Twitter Testing the Limits of Free Speech

Twitter has been increasing their censorship of harassment, with this week Tila Tequila being added to the list of banned users after sharing a photo of her doing the nazi salute while at a white supremacist conference.

Another recently banned Twitter user is Richard Spencer, head of the alt-right think tank National Policy Institute. Spencer has said he would like Hispanics, blacks, and Jews removed from the US.

Twitter over the last several months have gone a banning spree of people with alt-right views, such as Conservative Writer Milo Yiannopoulos after his harsh comments towards Leslie Jones in July.

Twitter also unveiled a new mute button for trolls, giving users a mute feature to take out harassing words and phrases from their notifications.

Del Harvey, Twitter’s vice president of trust and safety, said to the Washington Post, “We’ve heard from users that [notifications] is an area where people don’t feel as though they have as much control on Twitter.”

Twitter’s banning spree comes after a massive backlash regarding harassment from users. The 1st Amendment prevents the government from enacting laws that violate free speech, but this doesn’t apply to companies, and Twitter is allowed to legally ban any user from Twitter for any reason at any time.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has said “Abuse is not part of civil discourse. It shuts down conversation and prevents us from understanding each other. Freedom of expression means little if we allow voices to be silenced because of fear of harassment if they speak up. No one deserves to be the target of abuse online and it has no place on Twitter.”

This move to ban users has led to discussions regarding the idea of free speech and where is the line between acceptable and unacceptable speech.

For now, it’s mostly up to Twitter and the users who decide to mute comments from those who harass them.


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