what seems to be happening — to pro-lifers, Trump supporters, and even popular parody accounts. Three weeks ago, Carlos Monje Jr. was apologetic for the mistakes Twitter had made. A month later, he has a lot more to be sorry for.
Their stories are different, but several victims of Twitter’s bias have one thing in common: no one explained why. Mike Morrisson, who’s been running a popular “AOC Press” account as a joke, said he was banished from the platform on Monday night. “I still don’t really know why,” he wrote in Human Events. “I have my suspicions, but no one’s really tried to explain it to me.” His parody of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) had over 80,000 followers. “It was pretty funny, even if I do say so myself.” Apparently, Twitter wasn’t laughing — which is more than a little hypocritical, since social media has made mocking the president a cottage industry.
But there are some dark implications of this conservative blackout, Morrisson warns. “This is a nation which reveres, at its core, the rights of individuals to express themselves politically, lawfully.” The fact is, he goes on, “as we move closer to the 2020 election, a number of high-profile, high follower, conservative accounts are being banned. In total, we have lost access to millions, maybe even tens of millions of impressions over the past few days. This is election interference.”
Pro-life activist Ryan Bomberger, whose Radiance Foundation has been offline 16 days (and counting), was at least told his posts were “hateful.” Why? Because he had the audacity to call out Muslim Congresswoman Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) for downplaying 9/11. “She describes an act of war as ‘some people did something’? #IlhanOmar is not a victim. The 2,980 Americans who were slaughtered by Muslim terrorists were the victims. American Muslims lost no more civil liberties than we ALL did after #September11 thanks to the #PatriotAct.”
After he was booted off the supposedly public platform, Ryan sounded the alarm on Townhall, “So now historical revisionism is part of Twitter’s mission statement?… Instead of seeing the terrorism as the ‘hateful conduct,’ they deemed a tweet denouncing terrorism as ‘hateful conduct.'” This is just the beginning, he prophesied. Only to be proven right when his friend (and FRC’s) E.W. Jackson was blocked the same day. Then, One America News host Jack Posobiec’s Twitter account “@MAGAphobia” suspiciously vanished. What was his crime? Tracking the harassment of Donald Trump supporters. “I started @Magaphobia as an acc[ount] to track violence against Trump supporters all in one place.” Almost a half-million people followed it.
Or did follow. “Today,” he announced, “Twitter banned it.” But if you’re hoping to hold Big Tech accountable for their prejudice, Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) told me yesterday on “Washington Watch,” good luck. These companies — like Twitter — have virtually guaranteed immunity under the current system.
“Here’s the thing, Tony. One of the reasons they got so big — and they got so rich — is they get a special deal from the government. They get treated differently than newspapers or television stations or radio stations… They have their own deal [from the government] where they don’t have to be liable [in] the same way all of those other media outlets are. In exchange for that, they’re supposed to be neutral forums to allow for the free exchange of ideas — but they’re not doing that.
And here’s my bottom line. If they’re not going to allow there to be a free exchange of ideas — if they’re going to act like the editorial page of the New York Times — than they ought to be treated like the editorial page of the New York Times and subject to the same laws that every other newspaper and publisher is.”
If that’s what Twitter, Google, and Facebook are going to do, he went on, then they should be just as liable as everyone else. “They shouldn’t get the special rules they’re getting.” What we’re coming to, Senator Hawley said, “is a time of reckoning, where the social media giants have to decide: are they going to be truly neutral platforms for people… or are they going to continue to discriminate against conservatives on the basis of political speech?”
“It’s a big thing to kick someone off the platform,” Twitter’s Vijaya Gadde has said. And he’s about to find out how big, if it continues.
Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.
EDITORS NOTE: This FRC column with podcast is republished with permission.