Friday, 14 November 2014

Twitter, Censorship, and Freedom of Speech

Dear Twitter,

It is less than a week since I learnt you have given moderator powers to an outside activist group. I warned you right there and then that this is one giant slippery slope that will only cause problems. That this particular group is feminist has no actual consequence. The fact is you should not have done it, and have opened yourself only to more pressure from other activist or potentially political, and religious groups who may demand the same powers you have granted to FMA.

I warned you less than a week ago, how fast this can lead into censorship of those that do not agree with the particular group in power. And now we already see consequences. People are reporting as harassment other people who do not harass. Best example is Milo Yiannopoulos. While you might disagree with him about many things, simply disagreeing is not grounds for suspending him from twitter. You are effectively censoring him based on his opinion. There is another way to put it. You are discriminating against him on the grounds of his personal beliefs.
Our mission: To give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers.
These are your words, Twitter. I beg of you, stick to them. Get rid of any outside group be it political, activist, or religious. Do not give them the chance to censor those whom they disagree with. As already proven this is what will happen. You are effectively responsible for stifling the debate, and drowning any ideas that would otherwise be shared. These outside groups do not care for your ideals of wanting for all people to have power to create and share their ideas and information without barriers. These groups are creating barriers. These groups are tolerating only those that follow their ideals and principles. These groups will censor anyone who disagrees with them, not because they should, but because they can.

Harassment to them is just an excuse. Safety just a golden calf. Do not allow them to suffocate the free speech of the people just because they claim they want to create a safe environment. You were doing that just fine by yourself. There is no need for these people form the outside because only thing they do is harm. They bring no good to the whole thing, they are bad for business Twitter, and if nothing else, you should care about your bottom line.
Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
These are the words of Benjamin Franklin. They echo with what I want to tell you here, Twitter. Do not allow anyone to sacrifice our liberties such as Freedom of Speech on the Altar of Safety. That altar is rotten and corrupt, they call it the Shrine of Silence for a reason. Do not allow these outsiders silence the people just because they have their own opinion. Because this is how the twitter we know dies.

I should add that Yiannopoulos got access to his twitter back soon after he was suspended. But how many people were simply suspended and nobody noticed? How many people must go through the same ordeal before you realise that the people who report them, do so only out of malice and because they disagree with them. Not because the people hurt by those wrongful reports are not doing anything wrong, but because those who disagree with them would have them silenced. A poem probably known to us all titled First they came.. comes to mind.

Soon, the campaign for next American president will start. Just imagine if one group who has access to moderation on twitter uses this power to suspend or ban every single supporter of the candidate they do not support. Every single reasonable person would understand that is wrong. They would be effectively creating their own public opinion by silencing the opposition.

Imagine some Christian group got access to these moderator powers and decided to suspend every single individual who ever said a thing against God. Imagine an Atheist group got those powers and silenced every single person who ever mentioned their religious beliefs. Imagine a political group got this powers and decided to silence all of its opponents. This is the reality twitter is facing with granting moderator powers to an outside activist group. There can be no good that can outweigh the bad it brings. So please, Twitter, get rid of them!

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