Censorship or battle against hate & abuse? Infowars Twitter ban fuels free speech debate
Twitter’s move to ban controversial political commentator Alex Jones from the platform has been cheered by critics but called ‘unconstitutional’ by supporters, reigniting a fierce debate about freedom of speech and censorship.
There was visible rejoice on Twitter that the company had finally found an excuse to follow other tech giants by banning the notorious ‘conspiracy theorist’ from its platforms. However, many voices slammed the move as “unconstitutional.” Others argued that, while First Amendment concerns do not technically apply in this case, the ban certainly goes “against the spirit of free speech.”
“It is axiomatic that wherever and whenever anyone is banned or censored from any medium, audience or platform, questions as to the abridgement of freedoms of expression and speech arise,” media analyst Lionel told RT.
“While one could argue that classic First Amendment considerations are inapposite as this is a ‘private company’ and not the government, in actuality, many constitutional scholars are asking the question whether these hoary distinctions are relevant in view of social media’s enormity.”
Irrespective of whose voice is blocked or censored and for what reason, Lionel believes the process must be more transparent and objective. “Intrinsic to any notion of due process is the idea of notice and the opportunity to be heard. Are the particular reasons for banning cited and does the banned individual have a process to address and contest the findings?”
Lionel’s additional concern is whether the “system of parity” is maintained, or if there’s any bias behind the process. “Are bans seen across the board irrespective of political ideology or position and for reasons of threatening deportment and the like? Is there selective enforcement?”
READ MORE: Twitter permanently bans Alex Jones and Infowars for ‘abusive behavior’
Meanwhile, a heated debate on the issue continues on Twitter following Jones’ ban. While some keep accusing Twitter of political bias and abuse of power in their battle against “hate speech,” many others are cheering the move and go so far as to wonder when the tech giant will suspend Donald Trump, who is notorious for using the platform to attack his critics.
I am perfectly able to block odious people. I do not need you to do it for me. This is a major fail on your part.— Jim Michels (@jdmichels) September 7, 2018
Free speech only applies to the government. Not privately owned companies. Sorry.— JY Nona (@wrtrontheradio) September 6, 2018
Hey at least they admit it, unlike when they shadow ban conservatives— Big Jim (@jimreittinger) September 6, 2018
Will you continue to announce each account that is permanently suspended for those keeping score at home?— Chris Jacobi (@Obi_1_Jacobi) September 7, 2018
It's long, long overdue. I'm glad Twitter finally decided to join Apple, Google, YouTube, and Facebook by banning this waste of human life.— Brian Blank (@Brian_Blank) September 6, 2018
It took far longer than it should have, but I applaud Twitter for doing the right thing. This is not a community that should the aiding and abetting of people to profit from hate speech and blatant, dangerous lies and conspiracies. Let’s get back to facts, reason, and progress.— Jay Blanchard (@Jay_Blanchard) September 7, 2018
Unconstitutional!!! We need a conservative social media app where we can speak freely. What happened to freedom speech. It is disgusting!— Kim Fox (@kafox40) September 6, 2018
silencing someone for a political view is Unconstitutional. They are interfering with mid-terms ... Doesn't matter if you like Jones or not!— yermom ❌ (@AdultBooks) September 6, 2018
September 6, 2018
About time. There are plenty of accounts pushing lies and hate as their goal. Infowars and Jones were at the top of that list. Keep looking.— Robots in Kashmir (@blackholetalos) September 6, 2018
when are you going to consider suspending the @realdonaldtrump for the same reasons?— lord of logic (@lord_of_logics) September 6, 2018
You aren't even allowed to tweet out the video that led to Alex Jones' ban. Reporting the news is now banned on Twitter. pic.twitter.com/dSBfxrGGah— Allum Bokhari❌ (@LibertarianBlue) September 6, 2018
Again POTUS has been doing exactly what you accuse Alex Jones of .... so what are you going to do about that? Everybody should be equal on your platform. See you've opened a Pandora's box.— Steve A. (@SDAllenToronto) September 6, 2018
Alex Jones has just been permanently banned from Twitter. For what? Telling CNN's Oliver Darcy he's a scumbag to his face on Periscope yesterday? For telling Marco Rubio to 'go back to the bathhouse'? Poor baby can't take a little insult? Free speech is dying online.— Mark Dice (@MarkDice) September 6, 2018
This Alex Jones ban scares me tbh. Crazy is not criminal. People threaten to kill people all the time and they don't get banned. Besides, how do u decide which kinda crazy is worst? David Duke & Louis Farrakhan are still on twitter. It's selective banning.— Pardes Seleh (@PardesSeleh) September 6, 2018
How can anyone, left or right, be comfortable with Twitter moderating what people do off their platform? Everything you do in the real world will now be judged by Silicon Valley as they decide whether to unperson you or not. Who is OK with this brave new world?— Allum Bokhari❌ (@LibertarianBlue) September 6, 2018
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