Twitter’s take-down of President TrumpDonald TrumpRobert Gates says 'extreme polarization' is the greatest threat to US democracy Cassidy says he won't vote for Trump if he runs in 2024 Schiff says holding Bannon in criminal contempt 'a way of getting people's attention' MORE and his supporters from its platform is not about preventing violence. It is about stifling dissent and is an insult to every American who cherishes freedom of speech.
We know this because Twitter’s explanation for permanently suspending Trump from its platform is laughable. In a blog post, the company argued that two tweets from the president occasioned the move:
From January 8, 2021:
“The 75,000,000 great American Patriots who voted for me, AMERICA FIRST, and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, will have a GIANT VOICE long into the future. They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!"
A short while later:
“To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th.”
These do not seem like unusually combative or threatening posts; instead, they are typical tweets from Donald Trump, who has long championed the people who champion him — and who uses lots of capitals and exclamation points to emphasize his message.
Twitter officials, though, viewing things through a Trump-loathing lens, see something more sinister.
Twitter explains that these tweets must be interpreted in “context” and goes on to examine “the ways in which the president’s statements can be mobilized by different audiences, including to incite violence…” In other words, Twitter judges are mind-readers.
They claim Trump’s statement that he will not attend Joe Biden’s inauguration “is being received by a number of his supporters as further confirmation that the election was not legitimate.” It is also interpreted by Twitter as “disavowing” earlier White House messages promising that there would be an orderly transition on January 20.
They also conjecture that Trump’s absence at the inauguration could be an invitation to violence, since the event would be “a safe target.”
More insulting is Twitter’s assessment that the words “American Patriots” are directed to those who assaulted the Capitol. To Twitter and others on the left, those words are not complimentary but rather apply only to violent extremists. Seriously.
Similarly, Twitter does not seem to like the idea that Trump supporters will have a “GIANT VOICE long into the future.” Twitter reads those assurances as the president vowing to continue to stoke doubts about the outcome of the election.
We also know that Twitter’s attack on Trump is not about preventing violence because the firm’s partisan bias showed up way before the storming of the Capitol. It was evident last summer, when the social media giant prevented the dissemination of credible reporting from the New York Post about Hunter Biden’s shady business deals in Ukraine and China.
Imagine: A supposedly neutral platform forbids circulation of revelations that a presidential candidate likely knew about and perhaps was involved in his son’s attempts to trade on his father’s former position in the White House.
Despite denials from the same journalists who submerged the country in Russia-gate hysteria for over two years, the Hunter Biden story was real. It was backed up by communications from Hunter Biden himself and by first-hand accounts from people involved. Notably, it was never denied by either Joe or Hunter Biden.
Twitter’s bias against conservatives is evident, as well, from the smooth glide of company officials onto President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenManchin lays down demands for child tax credit: report Abrams targets Black churchgoers during campaign stops for McAuliffe in Virginia Pentagon, State Department square off on Afghanistan accountability MORE’s transition team and now his administration. Twitter’s public policy director, Carlos Monje, who hosted a fundraiser for Biden, joined in September. More recently, former Twitter employee Emily Horne signed up to lead communications for Biden’s National Security Council. She joins dozens of other Silicon Valley refugees, all eager to help craft Biden’s left-leaning agenda.
Let’s not forget the ultimate fingerprints of bias: campaign donations. According to Open Secrets, Twitter employees donated nearly $1 million to Biden’s campaign and to other Democrats; not one dollar flowed to Trump or any other Republican.
Twitter’s assault on conservatives does not end with banning Trump. As has been widely reported, many right-leaning commentators, including myself, have recently mysteriously lost large numbers of followers.
Also, the “likes” awarded to tweets from many conservatives have dropped precipitously. This is not about warding off mayhem; this is about suppressing opposing points of view.
Even the ACLU, which has veered disturbingly leftward in recent years, has objected to the tech clampdown. Kate Ruane, senior legislative counsel, decried the “unchecked power” of Twitter and other social media firms, noting in a statement that the banning of Trump “could set a precedent for big tech companies to silence less privileged voices.”
Numerous European Union leaders also criticized Twitter’s autocratic move. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, certainly no fan of President Trump, weighed in, calling the social media firm’s decision “problematic,” while her spokesman pronounced the “right to freedom of opinion is of fundamental importance”.
Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenMisguided recusal rules lock valuable leaders out of the Pentagon Biden's soft touch with Manchin, Sinema frustrates Democrats Hillicon Valley — Presented by LookingGlass — Congress makes technology policy moves MORE (D-Mass.) argued in 2019, “Today’s big tech companies have too much power — too much power over our economy, our society, and our democracy.” In a survey conducted last fall, 65 percent of registered voters across the political spectrum echoed her concern, agreeing “that the economic power of these big tech companies is a problem facing the U.S. economy.”
After Big Tech colluded to take fast-rising platform Parler off the internet, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey posted the Top Charts on Apple’s App Store. Twitter competitor Parler, which had recently gathered millions of new followers and had recently been the most downloaded app, had disappeared.
This gloating from one of the richest and (now we know) most powerful men on earth may prove short-lived. Quite soon, Americans will come to see the threat Twitter and other tech behemoths pose to our freedoms, and demand that their elected representatives rein them in. For the sake of our country, I hope that day comes soon.
Liz Peek is a former partner of major bracket Wall Street firm Wertheim & Company. Follow her on Twitter @lizpeek.