From banning the sitting President of the United States to de-platforming conservative journalists to muzzling the oldest continuously-published newspaper in the United States, Twitter under Jack Dorsey has been perhaps the leading force for censorship in America in the 21st century thus far.
As someone who has been erroneously suspended from Twitter no fewer than four times, I know this to be true firsthand. There’s no doubt Jack Dorsey was completely comfortable with silencing those with whom he disagreed. But things can always get worse. And this week they just did.
On Monday, Twitter announced CTO Parag Agrawal would take over Jack Dorsey’s job as CEO. The very next day, newly under Agrawal’s leadership, Twitter announced it would ban so-called “private media” – significantly increasing the range of reasons both content and users could be permanently banned from the platform. The policy claims it is intended to protect private individuals from having their personal information posted online and to prevent bullying and harassment. But upon closer scrutiny, it’s clear just how dangerous to the cause of free speech this policy could be.
Seemingly, the policy would allow Twitter’s censors to ban users who post videos of lootings in Democrat-run cities as the individual looters did not consent. The same would go for violent antifa criminals or “mostly peaceful” BLM rioters, cell phone videos of hate crimes being committed against Asian-Americans, photo evidence showing Kyle Rittenhouse was merely defending himself and Hunter Biden’s emails implicating his father in a pay-for-play scheme with foreign powers.
All could be banned as “private media” under Twitter’s new policy. The common denominator? All hurt Democrats. And those posting the content are overwhelmingly conservative, or at least free-thinking independents or liberals who refuse to play leftists’ games. The policy, which is clearly written as intentionally vague and overly broad, is nothing more than a naked power grab by the pro-censorship camp. And that was on Day One of Twitter’s new CEO.
And on Day Four, Twitter even censored links to the American Heart Association’s new published study on heart-disease risks from COVID vaccines.
These changes are unsurprising to anyone familiar with Agrawal’s history. Shortly after he was named CEO, Agrawal’s old tweets resurfaced, exposing him as anti-Trump activist who threatened to label all white people racist. Perhaps worst of all was his argument that Twitter’s “role is not to be bound by the First Amendment,” and to “focus less on thinking about free speech but thinking about how the times have changed.” This, from the man now in charge of America’s modern-day public square. Knowing what we know about Agrawal, his first steps as CEO seem transparently designed to strengthen Twitter’s power to silence conservative activists, journalists and whistleblowers and censor information that is politically damaging to Democrats.
Suffice to say, free speech at Twitter this week went from bad to worse. While this is just the latest step in a series toward less free speech and more censorship, it is part of a broader trend among the Left and their allies in Silicon Valley toward illiberalism and a willingness to use every tool at Big Tech’s disposal to silence conservatives and remove us from the online political debate. It also demonstrates just how disconnected from American values the Big Tech oligarchs at Twitter and other social media platforms are. Whereas we all used to agree on the fundamental American values of open dialogue and free expression, today’s Left and their Big Tech allies view themselves as the rightful gatekeepers of information in our republic. This is a social, political and legal emergency that must be addressed.
Thankfully, there are solutions being proposed in Congress by conservative warriors like Reps. Ken Buck (R-Colo.), Burgess Owens (R-Utah), Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Lance Gooden (R-Texas), Victoria Spartz (R-Ind.) and Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), among many others. They have proposed legislation to rein in and break up Big Tech that must be passed into law this Congress.
Simply put, if Big Tech platforms like Google and YouTube or Facebook and Instagram had to compete for their users, it’s much less likely they’d abuse them with censorship. Patriotic Americans concerned with Big Tech’s power over our politics should call their representatives and senators and demand they support these bills. Big Tech platforms are only getting bolder and more aggressive in their quest to silence, cancel and erase conservatives. They must be stopped.
Mike Davis is the founder and president of the Internet Accountability Project, a conservative grassroots advocacy organization that opposes Big Tech and seeks to hold these companies accountable for their bad acts. He was previously chief counsel for nominations on the Senate Judiciary Committee under the chairmanship of Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa.