is what the title should be, instead it says that James Woods was banned from Twitter for expressing something deemed, in someone’s opinion, unfit. In other words, because Twitter is a private enterprise, or a selective club(?!), they can set their own standards for club membership.
Woods said something like, “If you try to take the King down, you had better not miss.”
This, the independently thinking and judicially minded staff at Twitter thought was provocative, unsettling, and disturbing for some of their subscribers, and it might incite violence, or imply that someone should take violent action. One might ask, what is not disturbing to some of their users, for surely there is some subgroup that can be found that will be disturbed or distressed about a particular thing.
If they are truly concern about words provoking violence, then they should not allow anyone ever to post anything about Islamic doctrine, as it has a long history of inciting violence, i.e. hundreds and maybe even thousands religious murders have been done each year, where the perpetuator openly claims that he/she has committed murder and mayhem because of his Islamic faith. Islam may as a group wish to disclaim violent Islamists, although I don’t hear them doing so all that fervently nor all that often, but even if they did, it does not diminish the fact that the murderers were inspirited by Islamic doctrine. Whether those murderers misunderstood Islamic doctrine, or not, they openly claim that their belief in it caused them to commit the murders. This is as clear a case of verbiage inspiring violence as can be. By Twitter’s standards, it should be banned and those posting it banned as well.
I am pretty sure Twitter does not ban Tweets of faith from their Islamic subscribers. So, I think Twitter’s point, poking through the fog of their rhetoric, is more likely, “We don’t like your politics, so you cannot use our platform to say it. We own it, so we can do that.”
Some people suggest that Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, Google, and related behemoths be broken up under the anti-trust rules. I don’t really care about their size, but rather their function. They have promoted themselves so well that they have become almost universally used and relied upon to perform certain everyday functions for almost everyone. In other words, in the Information Age they have become information utilities, and as such, they must abandon their home grown “membership” criteria and offer services to all. As utilities, they can leave the investigations regarding violent rhetoric and conspiracy to commit violence to the professionals, the FBI and other law enforcement.
Others argue that, unlike other utilities, they do not provide essential services. But every utility was at some point considered non-essential. Even now you are not required to take service from most utilities other than the sewer service, if you live in a city that has that service. You can choose to not have phone service; you can even choose to not have electric service, yet these are utilities. You can balk at my point, but many parts of the country did not have electric, phone, or gas service well into the middle of the 1900’s. Some remote places may still not have these utilities.
For example, my family, living on the plains of the Midwest, did not have electric service until the farmers, in the 1930’s, erected the poles and strung the wire, allowing the power company to hook them up. Early electric power plants in the Midwest, circa 1880-1900, were located in small towns, and only served within the city limits. It was not until the 1900’s that the idea of an electric utility became universal across the US.
These same farmers did not get phone service until the 1950s, nor water service until the 1970’s. None of these services were, or are even now, essential, but they are used daily and allow their customers to participle in the clean, safe conveniences of modern society.
Anything suggesting government control or regulation is generally frowned upon by conservatives, but in the case of these information services, government utility designation would take the corporate leaders out of the arbitrary selective membership business. Their service policy would be subject to public utility commission approval, and any denial of service could be challenged in court or before the utility commission, and no longer relegated to the whims of management.
Even without the utility designation, I would think these services should be subject to the same rules as “country clubs” and other “private” organizations that once denied membership to blacks and Jews, but by law are no longer allowed to do so. While I am against the government intervention into the practices of private clubs, it is already the law of the land and should be applied to Internet clubs, which are more vital to most of us than country clubs.