What Everyone Gets Wrong About Banning Trump from Twitter
When Donald Trump was banned from Twitter, I heard two different reactions. The left said “finally!” and the right said it was the start of a new era of tech censorship, where Jack Dorsey can dictate the way the world communicates. I think both points of view are leaving out a lot of details.
The nuance that the left is missing
Hold on to your hats, because I’m going to say something explosive: Trump didn’t break Twitter’s policy until he incited an insurrection. It’s that simple.
This isn’t the conventional wisdom, of course. It’s taken as an article of faith that Trump broke Twitter’s policy hundreds of times. Sometimes people point to the time he threatened North Korea with nuclear war, for example. But Twitter’s policy has stated, for years, that comments from heads of state are newsworthy. That’s why Trump was able to go further than most people. You can disagree with the policy, but it’s been in place for years.
The nuance that the right is missing
In the opinion of Twitter (and the vast majority of Americans) Trump inspired an insurrection against his government because he was trying to overthrow the results of an election he lost. This is the kind of stuff people are executed for. So, yeah, he broke policy at the same time as breaking federal law. It’s just that simple, and a really big deal.
You’re allowed to go on Twitter and talk about the flat tax. You can argue for eliminating environmental protections. You can debate the pros and cons of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. You can talk about a whole lot of things, regardless of your politics. But when your politics become “overthrow a Democratic government,” you’re going to be banned from Twitter. And that will be the least of your worries, because they don’t have Twitter in federal prison when you’re serving a life sentence for treason.
Try replacing “insurrection” with “child pornography”
So if it helps you imagine why this policy is more clear and less odious, imagine that rather than overthrowing the government a few weeks ago, Trump posted child pornography. Maybe Twitter would have first blocked him for 12 hours, as they did in this case. Now imagine when he came back, he kept posting child pornography, and Twitter banned him outright. Would you support that decision? I would.
Q: Twitter is so inconsistent!
A: Not with Trump. He didn’t break policy until the child porn.
Q: He broke policy before!
A: He was not the first nor last president to threaten war, which is not illegal. He was, however, the first president to post child porn, which is.
Q: Why ban now?! Is it because the Democrats are in control?!
A: What? No. Pay attention. It was because of the child porn.
Q: Isn’t it creepy that Jack has this kind of power?
A: No more creepy than the police also stopping child porn.
Q: Doesn’t this silence conservatives?
A: Only if their platform is child porn.
Q: Is this the dawn of a Orwellian, dystopian future?
A: That depends. Do you think it’s dystopian to ban child porn?