Careful With Those Anti-Corruption Tweets: Twitter Launches Orwellian ‘Council’ to Curb Dissent

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by Claire Bernish

Twitter announced it will be joining in the pro-censorship campaigns currently sweeping social media under the familiar guise defenders of liberty and free speech love to hate: terrorism.

Twitter’s version of the Thought Police, however, sounds somehow even more Orwellian than the original: The Trust & Safety Council — which will, unsurprisingly, “work to develop policies censoring speech on the site,” as the Washington Examiner described.

“To ensure people can continue to express themselves freely and safely on Twitter, we must provide more tools and policies,” the social media’s statement paradoxically begins. “With hundreds of millions of Tweets sent per day, the volume of content on Twitter is massive, which makes it extraordinarily complex to strike the right balance between fighting abuse and speaking truth to power.”

President Obama has called on social media sites to join the fight against terrorism, which essentially translates into a censorship push. And as with any push for censorship, though the premise might be rooted in laudable intent, the reality almost always ends in a clamp down on those who choose to voice less popular opinions — and, if allowed to continue without careful oversight, eventually ensnares almost all dissenting views.

Worse still, the practice of employing the community-at-large as its own watchdog creates a pervasive atmosphere in which individuals self-censor — one of the more insidious ways free speech can be curbed.

While Twitter’s explanation of the Trust & Safety Council appears warm and all-inclusive, its language presents evidence of a seriously slippery slope, stating certain groups maintain an “acute to need prevent abuse, harassment, and bullying” among other issues.

One of the Council’s inaugural members is the Dangerous Speech Project — whose website arguably sounds more frightening to free speech advocates than the subject matter it purports to do battle with.

“Inflammatory public speech rises steadily before outbreaks of mass violence, suggesting that it is a precursor of, or even a prerequisite for violence,” states the uncited and unverifiable homepage. “In many cases, a few influential figures turn their own people against another group, using speech that has a special capacity to inspire violence: Dangerous Speech.” Further, it states, “Violence may be prevented by diminishing such speech …”

Though Twitter certainly has every right to dictate its own policy for speech or anything else it deems necessary, this group Thought Police Council is nonetheless indicative of the disturbing trend toward making censorship acceptable in myriad forms. It’s not as if a single group or person has infallible judgment for determining what is worthy of being removed from a public platform, after all.

Two pertinent quotes from Orwell, himself, come to mind in this situation. First, “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”

Second, and more imperatively still, “If large numbers of people believe in freedom of speech, there will be freedom of speech, even if the law forbids it. But if public opinion is sluggish, inconvenient minorities will be persecuted, even if laws exist to protect them.”

As always, we would be wise to heed Orwell’s sharp portent.

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  • Ello is better. Anyone want invites?

    • Razedbywolvs

      Ello Rules.
      Don’t hate.
      Slurs or hate speech, including denigrating comments involving race,
      sexual orientation, religious or political belief, age, or just about
      anything else, whether they be personal or general, besides being very
      uncool, are not allowed.
      No thanks trigger nigger.

      • Reverend Draco

        Yeah. . . I love how some sites – some people – are frightened to death of the idea of a commentor enjoying the same free speech rights that allow them to remain in business.

      • they may have rules but all sites have rules. doesnt mean that they police the site like twitter does.

  • Just another reason to not use Twitter for anything.

  • Jim

    Just another reason why friends don’t let friends tweet, Facebook, Snapchat, or frequent all the other so-called ‘social media’ sites.

  • RandyJ/ProudSurvivor

    Whenever those in power realize they are losing the intellectual battle, they seek first to limit the ability of their enemies to deliver their message. Never underestimate the willingness of those in power to exercise that power over those who oppose them.

  • gato felix

    Is there a differences between anti-corruption tweets and anti-corruption posts? Is the daily sheeple considered part of social media? If you all don’t hear from me in say 1 or 2 weeks then I guess the powers that be came for me!!!

  • Joe2D2

    Censorship in any form is for the weak minded that cannot handle another person’s opinion or for the tyrant that needs to keep the perception of their rule, seemingly legitimate and just. One of the worst forms is self censorship that we are taught. Things such as, “the two topics you never discuss at a party is religion and politics.”, to which I say, “then we have nothing to discuss”. This happy go lucky bullshit, politically correct nonsense needs to die.

    If you don’t like what I have to write, fuck off and don’t read it. If you don’t like what I have to say, fuck off and don’t listen. No reason to try and shut someone up. If you don’t like it, just go the fuck away. That isn’t the real agenda though, is it? It’s all about the control freaks ruining this world maintaining their power by mind fucking the sheeple and censoring the dissenters.

  • patriot156

    FFF hate twatter/ er twitter whatever. glad I don’t have an account there then F em.

  • AllodialTitle

    NON-DOMESTIC would be the conclusion. USA INC is a DOMESTIC CORPORATE entity unlawfully barfed on mankind by POS attorneys in the District of Columbia Act in 1871