Does Twitter discriminate against conservatives?
via AP

Does Twitter discriminate against conservatives?

#NoNazisOnTwitter
#DontBanFreeSpeech
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Twitter recently announced it would monitor user's behavior "both on and off the platform" and suspend those affiliated with violent organizations. Many have applauded Twitter's decision to crack down on hate speech and kick nazis and racists off the platform. But others argue Twitter's new rules suppress free speech, and Twitter disproportionately favors liberals over conservatives when it chooses who to ban and who to verify. What do you think? 🐦

#NoNazisOnTwitter
#DontBanFreeSpeech

Twitter announced it would begin cracking down on hate speech by monitoring user's behavior "on and off the platform" to see if they are affiliated with "violent organizations." The new rules will go into effect on December 18.

The Dec. 18 deadline also applies to using "hateful images or symbols" in profile images or profile headers. Twitter will also monitor for hate speech in usernames, display names, and profile bios.

Twitter came under fire last month for verifying the outspoken white nationalist Jason Kessler and eventually stripped the Alt-right user of his badge. Twitter subsequently began purging accounts affiliated with white nationalist and neo-nazi organizations, and chose to temporarily stop its verification process all together.

The Twitter Rules outline what constitutes abusive behavior:

Image

But many have pushed back against Twitter's crack down. After Twitter banned right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos and conservative blogger Robert Stacy McCain, Robby Soave wrote in the New York Post:

Twitter recently formedt he Orwellian-named “Trust and Safety Council” to propose changes to the company’s use policies. The goal, according to a press release, was to find a middle ground between permitting broad free speech and restricting actual abuse.
But practically none of the 40 people chosen to be part of the council are all that concerned about free speech. In fact, most of them work for anti-harassment groups and seem likely to recommend further limitations on online expression.

Soave argues that because Twitter's Trust and Safety Council is composed of left-leaning activists, the goal of the platform is no longer to protect and promote free speech, but rather to limit speech that goes against a liberal agenda.

Earlier this year, Rollin Bishop wrote in The Outline that Twitter's "verified" blue check system also disproportionally favored liberals, and the blue check had actually become a derogatory symbol of "elitism."

“Verifieds” or “blue checks” are the elite, the establishment. Since many members of the media are verified, they have also become associated, for some, with the perceived liberal bias of the fourth estate. Conservatives, alt-righters, and Donald Trump fans have noticed that when Trump tweets, there is invariably a flood of “blue check liberals” responding in a negative way.

Many users and organizations support Twitter's new hate speech policy, and are even urging the platform to ban President Trump for violating their new anti-hate rules.

But others view Twitter's new guidelines as creepy, hypocritical and antithetical to the open speech concept of the platform. If only conservatives are going to get in trouble for "hate speech," is it really a fair system?

Even FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who was inundated with hate mail when he announced the dismantling of Obama-era net neutrality rules, argues Twitter has a "double-standard" in how it treats liberals over conservatives.

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