Here’s Why the Right Has Gone Bananas Over Twitter

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Conservative writer David French provides some insight into why the right is going increasingly hysterical over Twitter’s modest efforts to rein in racist and violent speech:

When you hear increasing right-wing (I refuse to say “conservative”) calls for government oversight of social media speech policies, it’s vitally important to understand some of the career/economic context. Many of the people most alarmed made a gamble. They invested enormous time, energy, and effort into a platform they didn’t create, don’t control, and use for free. They’ve built impressive followings here, sometimes through edge-lord behavior, skating at the outer margins of Twitter’s policies.

As progressive speech values shift (after all, this is a site created by progressives and run by progressives) some of that on-the-line tweeting is going to cross newly-created lines, thus jeopardizing all that effort and risking extinguishing their primary public presence. That’s why the debate often takes on a slightly-crazed tone. It’s not merely an abstract debate over constitutional principles and corporate values. Lots of folks went all-in on creating an edgy presence on arguably the most progressive social media site. They don’t want to start over on Facebook. They don’t want to flee to Gab. Nor do they want to start from scratch on TikTok (“Chuck Todd won’t know I destroyed him!”) or Snapchat or YouTube or Reddit. And they’re certainly not content to “only” write on the platforms they own.

So here we are, in the grips of an incredibly self-interested effort to pull more and more of the government into social media regulation, even to the point of potentially overriding long-cherished First Amendment freedoms. It’s important to understand one reason why.

This was, naturally, a Twitter thread, which I consolidated into ordinary, boring text. I thought you all might be interested.

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This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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