Someone (not of the internet generation) asked me about Twitter recently, and whether it’s a good company to “invest” in. I could have brought up Friendster but it would fly completely over their heads. Years ago, my initial objection to Twitter years ago was that there’s no way anyone could have a conversation in 140 characters. However, it held great promise for interacting with celebrities where an average person can tweet at someone like Donald Trump and have him respond.
It seems that recently, Twitter has gone down the censorship route in the name of “Trust and Safety” which frankly sounds like some sort of department from the book 1984. Their stated goal is to “ensure people can continue to express themselves freely and safely on Twitter.”
None of the organizations in their “council” (as of this writing) are dedicated to free speech and free expression. I strongly believe that ideas need to be expressed, critiqued, and if necessary condemned, but never censored. It’s a tough road to follow, especially for a publicly traded company focused on profit.
Further research has shown that Twitter has abused their verification policies by “unverifying” gay conservative blogger Milo Yiannopoulos. As a company, the powers that be at Twitter are free to do what they wish, but discouraging bloggers to post on Twitter because they go against the political beliefs of their executives is a surefire way to join the graveyards of Myspace and Friendster. It’s clear that they don’t care about impartiality and have decided to view thoughts they don’t like as unsafe.
I personally don’t agree with a lot of things, but I believe you have a right to say them. And I have a right to ignore them 🙂 Besides, if your ridiculous ideas get banned, how can I make fun of them? If you’re a legitimately bad person, I want to know so I can stay far, far away. Sunlight, disinfectant, you know?
It’s even worse when you’re a publicly traded company whose core technology can be easily duplicated by more financially stable companies who can stay focused on their primary product.
The advice I gave regarding Twitter stock had nothing to do with censorship. I said to stick with concepts that they know and interact with regularly, since they had no idea what a tweet is. I have a feeling that 20 years from now, nobody will have a clue what a tweet is either.