Secretive Twitter Censorship Fairy Strikes Again!

Twitter shuts down 10,000 ISIS-linked accounts in one day by Lisa Vaas.

From the post:

A Twitter representative on Thursday confirmed to news outlets that its violations department had in fact suspended some 10,000 accounts on one day – 2 April – “for tweeting violent threats”.

The Twitter representative, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, attributed the wave of shutdowns to ISIS opponents who’ve been vigilant in reporting accounts for policy violation:

We received a large amount of reports.

In early March, Twitter acknowledged shutting down at least 2000 ISIS-linked accounts per week in recent months.

Fact 1: Twitter is a private service and can adopt and apply any “terms of service” it chooses in any manner it chooses.

Fact 2: The “abuse” reporting system of Twitter and its lack of transparency, not to mention missing any opportunity for a public hearing and appeal, create the opportunity for and appearance of, arbitrary and capricious application.

Fact 3: The organization sometimes known as ISIS and its supporters have been targeted for suppression of all their communications, which violate the “terms of service” of Twitter or not, without notice and a hearing, thereby depriving other Twitter users of the opportunity to hear their views on current subjects of world importance.

Twitter is under no legal obligation to avoid censorship but Twitter should take steps to reduce its role as censor:

Step 1: Twitter should alter its “abuse” policy to provide alleged abusers with notice of the alleged abuse and a reasonable amount of time to respond to the allegation of abuse. Both the notice of alleged abuse and response to the notice shall be and remain public documents hosted by Twitter and indexed under the account alleged to be used for abuse. Along with the Twitter resolution described in Step 2.

Step 2: Twitter staff should issue a written statement as to what was found to transgress its “terms of service” so that other users can avoid repeating the alleged “abuse” accidentally.

Step 3: Twitter should adopt a formal “hands-off” policy when it comes to comments by, for or against political entities or issues, including ISIS in particular. What is a “threat” in some countries is not a “threat” in others. Twitter should act as a global citizen and not a parochial organization based in rural Alabama.

I would not visit areas under the control of ISIS even if you offered me a free ticket. Support or non-support of ISIS isn’t the issue.

The issue is whether we will allow private and unregulated entities to control a common marketplace for the interchange of ideas. If Twitter likes an unregulated common marketplace then it had best make sure it maintains a transparent and fair common marketplace. Not one where some people or ideas are second-class citizens and who can be arbitrarily silenced, in secret, by unknown Twitter staff.

Comments are closed.