Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Compare cell phone plans using Wirefly's innovative plan comparison tool ×
Social Networks The Media Twitter Politics

Why Does Twitter Refuse To Shut Down Donald Trump? (vortex.com) 832

Lauren Weinstein writes: The conclusion appears inescapable. Twitter apparently has voluntarily chosen to 'look the other way' while Donald Trump spews forth a trolling stream of hate and other abuses that would cause any average Twitter user to be terminated in a heartbeat. There's always room to argue the proprietary or desirability of any given social media content terms of service — or the policy precepts through which they are applied. It is also utterly clear that if such rules are not applied to everyone with the same vigor, particularly when there's an appearance of profiting by making exceptions for particular individuals, the moral authority on which those rules are presumably based is decimated, pointless, and becomes a mere fiction. Would you rather Twitter shut down no account ever, apply a sort of white-listing policy, or something in the middle?
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Why Does Twitter Refuse To Shut Down Donald Trump?

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 30, 2016 @04:25PM (#51404659)

    Because that would be unimaginable CENSORSHIP?
    You stupid leftist idiot.

    • by tehlinux ( 896034 ) on Saturday January 30, 2016 @05:11PM (#51405067)

      No, dude, it's OK to censor republicans. ;)

    • by goombah99 ( 560566 ) on Saturday January 30, 2016 @05:22PM (#51405181)

      How dit this idiocy reach the front page of slashdot. Is this the new management at work?

    • by JaredOfEuropa ( 526365 ) on Saturday January 30, 2016 @06:27PM (#51405651) Journal
      Free speech means that you are free to say whatever you want. But it does not place any entity, private or public, under any obligation to offer you a platform. If Twitter decides to censor Trump, that's censorship, but it's not unimaginable since it's a private company. They are free to censor him because they think his views are bad, because they hate his guts, or because it's a full moon on Saturday.
      • by ooloorie ( 4394035 ) on Saturday January 30, 2016 @10:20PM (#51406687)

        They are free to censor him because they think his views are bad, because they hate his guts, or because it's a full moon on Saturday.

        Legally? Sure. But that doesn't mean they are beyond criticism. After all, they have aspirations of being a communications platform and social network and that requires more than merely being legally above board.

      • by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Sunday January 31, 2016 @10:06AM (#51408539) Journal

        Sure they are.

        The real answer to the (stupid) OP question is economics. As much as liberals like to assume that they are the 'mainstream' the fact is that the country is much closer to 50/50.
        Twitter, not stupid, recognizes this.

        If they silence Trump (again, as you say, for whatever reason they want because they're private) a few things happen:
        1) they lose half their customer base; I strongly suspect that this really wouldn't matter economically because a) they make no $ and b) I'm guessing that 99.9% of Trump voters don't 'tweet' as a lifestyle-communication thing; and
        2) he gets a bully pulpit and even more press as it 'looks' like the establishment is trying to censor him; and
        3) suddenly Twitter would be seen to be taking sides. For a purported neutral third party carrier of messages, they would be taking the stance that they ARE now responsible for the messages they carry - that would impose HUGE liability on them, not to mention opening a massive can of worms in terms of potential litigation regarding their common-carrier stance.

    • by Carewolf ( 581105 ) on Saturday January 30, 2016 @07:33PM (#51406029) Homepage

      Because that would be unimaginable CENSORSHIP?
      You stupid leftist idiot.

      Twitter started it, they introduced censorship. Now they have to be consistent about it. That it becomes really nasty is the point, hopefully they will realise they don't want to be doing censorship.

    • Censorship is anything but "unimaginable". Most of it comes under "editorship" (sometimes a legal requirement as in editing abusive comments on a website, sometimes editorial bias ("we can't publish this rubbish, we have standards"), straightforward commercial considerations ("our readership won't like to see this published"); see e.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org], sometimes through simple fact-checking). Only when it's suggested that freedom of speech removed where it used to exist do we notice it an
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 30, 2016 @04:26PM (#51404665)

    Twitter could be destroyed, or at least heavily damaged, by the republican party if it took a side. Also, like it or not, Trump is the leading republican candidate.

  • by Pollux ( 102520 ) <speter@tedata.n e t . eg> on Saturday January 30, 2016 @04:27PM (#51404671) Journal

    ...But if I was him, I'd give Trump all the rope he needs to hang himself with.

    • ...But if I was him, I'd give Trump all the rope he needs to hang himself with.

      Yeah, this sounds like a win-win to me to me - freedom of speech is given deference, and the populace gets more information regarding Trump.

      I visit Twitter every day, but I can't say that I've ever seen a Trump tweet anywhere except for in a news story (outside of Twitter). He's currently not paying to promote these stupid spewings of his, so the only people who even notice are his Twitter followers (who made a specific choice to add him to their feeds) - which includes the news media.

    • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Saturday January 30, 2016 @05:28PM (#51405241)
      to do just that. Every time he says something nutso his poll numbers go up. Thing is, white working class America knows something is wrong, but they don't know what to do about it. They don't believe in the income inequality fairy, but they do know that they're losing ground. Their kids aren't going to college, or if they are they leave a public university with $60k in debt. They haven't seen a raise in years that wasn't immediately eaten up by price increases.

      What they want and need is the Nordic Model. But they haven't got a chance. Most of these guys spend 2 hours a day commuting to their shitty jobs listening to Rush. They spent their childhood being told that if you work hard and play by the rules and don't get ahead it's your fault. Heck, when the millennials started complaining about the 60 hour work weeks with no benefits or job security or even food security they scoffed at them. They don't want help. They were told they could make it on their own. The keep getting told this by billionaires and their media outlets. I've tried reasoning with them but it's no go. They've got an answer for every point I make spoon fed to them by those same billionaires.

      But they still know something's wrong. Trumps the only man they got.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 30, 2016 @05:56PM (#51405437)

        Because it's not the billionaires I feel threatened by, it's people like Hillary who only see their political position and nothing more. She's the one that shuts out people like Lessig from participating in government. Between her, or any other politician, and Trump, Trump is the lesser evil. He's a bumbling buffoon versus someone who deals regularly in shady government practices.

  • by brxndxn ( 461473 ) on Saturday January 30, 2016 @04:27PM (#51404673)
    Free speech is free speech. Everyone else is free to ignore it. If a radical idea catches on, so fucking what. Twitter should not be shutting down Donald Trump and Lauren Weinstein should quit whining about it like free speech is some sort of threat.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This is the correct answer.

      Until 2 days ago I had no idea he had a twitter account. It makes sense. But I am free to ignore it. I am sure Hillary has one too. I have not read 1 line from either of them.

      Neither one represents what I want so I do not follow them.

      This sort of censorship DOES tick me off though. It is little more than a poorly veiled attempt to bolster their favorite candidate and silence their opponent.

      Also lets just say for 1 second twitter did this. Holy fucking shit you would basicall

      • by Koby77 ( 992785 )
        Trump also has a habit of getting even with those who have wronged him. If Twitter were to suspend his account, and Trump wins the presidency, they would probably be in a world of hurt. It's would be the opposite of what large corporations normally do: send lobbyists and donors to both sides such that they're on friendly terms of whomever wins. They would likely be shooting themselves in the foot with that type of response, especially since Trump would likely gain publicity from it.
    • Does Twitter often shut down accounts? After a Google search, the only thing I can find is shutting down spam accounts, and a bunch of accounts connected to ISIS.
      My guess is Twitter wouldn't shut down your account unless you actively tweet harassment to another user, or something similar.

      I don't want to read though Trump's twitter feed, but I would guess his tweets are hyperbolic at worst, and the author doesn't link to any tweets that deserve account deletion.
    • by DewDude ( 537374 ) on Saturday January 30, 2016 @04:50PM (#51404845)
      Perhaps you forget the actual idea behind free speech.

      The idea that you can say whatever you want, and that no one can stop you; is not the idea behind free speech. Free Speech merely means the government cannot imprison or bring up criminal charges for speech they do not like.

      Twitter is not a government organization, it is allowed to place whatever terms and conditions they want on the service. They own it; the users do not. It is perfectly acceptable from a constitutional standpoint for Twitter to say "we do not like your hate-speech and are removing you from the service", it would be legal for any company to say "I do not like what you wrote on Twitter/Facebook/Other Social Media; they disagree with our ethics and you are being terminated."

      Another example is if you were shouting hate-speech in a public place. As long as you on public property, that is fine. However, the minute you step on to privately owned property; the owners are able to enforce any restrictions they want. Want to scream bigoted statements in front of my house? Make sure you're doing it on the sidewalk or street; if you're in my yard; I'll have you removed.

      I find it ironic that people that scream the most about constitutional freedoms; are doing so in the most twisted way possible. If Trump is violating the usual TOS of Twitter; than he needs to be removed. He can't be charged with a crime for doing so; but Twitter would not be violating the constitution.
      • Perhaps you forget the actual idea behind free speech. The idea that you can say whatever you want, and that no one can stop you; is not the idea behind free speech. Free Speech merely means the government cannot imprison or bring up criminal charges for speech they do not like. Twitter is not a government organization, it is allowed to place whatever terms and conditions they want on the service. They own it; the users do not. It is perfectly acceptable from a constitutional standpoint for Twitter to say "we do not like your hate-speech and are removing you from the service", it would be legal for any company to say "I do not like what you wrote on Twitter/Facebook/Other Social Media; they disagree with our ethics and you are being terminated." Another example is if you were shouting hate-speech in a public place. As long as you on public property, that is fine. However, the minute you step on to privately owned property; the owners are able to enforce any restrictions they want. Want to scream bigoted statements in front of my house? Make sure you're doing it on the sidewalk or street; if you're in my yard; I'll have you removed. I find it ironic that people that scream the most about constitutional freedoms; are doing so in the most twisted way possible. If Trump is violating the usual TOS of Twitter; than he needs to be removed. He can't be charged with a crime for doing so; but Twitter would not be violating the constitution.

        I agree with all you said above, but why then can't a bakery refuse to make a cake for a gay wedding?

      • by spire3661 ( 1038968 ) on Saturday January 30, 2016 @05:19PM (#51405147) Journal
        A minor correction . Free Speech is the idea that you can say things. Its a spectrum like anything else going from completely permissive on one end to restricted for reasons on the other. Its a completely separate idea from the FIRST AMENDMENT, which is a limitation on the U.S. government. Generally The First Amendment of the U.S. is very permissive of speech, with exceptions for things like obvious inciting of harm (and other unspecified ' i know it when i see it' clauses).

        I only mention this because people get these ideas confused and then the conversation stops being about Free Speech, and it starts being only about The First. It limits the conversation to LEGAL arguments, citing court decisions etc and drowns out any moral speech. Its boring to only look at life through the lens of the law.
      • by stdarg ( 456557 ) on Saturday January 30, 2016 @05:21PM (#51405169)

        Nope, you got it backwards. The concept of free speech has nothing to do with the government. The 1st amendment right to free speech is a constraint put on the government to uphold the principle in limited circumstances, it does not define or limit the principle itself.

        One's support for free speech is generally a matter of degree. If your support ends at the 1st amendment, and you think that private "consequences" for free speech are fine and dandy, then you don't support it very much.

      • by HiThere ( 15173 )

        Look up "public accommodations", and try to decide whether it applies as much to twitter as to a lunch counter.

        I don't like "hate speech", but I'm quite wary of all attempts to forcibly curtail it. They can so easily be turned around against other targets.

    • So you'd be ok with me coming to your front porch and distributing fascist and communist pamphlets? It's free speech, ain't it?

  • An experiment (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 3vi1 ( 544505 ) on Saturday January 30, 2016 @04:27PM (#51404679) Homepage Journal

    I propose a test: Create an alternate account and re-post the same things Donald Trump posts. Maybe change the names/groups mentioned in order to protect the innocent.

    Then, if Twitter shuts you down, you would have a pretty open and shut case as to preferential and selective treatment.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 30, 2016 @04:28PM (#51404681)

    Deal with it. Just because you aren't voting for a person in a election doesn't mean every opinion of theirs must be silenced at all costs. Give them enough rope to hang themselves if you think someone is such a monster...

    • Being a presidential candidate doesn't grant you the right to violate terms of service. Of course, it does mean people are more likely to let it slide. But it does make a mockery of their "no hate speech" nonsense.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Being a candidate gives you the right to email above-top-secret information in the clear and not immediately go to prison... why wouldn't it allow you to post "supposedly" bad stuff on twitter?
  • Sigh... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 30, 2016 @04:28PM (#51404683)

    Just because you don't agree (or are insulted) with the man or his policies doesn't mean he should be censored. When he begins calling for the gruesome death of all people who don't agree with him (e.g. ISIL), then we will have something to talk about. The only reason this article has ANYTHING to do with Slashdot is cuz Twitter. Can we get back to technology stuffy, please?

  • by vivaoporto ( 1064484 ) on Saturday January 30, 2016 @04:33PM (#51404707)
    The very asking of the headline question reeks of "freedom of speech as long as it's the right one".

    People should be able to discern speech the agree with vs. speech they don't on their own after considering every opinion made.

    Speech "carriers" have all the right to censor the speech in their media as they see fit (not being the government and all) but the very moment the prevent someone to speak their mind on their platform (no matter how radical they may sound) they forfeit their right to call themselves "a bastion of free speech" and become the same as every other news media: a place to broadcast the views of their owners and target audience, no more, no less.

    In conclusion, every company have the right to pick and choose what they want to enable to be said on their property but as soon as they choose to censor they become yet another biased source just like every other else.
  • Twitter censorship (Score:5, Interesting)

    by brennz ( 715237 ) on Saturday January 30, 2016 @04:34PM (#51404715)

    There are already numerous allegations of Twitter censoring and unverifying the political right [dailycaller.com] or pro-gamergate [breitbart.com] folks such as Milo Yiannopoulos [breitbart.com]. Trump is actually a big attention grabber and he is capturing lots of media attention, so censoring him would hurt Twitter more.

    A better question may be why they haven't come down harder on terrorist activities [thefederalistpapers.org] on Twitter

  • by penguinoid ( 724646 ) on Saturday January 30, 2016 @04:45PM (#51404805) Homepage Journal

    He who has the gold, makes the rules. And boy, does Trump have the gold.

  • Short version: Why should they?

    Long version: I find him reprehensible, and find his positions stupid and indefensible, because I'm, I guess, a liberal or leftie or maybe even progressive. According to a number of posts here, I, as a liberal, am supposed to want Trump to be silenced. I do not. Political candidates, no matter how much I don't like them, get, and should get, a podium. Freedom of the news and freedom of speech are more sacred than my desire not to be offended or annoyed.

    Amplifying that, I

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Saturday January 30, 2016 @04:53PM (#51404889)

    The headline presumes a lot of things.

    Read the actually Twitter account and it's relatively bland, in pages of tweets I couldn't see anything that would cause an account from anyone to be suspended.

    Its amazing how furious trump makes people, and sad how they themselves must lie to try and shut down someone they disagree with.

  • Twitter, being a private entity, can make whatever policies they want and kick anyone off for almost any reason. All these responses about BLAH CENSORSHIP and BLAH FIRST AMENDMENT and BLAH FREE SPEECH are nonsense. Twitter can set whatever content standards it wants.

    That said, you have to be really careful when political speech is involved. Even if Trump really is violating their policies (I don't know he is, I just don't follow him because he's an idiot saying idiotic things), kicking him off might constit

  • by marcle ( 1575627 ) on Saturday January 30, 2016 @04:54PM (#51404909)

    If the new owners are listening, this is exactly the sort of story that doesn't belong on Slashdot. The technical angle (Twitter?) is minimal, the political content is strong, and most of the commenters have big ugly political axes to grind.

    Hopefully this is an aberration. If you just want to post clickbait and stir up outrage, this isn't the site for me.

    If, on the other hand, you wanted to talk about the algorithm Twitter uses, or the resources and methods required to enforce Twitter policies, you might have a nerdish angle.

    But to ask readers whether or not they approve of Trump on Twitter is trolling, and makes me wonder about your "new" direction.

    • If you look at the comment counts, posts like this get a lot more response than any tech post. In fact, it seems that the more a post is purely about technology, the fewer responses it has. Although the purists come out with their predictable "what-is-this-doing-on-slashdot" comments every time a political topic comes up, there is obviously a lot of interest. Someone had a good suggestion... just create a "politics" tag, and those who aren't interested can filter it out. Win-win.
    • by Dahamma ( 304068 )

      New owners? It has absolutely nothing to do with the new owners. Timothy posted this.

      And aberration? Again, Timothy posted this. As he posts stupid, irrelevant shit all the time.

      If anything, you should be hoping the new owners clean house a bit and can find some real editors...

  • Stop. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ArylAkamov ( 4036877 ) on Saturday January 30, 2016 @04:54PM (#51404915)

    Can we stop calling opposing political opinions "trolling" and "hate speech"?

    The word has lost all meaning at this point.

    Unless people actually think Trump is doing what he is doing for the lulz and purely to bother people.

  • by Elias Israel ( 182882 ) <eli@promanage-inc.com> on Saturday January 30, 2016 @05:03PM (#51404975)
    Calling Trump a fascist and demanding he not be permitted to speak is such delightful irony that I pray the writer did it on purpose. Or, they are missing the point of liberal, modern civilization so badly that they should go back to school. And, no, I don't approve of Donald Trump. He can go hump an a-bomb for all I care.
    • I should add that the "Lauren Weinstein" blogger is an established mega-troll who writes articles like this on purpose and with depressing frequency. The saddest thing is that this may be parody of mindsets that have long ago passed the threshold of parody themselves.
  • BizX: first order of business is to kick garbage stories from Lauren to the curb. He is doing nothing but hurt this site. This is not Slashdot.
  • by Jacek Poplawski ( 223457 ) on Saturday January 30, 2016 @05:18PM (#51405137)

    I live in Poland. I use Slashdot for a long time.
    I remember first Obama campaign and pathetic political propaganda on Digg. Not just bad, it was really pathetic.
    Looks like you will never learn, now there is a huge anti-Trump propaganda on Slashdot.
    Twitter should shut down his account? What about facebook? Google?
    Why this community is so brainwashed?

    • The community is squarely against this kind of censorship of thought. The editors on the other hand have a different agenda.

  • by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Saturday January 30, 2016 @05:20PM (#51405165)

    Twitter gets to decide how they like to enforce their policies, and shutting down honest discussion and posting of truth on a political or social issue by someone, candidate or not, would be shameful, and drive people away from Twitter.

    Nobody has shown proof of a Twitter ToS violation by Trump on Twitter.

    The guy's team posted some Tweets which became controversial; However, all the tweats claimed to be "Racist" appear to not be racist, unless you have a colored interpretation driven by a politically biased agenda against Trump.

    Anti-trump bloggers describing Trump's postings as ToS violations are "Seeing what they want to see".

  • Politics, Not Tech (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 30, 2016 @05:40PM (#51405341)

    This is the kind of story that belongs elsewhere. Hey, new owners, let's keep /. tech focused.

  • by mujadaddy ( 1238164 ) on Saturday January 30, 2016 @05:54PM (#51405425)
    FTFA:

    Twitter is certainly obligated to apply the rules that they do have in an evenhanded manner.

    "Obligated?" Is this the very first case of self-interested hypocrisy you've ever encountered?

    In grown-up land, individuals (and corporate individuals, naturally) don't have to enforce their rules. Governments can be sued to act, but individuals don't have such an affirmative obligation; suits are filed the other way; that is, if Trump felt he was being censored unfairly, he might have a course of action, but YOU do not have such a remedy when YOU want a term-of-service applied to someone else.

  • by gfxguy ( 98788 ) on Saturday January 30, 2016 @06:03PM (#51405489)
    She writes a vague blog post that doesn't give a single actual example of a tweet that someone should be banned for, and it makes a slashdot headline... should we thank the new owners? How about this: most of that kind of content is subjective, which means twitter can do whatever it wants. For the record, I like neither twitter nor Trump, but this kind of whining, no matter which side it comes from, is very unbecoming.
  • by reboot246 ( 623534 ) on Saturday January 30, 2016 @06:25PM (#51405635) Homepage
    Why does Lauren Weinstein want to shut down what is clearly political speech? You may find it hateful, vulgar, inspiring, whatever, but it is coming from someone running for office.

    Personally, I wish that Twitter didn't exist at all.
  • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Saturday January 30, 2016 @07:23PM (#51405975)

    ... and remain a viable place for people to voice their ideas.

    If Twitter becomes a progressive hug box then that's all it will be... and its value as a company will be very low.

    This is a mistake a lot of social media outlets are making recently. They think "oh we want to get rid of all the things that look icky to some people"... the problem is that "the internet sees censorship as damage and routes around it." which means if twitter censors people... they will appear to large portions of the user base as "damaged"... and they will be bypassed.

    Twitter cannot ban something like trump because he's clearly very popular with a large number of people.

    What is more, Twitter is letting ISIS say what they want... how crazy do you have to be to think Trump should be censored but ISIS shouldn't?

    Nutty people.

  • by tsotha ( 720379 ) on Saturday January 30, 2016 @09:03PM (#51406425)
    So, the same person who called Trump a fascist last week is trying to get a mob together to censor him? Yeah.
  • by slashmydots ( 2189826 ) on Saturday January 30, 2016 @10:33PM (#51406749)
    I hate Donal Trump but I also have a brain. Saying "some Mexicans crossing the border illegally are felons and rapists" is not racist, it's true and an actual political problem. What Democrats (and idiots) HEAR is "all Mexicans are rapists and felons." It's not like he's tweeting "white power" or something blatantly racist.

Real Users hate Real Programmers.

Working...