Yeah, Twitter Sucks. But if Conservatives Don’t Like It, They Should Start Their Own Social Media Platform

E.W. Jackson

E.W. Jackson, a conservative activist who ran unsuccessfully as the Republican nominee for Virginia lieutenant governor several years ago, says he has been suspended from Twitter for a tweet he made after hundreds of Christians were killed in the Easter Sunday bombing in Sri Lanka.

“Muslims are the ones who try to terrorize and intimidate people into conversions or kill them for converting from Islam,” Jackson said he wrote in the tweet. “To compare Muslims murdering Christians to Christians doing missionary work is anti-Christian bigotry.”

Twitter informed Jackson that the tweet violated its terms of service. In Jackson’s characterization of the suspension, Twitter accused him of “threatening violence,” according to the Daily Caller.

“They have a virtual monopoly and they have the ability to shut you down,” Jackson told the conservative news site. “That’s of deep concern to me and we’re thinking of taking legal action.”

Jackson, an African-American pastor based in Chesapeake, runs a number of initiatives, including the Stand America website; a weekly conference call with conservative authors and activists; and Project Awakening, a project for renewing America’s inner cities.

Jackson’s Twitter account indicates that he has 6,275 followers. Before his account was suspended April 21, he tweeted frequently. Judging by his Twitter feed, Jackson does ratchet up the rhetoric against Democrats (whom he calls Demoncrats), liberals and progressives. But his rhetoric is no more extreme than much of the verbiage emanating from the left. Unless there is more to the story than reported by the Daily Caller — I try to avoid reaching hasty judgments based only on one side of anyone’s story —  Twitter has no business shutting down his account. Such actions feed conservatives’ convictions that social media is run by snowflakes who not only are triggered by conservative views but hold the power to stifle the expression of those views.

I doubt Jackson has grounds for a lawsuit, however. Twitter is a private media company, and it is free to display as much bias as it wants. It would be nice if Twitter spared us the sanctimonious pretense that it isn’t biased, but if conservatives don’t like Twitter’s censorship, then they are free to start their own social media platform.

Update: For the record, Bacon’s Rebellion re-posts its headlines to Twitter. Normally, we get only a dribble of clickthroughs from Twitter, so I don’t devote much time to tweeting. However, when I auto-posted a piece about Antifragile Urbanism earlier this month, it was re-tweeted by “Antifragile” author Nassim Nicholas Taleb, who has a large following. The retweet generated about 1,000 clickthroughs to the blog. Maybe we’re too obscure to be noticed by Twitter’s gatekeepers, but so far I have had no issues with the platform.

Correction: I cringe with embarrassment for reporting incorrectly that Jackson ran unsuccessfully for the Republic nomination for lieutenant governor. He won the nomination but did not win the election.

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7 responses to “Yeah, Twitter Sucks. But if Conservatives Don’t Like It, They Should Start Their Own Social Media Platform

  1. I’m sending this while sailing the Rhone. This world is all about communications, and these platforms have immense popular followings and power over the proletariat. Trump gets that. I have little sympathy for Jackson’s attitudes, but he goes quietly and the rest of us are next. What, has everyone forgotten their Orwell? You are dead wrong, Jim. This is a fight that needs to be made. Setting up a smaller, ignored platform would be surrender.

  2. A big effort was made some years ago to exempt ISPs and media platforms from liability for things posted on their websites and networks. But if one exercises editorial control over what is posted, there should be no protection from liability.

  3. Geeze, Steve. If Twitter and Facebook are private companies and can set their own terms of service – which you agree to when you request an account – what exactly would you have the govt “force” them to do?

    I’m amused that we have these Conservatives who describe Twitter as a left-wing media platform – DEMAND that they be allowed on it!

    I mean … geeze… guys… you gonna outlaw liberals/leftists/snowflakes from creating platforms for discussions – with rules – that Conservatives don’t like… because their “free speech” is “censored”?

    what’s the answer? what’s the “right”answer or are the two the same?

    • I agree that private companies are free to develop terms of service. However, if you provide a relatively open platform for people to post views and take advantage of laws designed to protect the operator of such a platform from any liability for what is posted, you better be a very rare censor, especially based on politics. What some of the big social media companies do by engaging in this type of censorship is not unlike a situation where a telephone company cuts off calls of people based on what they are saying on the phone.

  4. “E.W. Jackson, a conservative activist who ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for Virginia lieutenant governor several years ago”
    Hmmmm… my memory is that EW was the Republican nominee for LT Gov. beating out a field of 5 or 6 other candidates. This was back in the Tea Party days. Shawn Hannity was the guest speaker at the convention.
    Sadly EW along with republican candidates for governor (Cuccinelli) and Attorney General (Obenshain) lost…

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