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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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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