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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Chill out over Twitter's "trust and safety council"

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM (#)

I am late to the party on this one, especially given how quickly things move on the Internet, but conservatives who are apoplectic over Twitter forming a "trust and safety council" really need to chillax. This is not some sort of nefarious conspiracy to silence conservative voices.

Conservatives have pointed to the fact that Twitter's abuse page has an option to report someone who is "offensive, disrespectful or in disagreement with my opinion." (Emphasis mine.) But while this is poorly worded, hovering over the little question mark icon reveals the following text: "Twitter does not screen content and does not remove potentially offensive content unless such content is in violation of the Twitter Rules and Terms of Service."

Twitter is a large company, with several hundred million users. Because there are so many people and so many inflammatory topics discussed, Twitter fields a lot of abuse reports. Sometimes, there are abusive Tweets that should be taken down but are not. Other times, Tweets do not break TOS but the users are disciplined anyway. There are bound to be mistakes and bad decisions with a user base that size.

But let's be real here: If Twitter really wanted to silence conservative voices, they would be losing a significant part of their user base. Disaffected Twitter users would go to a competing platform or maybe even a new one.

I do not doubt that Twitter executives lean to the Left. But this is a for-profit company and they are not nearly stupid enough to potentially alienate tens of millions of customers who have active followings. There will be some inevitable hiccups as the policy of cracking down on harassment settles, but I am absolutely confident that people from every point of the political spectrum will have no problem expressing their opinions.

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