Twitter Files Reveal Politicians, Officials Evading the Constitution’s Restrictions

In recent years, social media firms, financial institutions, and hosting platforms have denied services to disfavored customers, sometimes for political reasons. The response from many quarters (myself included) has been that people have free association rights and can generally do business as they please.

But what if these outfits are private-ish, enacting policy on behalf of politicians to spare them pushback or allow for end-runs around constitutional protections? They do so out of ideological agreement, fear of government retaliation, or a mix of both. That messy scenario is what the Twitter Files reveal of the relationship between the social media giant and federal officials. It’s a glimpse of a bigger problem.

“The United States government pressured Twitter to elevate certain content and suppress other content about COVID-19 and the pandemic,” wrote David Zweig of The Free Press, who joined Matt Taibbi, Michael Shellenberger, and Free Press founder Bari Weiss in revealing Twitter’s collaboration with the state at the request of new owner Elon Musk. “Internal emails that I viewed at Twitter showed that both the Trump and Biden administrations directly pressed Twitter executives to moderate the platform’s content according to their wishes.”

The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security also leaned on the platform to suppress what officials considered election-related “misinformation.” The files revealed internal disputes over what crossed the line, with decisions based on judgment calls. The employment of former feds and what The Dispatch‘s David French terms “an ideological monoculture” ensured that such decisions generally deferred to authority, especially after the Biden administration took office.

But Twitter isn’t a special case. In 2021, President Joe Biden accused Facebook of “killing people” by allowing discussion of government-disfavored ideas about COVID-19 response. “White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki singled out a dozen specific anti-vaccine Facebook accounts and called on the platform to ban them,” Reason‘s Robby Soave noted at the time.

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Author: HP McLovincraft

Seeker of rabbit holes. Pessimist. Libertine. Contrarian. Your huckleberry. Possibly true tales of sanity-blasting horror also known as abject reality. Prepare yourself. Veteran of a thousand psychic wars. I have seen the fnords. Deplatformed on Tumblr and Twitter.

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