Tuesday, October 24, 2017 by Jayson Veley
Between the beginning of August 2015 and the end of June this year, Twitter has suspended 935,897 accounts for allegedly promoting terrorism, according to newly released figures. Interestingly, statistics also show that the number of suspensions that occurred in the first half of this year decreased by 20 percent compared with the period of time between the beginning of July and the end of December of 2016.
According to a blog post that reported on the findings, “Twitter’s continued commitment to eliminate such activity from our platform has resulted in an 80 percent reduction in accounts reported by governments compared to the previous reporting period of July 1 2016 through December 31 2016. Notably, government requests accounted for less than one percent of account suspensions for the promotion of terrorism during the first half of this year.”
The blog post continued, “Instead, 95 percent of these account suspensions were the result of our internal efforts to combat this content with proprietary tools, up from 74 percent in our last transparency report.”
So in other words, Twitter is really cracking down on accounts that promote terrorism in one way or another, and that is the reason why nearly one million users were suspended between August 2015 and the end of June this year. But if Twitter is really getting serious about accounts that advocate terrorism, then why didn’t they take action against Amazon when the online retail giant promoted bomb-making materials?
As reported by the Daily Mail last month, Amazon suggested chemical ingredients to shoppers that are harmless on their own, but can be combined to create explosives and incendiary devices. Recipes for black powder and thermite were placed under the “Frequently Bought Together” section when shoppers searched for other common chemicals. In addition, steel ball bearings, which are commonly used for bomb shrapnel, were also suggested to shoppers in the “Customers Also Bought” tab.
And yet, despite the fact that Amazon suggested ingredients for explosive devices, the company’s Twitter account remains open and available to the public, complete with 2.67 million followers and post as recent as just a couple of days ago. Why wouldn’t Twitter, the social media site that claims to be taking a bold stand against accounts that promote terrorism, take any action against an account whose company recommended bomb-making materials to their customers?
This is hardly the first time that Twitter has been caught in an egregious act of hypocrisy, however. As Twitter’s Chief Executive Dick Costolo said a few years back at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, Twitter is the “free speech wing of the free speech party.” Since then, that statement has been proven time and time again to be utterly false, as Twitter has never passed up an opportunity to silence users that do not align with the left wing progressive ideology. (Related: Notice how social media sites like Twitter aren’t banning accounts of leftists calling for the assassination of Donald Trump?)
Earlier this year, for instance, a young conservative commentator named Hunter Avallone woke up one morning to find that Twitter had suspended his account for unknown reasons. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that Avallone was a supporter of President Trump, or that he had a knack for combating social justice warriors, feminists, anti-gun advocates and other liberal groups. Regardless, the fact that Twitter can ban users for political reasons while at the same time claiming to be the “free speech wing of the free speech party” is not only a blatant assault on the First Amendment, but also completely hypocritical and even laughable. (Related: New alternatives to Twitter, Google and Facebook are rapidly emerging.)
Instead of going down a path of social justice and political correctness, social media companies like Twitter should be focusing on being fair, balanced, and consistent with the rules that they set in place. Otherwise, they are going to continue losing credibility.