I just returned from a one-week Twitter suspension for telling a joke, but even as I didn’t break any Twitter rules, I’m actually glad this happened. My sentence to Twitter to jail proves that everything Twitter tells the public, the government, and its investors is a lie.
First, let me explain what (ostensibly) led Twitter to suspend me. Last Monday I saw a former Biden COVID adviser, Andy Slavitt, commenting on that day’s passing of Colin Powell. He said the lesson of his death was that everyone should get vaccinated.
I replied joking, “Get vaccinated, then you too can die of Covid.” Incidentally, I’ve told this story IRL several times and whenever I get to the part about what I tweeted, the people I’m talking to start laughing. Seems only Twitter’s humorless scolds can’t take a joke.
Within minutes, Twitter locked me out of my account and told me to delete the tweet. I did, believing this would enable me to tweet again. However even after I deleted the offending tweet, I was informed I couldn’t use Twitter for a week. They put me in timeout for telling a joke the moderators thought was mean.
Twitter claims I violated their rule against “abuse and harassment.” As anyone with common sense is already aware, that’s a lie; I never abused or harassed anyone. Slavitt, the supposed victim of my abuse, even sent me a DM stating he disagreed with me being suspended and that “sarcasm is the spice of Twitter.”
Twitter claims people who think they’ve been wrongly suspended can appeal their verdict. This, too, is a lie. I appealed three separate times and never received a response.
Obviously, they didn’t reply because there’s no possible justification for suspending me. We all know my only real offense was exposing their own intellectual insecurities — and they can’t admit that publicly.
After convicting me for violating a rule I never violated and then denying me my supposed right to an appeal, Twitter, upon reinstating me, adopted the Sovietesque technique of using earlier lies to justify new threats, in this case claiming new “violations” may result in my account being permanently banned.
For more on how this all fits into Twitter’s pattern of lying, let’s revisit Jack Dorsey’s congressional testimony from last November. They’re almost innumerable, but here are some of the biggest whoppers.
Lie: “Twitter’s purpose is to serve the public conversation. People from around the world come together on Twitter in an open and free exchange of ideas.”
Reality: Twitter’s purpose is to distort the public conversation. State actors exploit Twitter to launder propaganda while average Americans are censored for expressing mainstream opinions on issues like transgenderism.
Lie: Dorsey said in “short order” he would publish “moderation processes and practices, a straightforward process to appeal decisions, and best efforts around algorithmic choice.”
Reality: None of this has happened.
Lie: “Content moderation rules and their potential effects, as well as the process used to enforce those rules, should be simply explained and understandable by everyone. We believe that companies like Twitter should publish their moderation process. We should be transparent about how cases are reported and reviewed, how decisions are made, and what tools are used to enforce.”
Reality: None of this has been done.
Lie: “We have worked to build better in-app notices where we have removed Tweets for breaking our Rules. We also communicate with both the account that reports a Tweet and the account that posted it with additional detail on our actions.”
Reality: I can verify that the person whose account is affected is never offered “additional detail.”
Lie: “Twitter is focused on advancing the principle of procedural fairness in our decision-making across the board. We strive to give people an easy, clear way to appeal decisions we make that they think are not right. Mistakes in enforcement — made either by a human or algorithm — are inevitable, and why we strive to make appeals easier.”
Reality: Again, my situation shows Dorsey lied his face off before Congress.
Lie: “Procedural fairness at Twitter also means we ensure that all decisions are made without using political viewpoints, party affiliation, or political ideology, whether related to automatically ranking content on our service or how we develop or enforce the Twitter Rules. Our Twitter Rules are not based on ideology or a particular set of beliefs. We believe strongly in being impartial, and we strive to enforce our Twitter Rules fairly.”
Reality: Views-based outcomes are literally the only possible explanation for why accounts like mine are suspended for telling jokes while accounts like Jezebel, which use Twitter to recruit people for abusing and harassing specific individuals — in blatant violation of Twitter’s rules — remain online and in good standing.
Lie: “The machine learning teams at Twitter are studying these techniques and developing a roadmap to ensure our present and algorithmic models uphold a high standard when it comes to transparency and fairness.”
Reality: There are no Twitter standards for “transparency and fairness,” let alone “high standards.”
Lie: “We will produce a longer-form retrospective of all of our work around the 2020 US Election in early 2021 …”
Reality: No such report was ever published. They tilted the playing field toward their preferred candidate; once he was safely ensconced in office, they moved on as if nothing had happened.
Lie: “Twitter banned all political advertising in 2019, only allowing some cause-based advertising for non-partisan civic engagement, in line with our belief that the reach of political speech should be earned, not bought.”
Reality: Twitter accepts money from advertisers they’re politically aligned with, see here:
.@Twitter breaking its own rules to allow political, anti-tobacco legislation ads run on its platform
h/t Scooter Schaefer pic.twitter.com/elmWJpfRyP
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) July 13, 2021
Lie: “We applied labels to add context and limit the risk of harmful election misinformation spreading without important context because the public told us they wanted us to take these steps.”
Reality: The “public” never said this. While Twitter users do offer Dorsey lots of suggestions for fixing this poorly constructed & poorly managed platform, Dorsey ignores it all to instead focus on his preferred hobby of helping progressives win the information wars.
After this testimony, in which Dorsey repeatedly promised unprecedented transparency, he soon began mass purging hundreds of thousands of accounts. Prominent conservative accounts like mine lost upwards of a third of our followers (I lost at least 30,000 followers). At no point did Twitter publicly disclose their criteria for blacklisting accounts. For all his talk of “transparency,” Dorsey always cowardly conducts his blacklisting & censorship in the shadows.
While toiling away in Twitter jail, the folks at Gettr asked me to start posting there. I did (you can follow me here: https://www.gettr.com/user/tomselliott)‘; I appreciate its commitment to free speech, but the problem is a) there aren’t many features that set it apart and, more importantly, b) platforms like Gettr, Gab, and Parler are only used by a slice of society. Social networks are only interesting when issues can actually be examined and debated from all perspectives. You’ll never see a post on Gettr getting “ratio’ed,” as that can’t happen unless a multitude of ideas is able to coexist.
The one actual value Twitter has is that it’s the platform used by public officials, government agencies, celebrities, etc., to interface directly with the public (a role sadly no longer handled by newspapers). Recognizing platforms like Twitter operate as a public forum, Congress grants liability protection to sites like Twitter through Section 230, meant to inoculate platforms from content-driven liability.
While Jack Dorsey has made clear Twitter could hardly exist without Section 230, his company egregiously flouts the whole point of the law. Rather than focusing on running a platform that facilitates interaction, Twitter — alongside Google and Facebook — increasingly make editorial decisions over what appears on their networks; in Twitter’s case, censoring jokes they don’t like while promoting left-wing content it loves.
When Twitter does this, it explicitly acts as a publisher. In this way, Twitter is both shielded from liability while also able to manipulate the flow of information and thus perverting the entire national discourse. This is especially egregious as their manipulation of content creates a false impression of contemporary social opinion. You can’t have an honest conversation about the future of women’s sports when only one side of the issue is allowed to partake.
And that’s Twitter’s biggest lie of all. Far from being some disinterested, neutral 3rd party, today’s iteration of Twitter exists specifically to undermine its supposed core purpose. Rather than letting ideas compete on their own merits in an open arena — the very thing we can credit for the gradual birth of Western Civilization — Twitter is forever trying to trip up one side while offering aid and assistance to the other. Some ideas, Twitter says, are valid and correct; others, unfortunately, are wrong and “unsafe”; with this Silicon Valley Newspeak, Twitter tries shaping popular opinion in the mold of its most vocal, far-left users.
Don’t believe me? Here are but a few recent examples.
While I was suspended for making a joke about Andy Slavitt’s lazy Covid argument, Slavitt was himself tweeting far more abusive and harassing comments about a Republican governor, casually accusing him of manslaughter and likening him to a “disease.” Of course, his account remains in good standing.
Conversely, my British friend told me yesterday that his mother was suspended for tweeting that she opposes mandating children get vaccinated against COVID-19. This is a completely ordinary opinion any parent has a right to hold, but because Twitter deems it the “wrong” opinion, she’s suspended.
Back in the progressive column, Jezebel, as alluded to above, literally used Twitter to recruit people into abuse & harassment. Meanwhile, a conservative congressman, Rep. Jim Banks, was temporarily banned for echoing an opinion shared by a majority of Americans.
Back on the left, the 1619 Project’s Nikole Hannah-Jones used Twitter to recruit her 500,000+ followers into harassing a journalist for reporting on her. Of course, Twitter simply looked the other away.
.@nhannahjones blasted out the @FreeBeacon‘s @aaronsibarium‘s phone number to more than 500,000 followers after he asked for comment on a story. The Times claimed it was inadvertent in a statement, but a subsequent tweet shows she knew what she was doing https://t.co/uqgCnKp2bb
— David Rutz (@DavidRutz) February 9, 2021
On the other hand, if you express a basic lesson of Biology 101, Twitter will abort your account.
China’s totalitarian communist government uses Twitter to launder its propaganda and cover up its slave trade. “Cool with us!” says Twitter. But if you mock China’s dictator, Twitter will help you see your way out.
When BLM supporters circulated a fake tweet alleging the Chicago Police Department celebrated the killing of George Floyd, Twitter deemed it within the bounds of their impressively flexible “rules.” But when a reporter shared an article that embarrassed the BlackLivesMatter movement, he was falsely accused of sharing private information and locked out:
— Ryan Glasspiegel (@sportsrapport) April 9, 2021
Beyond its hypocritical application of “rules,” Twitter destructively, actively sabotages the scientific debate and discussion upon which new understandings depend. When the journal Science published an article detailing encouraging data on natural immunity, Twitter prevented its users from sharing it:
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) September 1, 2021
Here a tweet that simply graphed raw data was smacked with a “misleading” label:
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) October 10, 2021
Well-credentialed scientists who challenge the prevailing orthodoxy have found themselves locked out of the debate, while others have been disappeared altogether:
Twitter has permanently suspended another anti-lockdown leader, Patrick Henningsen @21Wire, founder of @21stCenturyWire, for no apparent reason at all and deleted all of his tweets. pic.twitter.com/S6aFMM0Ppy
— Michael P Senger (@MichaelPSenger) October 13, 2021
Twitter’s behavior with respect to COVID-19 appears premised on protecting the powerful at the expense of the people. Last year my account was likewise suspended after I criticized Gov. Andrew Cuomo for withholding vaccines to NYC’s senior citizens. Twitter, familiarly, claimed my criticism was “abuse and harassment.” Ergo Twitter manipulated its platform to protect its favored politicians even as doing so meant risking needless death and despair.
The reason Twitter doesn’t just admit its platform is now basically premised on helping progressives win the culture wars is that they’re blinded by their own ego and hubris. They actually believe their opinions are Truth. This is how Jack Dorsey can brag about trying to create “healthy conversation” while simultaneously sending a $10 million check to an openly racist personality like Dr. Ibram Kendi and not even realize his obvious hypocrisy.
In their zeal to “change the world,” these Big Tech charlatans lack the humility to realize the limits of their own intellect. A social media company anointing itself an arbiter of truth is so self-evidently preposterous only those actively uninterested in objectively provable facts could fail to see it.
If I’m suspended again, just know it will have nothing to do with my usual sarcastic humor and everything to do with truth-telling threads like this one.