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12 Feb, 2019 23:48

Feminist sues Twitter after getting banned for saying ‘men aren’t women’

Feminist sues Twitter after getting banned for saying ‘men aren’t women’

Canadian feminist writer Meghan Murphy is taking Twitter to court over its policy on transgender-related speech after she was booted from the platform for questioning the prevailing gender dogma.

Murphy’s suit claims Twitter has been fraudulently misrepresenting itself as a “free speech platform” and failed to notify users of changes to its Hateful Conduct Policy, which the company cited as the reason for banning her in November.

Twitter “refuses to be accountable for its ideologically-motivated efforts to quell free speech,” Murphy said in a video posted on Monday – even though, she points out, Twitter executives themselves proudly boast that “we are the free speech wing of the Free Speech Party.”

Twitter repeatedly promised and represented that it would uphold the free speech rights of its users and not engage in viewpoint-based censorship in its advertising, Rules, public statements and Terms of Service,” Murphy says in the lawsuit. “These promises and representations were material to the decision of millions of users, like Murphy, to join. Without these promises, Twitter would not have been able to attract a critical mass of users to its platform.” 

The FeministCurrent editor insists she broke no Twitter rules that would have triggered her deplatforming, while her detractors – including several prominent transgender activists – violated several by harassing and threatening her, including with fake accounts. They were never punished, she says.

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Pointing out that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has testified under oath that “our policies and algorithms don’t take into consideration any affiliation, philosophy, or viewpoint,” she slammed the “inconsistent unethical, hypocritical treatment of [Twitter] users.

If he genuinely cared about people being able to engage with important ideas and public policy, he would let people speak about gender identity and gender identity legislation on the platform, even if they were disagreeing with his or his employees’ personal opinions on the issue.” Murphy said.

Twitter also violated its own promise to warn users about policy changes, applying its Hateful Conduct Policy retroactively in her case, Murphy claims. She notes that the policy – which bans “dead-naming” transgender people (referring to them by their birth names) – was rolled out so quietly, users didn’t even find out until it had already been used as a rationale for deplatforming Murphy.

The policy is also “discriminatory on its face” because it forbids “widely-held political viewpoints and perspectives that are shared by a majority of the American public,” the lawsuit argues.

It felt like I was clearly being targeted for my personal and political beliefs, not because I was engaging in any hateful conduct, as they call it. I was just making factual statements and asking legitimate questions about the concept of transgenderism,” Murphy said, emphasizing that she is not alone in finding transgenderism itself to be a “contested and confusing idea.”

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Murphy was kicked off Twitter after saying that trans-women were not biological women and for referring to them using male pronouns and names. Asked about the ban by Sam Harris on a recent podcast, Dorsey claimed the ban was not about one particular tweet, but the entirety of Murphy’s behavior.

A Twitter spokesperson called Murphy’s suit “meritless,” adding that the company would “vigorously defend itself” against her claims.

Twitter, Murphy said, “is banning people from participating in public discourse based on their own politics and opinions. It is because of this anti-democratic, hypocritical, and fascistic behavior that we’re suing.”