Twitter to Label Offensive Tweets
Twitter said it would begin labeling tweets from national political figures, including President Donald Trump. At the risk of creating a greater divide with the White House, Twitter is moving forward with a new policy for those posters having 100,000 or more followers.
Before someone can view a flagged tweet, they will need to acknowledge a message that says, “The Twitter Rules about abusive behavior apply to this Tweet. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain available.” What the fuck does that mean?
When Trump menaces a dictator or a “supreme leader” with obliteration of their country, he is threatening an extremely violent act. Because he is the President of the United States, Trump’s words become part of the public record.
The Congressional Presidential Records Act (PRA) of 1978, 44 U.S.C. §§ 2201–2207, mandates the preservation of all presidential records.
The sad truth is that many American rules, like the Logan Act, the Hatch Act and the PRA, are rendered limp with no real clout or penalty after they are challenged in court. The new Twitter policy could drive the Donald to the brink of doing something really damaging to freedom of speech and the First Amendment, like as the Justice Department to arrest reporters. So, Jack Dorsey, what would Twitter do if an executive order said the site may NOT label political tweets?
Twitter might control the posts on their service with respect to their display and storage, but the person who writes a post is the publisher, not Twitter. Twitter is a service, a provider, a gateway for allowing users to display their words, thoughts, prayers and baby pictures on the internet. Why are they attempting to act like a publisher?
Twitter does not charge for use of the service, but their user agreements require posters to exercise discretion and common sense in their posts. Content posted to the service is extremely valuable data that Twitter sells to advertisers and media. They are getting far more than what they are giving.
Twitter’s new rule of labeling certain tweets has created a giant problem. They are now, going to censor some users’ words, pictures and humor with a notice that basically says, CLICK HERE! This one broke the rules! It’s somewhat like Banned in Boston, when being banned led to more sales. Dorsey may be a techno-wiz, but he’s an amateur at political realities. He is attempting to solve a problem not created by his users, but one that has been baked into the service from the beginning. Twitter’s value to its users is its openness and freedom. If the service truly believes a PG-13-like label is going to make a difference, they are socially ignorant.
Once Dorsey and his squad of “interpreters” climb on top of the posts, they are surely going to make some mistakes, or worse, enrich the value of a political operative’s neo-Nazi post with their label. Ooops!
What is their definition of “political candidates and government officials?” Does each user have to register? 100,000 followers are quantifiable, but could it be that Twitter will now label the tweets of the Pope? He is the powerful leader of the country known as the Vatican. He is indeed a “government official” and recently his tweets seem a bit homophobic.
Here’s a question for the Twitter brain trust. If a post is in violation of your rules, why not remove it? Oh, yeah, you are afraid of the fallout if you were to remove a Donald Trump tweet. I get that you are terrified of what he might do but, please, this is a poorly crafted solution to a checkmate? Trump has you by the balls.
Twitter’s new policy will not change anything, proving the reason why social media is a bit like snake handling. Once you get over the fear of touching a snake, you still must know which snakes are poisonous.
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