There is an ethical dimension to political speech as well as a constitutional dimension
This is the most convincing argument I've seen for deleting Twitter. If only people would run their businesses based on ethics rather than greed, the world would be quite a different place.
I’ve been considering deleting mine ever since Elon Musk took over. Then I read an interesting thread about how doing so reflects white privilege and BIPOC, LGBTQ, and other marginalized and scapegoated groups of people don’t have the luxury of not having to deal with hate speech.
That gave me pause, and I briefly reconsidered, but I think I’m done with Twitter now. I won’t miss it.
You make clear an important distinction--"The First Amendment prevents the government from infringing on citizens’ free speech. That’s it. It does not restrict in the least what any other entity or individual in American society can do in this regard." I agree. Twitter has the responsibility to govern its users, including Trump.
Great minds. I deleted mine for good this morning as well.
By email a reader wrote: "I agree with most of your thinking but have to point out that Twitter, a private company, would not have the same policies or goals as a public media organization like NPR (also partially funded by the government). I do believe businesses should have strong principles and be good operators, but at the same time, there is a strong profit motive and that is in part how our economic system works. So to make the argument that Twitter should sacrifice profit and “serve the public interest” did not sit well, you’re mixing up different types of organizations and how they operate."
My reply: "This is very helpful because I know many other people are thinking the same thing. In my view, the number one political problem we have in the country is profit-driven media demagoguery. I personally believe that if this is not curbed it will bring down the republic.
"What do we do about profit-driven media demagoguery? It either has to be regulated by government or regulated by codes of ethics. How else do we get out of the pit?"
A friend from college wrote: "I think you’re going to regret cancelling your Twitter account! It’s better than ever now! I despise Trump too, but he is our former President. I’d much rather hear what ridiculous things he has to say than to have him sending out his missives only to the faithful on his own network. And if you don’t want to hear what he has to say, then you can block him…? What am I missing?"
I replied: "In my reading of history, the only way to bring down demagogues is for democratic institutions to reject them. That certainly means not amplifying their demagoguery on a media platform like Twitter. Trump's demagoguery is poisonous and dangerous. Musk is worse than laissez-faire. He is enabling Trump. He is empowering Trump. He is aligning with Trump.
Let me ask you a provocative question. What if Trump said, "Let's murder X minority group"? Would that change your mind about Twitter amplifying his messages? According to conventional wisdom about free speech, Twitter should let him stay on if he says that, and, if such a statement is illegal or unconstitutional, the Justice Department should deal with it, not Twitter. Or––honest question––would your ethical threshold have been reached at that point––when Trump wrote on Twitter "Let's murder X minority"––where you would say Twitter should ban him? What is your ethical threshold?
"If you listen to podcasts, I have a great one to recommend: The Father Charles Coughlin Story. It is great history and is extremely eye opening about demagogues."
Same but I deleted mine almost 3 weeks ago.