Down With Twitter?

The social media monopolies continue to systematically suppress conservatives. This is an excellent example: Twitter suspended Newt Gingrich’s account because he linked the Biden administration’s promotion of illegal immigration to covid:

Pointing out, correctly, that illegal immigrants flooding the southern border are undoubtedly bringing covid with them is “hateful conduct,” in Twitter’s view. This is obviously ridiculous, and not only because Twitter endorses actually hateful conduct by liberals–32,000 tweets with the hashtag #RapeMelania is just one of thousands of instances. The tech monopolies apparently think they can get away with anything, now that their party is back in power in Washington.

And yet, Twitter is useful. How do I know about this latest outrage? Via Twitter, naturally, even though I am no longer on that platform. In some ways, Twitter remains indispensable.

A few weeks ago, I got an email from Twitter, addressed to my Twitter username, telling me that someone had signed into my account from New South Wales, Australia, and changed my email address to something I didn’t recognize. Twitter’s email said, if this wasn’t you, click here. I clicked there. That brought up a screen that asked for my username, the same one Twitter had used not an hour before in its email to me. I typed in my username, and got a response to the effect that Twitter had no record of any such user. Despite numerous attempts on my part, and multiple emails from others pointing out that my account had been hijacked, Twitter continued to insist that as far as it knew, I had never existed.

I wasn’t particularly big on Twitter. I had 14,000 followers but didn’t use my account for much other than to push out Power Line posts and do an occasional retweet. But viewed in retrospect, it seems probable that the deletion of my account, regardless of whether it started with a hack by some unknown Australian, was part of Twitter’s war against conservatives.

I now have a Parler account and occasionally publish links to Power Line posts there. But there are not a lot of Parler users, and it has not become a significant source of referrals for sites like ours. I suspect that the major social media sites are natural monopolies on account of network effects–they are useful precisely because everyone is on them. It is doubtful whether a startup like Parler would have a chance, even if it were not ganged up on by Amazon, Apple and Google. Talk about an Axis of Evil!

What is the solution? I have helped to draft legislation that prohibits discrimination in suppressing users or user content by social media platforms on the basis of race, sex, political orientation or religion. That bill, which is embedded below, has been introduced in both the Minnesota Senate and the Minnesota House. I testified in support of the bill before Minnesota’s Senate Judiciary Committee a couple of weeks ago.

The bill was opposed by representatives of two Big Tech industry groups–they have the same membership, as far as I could tell, i.e. Facebook, Twitter and the rest–who claimed, ludicrously, that if they were barred from discriminating on the grounds identified in our bill they would not be able to police child pornography. You can watch the hearing, which lasted a little over an hour, on a Facebook Live stream here.

Various approaches have been tried in different states, but I think the anti-discrimination concept is optimal. In Minnesota, Democrats are using procedural dodges to avoid having to vote on our bill. Understandably, they would prefer not to have their votes recorded in favor of perpetuating race and sex discrimination on social media. I think they would be fine with political viewpoint discrimination, if that were the only issue. Roger Simon has more on the critical importance of state legislation at the Epoch Times.

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