Two of the most famous anti-Trump pundits on Twitter, Ed and Brian Krassenstein, have been permanently suspended from Twitter for organizing outrage mobs through multiple fake accounts.
Such mobs have been used to mass-report conservative users in order to get them suspended, sometimes with great success. Twitter’s algorithms utilize feedback from users to determine candidates for suspension due to hate speech. It has long been suspected that leftist activists conspire to take down political opponents through fake outrage. The suspension of the Krassenstein brothers confirms that such behavior has taken place on a large scale.
One of the victims of the Krassenstein brothers is Carpe Donktum, sometimes referred to as President Donald Trump’s meme-master. He frequently makes viral memes, and some are retweeted by the president. A few weeks earlier, he was temporarily suspended from Twitter after being mass-reported by a mob organized by the Krassensteins.
However, Carpe Donktum has taken the high road. After learning that his archenemies had been banned, he urged Twitter to reinstate them.
Terrible Human beings Brian(@krassenstein) and Ed(@EdKrassen) Krassenstein have been permanently suspended from Twitter.
No one should be denied platform access, even people that tried to get me banned.
Bring them back @TwitterSafety
— Carpe Donktum🔹 (@CarpeDonktum) May 23, 2019
By doing so, he demonstrates the dividing line between First Amendment-loving liberals and conservatives on the one hand and the radical left on the other. Those conservatives and liberals who hold free speech to be of such great value and importance to the individual and society that they are willing to defend access even to people who hate free speech and try to silence people with whom they have disagreements.
By contrast, too many on the left try to silence opposition by any means necessary, including fake Twitter accounts and organized activism disguised as random mob behavior.
Play by the Rules
Although the sentiment of Carpe Donktum is noble, people who actively try to sabotage free speech by illegitimate means should not necessarily be defended. Allowing them to use their platform to silence opponents is not acceptable.
While suspension is one solution, it certainly is not optimal, because organized mobs show that there is something fundamentally wrong with social media platforms today. The primary problem is that in the eyes of the public, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube are infrastructures, much like your phone. The content of your phone conversations is not and should not be the concern of your phone company.
However, in practice, social media platforms act like highly editorialized publications – without the transparency and legal responsibility expected of such. By taking on the role of moderator, they inject themselves into the conversation. That’s incompatible with their function as a communications infrastructure.
A Technological Solution
Earlier, Liberty Nation discussed how this could be solved politically through an internet bill of rights that protects free speech. At the same time, there is a dire need for filtering and moderation. How can this be achieved without censorship?
The answer is filtering tools for the individual user. Just like movies have ratings based on content, so, too, can videos and tweets. Today Google has family-friendly search as a default setting, which removes all pornography and other adult content, and the user must make an active effort to turn those filters off.
Similarly, when you create a Twitter account, you should be able to set the kind of filter for the content you desire. Are you a vulnerable soul who thinks everything is offensive and only wants to see people with whom you agree? Then you should be able to choose a rosy filter that lets through only cute kitten videos and the like.
Such tools solve the problem of moderation by outsourcing it to the individual. This surely will create some isolated ideological bubbles, but that is acceptable. Those who are mature enough to join a real conversation will be free to do so. However, will Twitter go down the road of individual choice and customization? That remains to be seen.
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