Trump, Twitter feud raises questions about censorship, free speech

Trump, Twitter feud raises questions about censorship, free speech
Posted at 5:51 PM, Jun 05, 2020

The ongoing feud between Twitter and President Donald Trump is raising questions about censorship and free speech.

The latest incident involves Twitter's removal of a tribute video to George Floyd that the president tweeted from his campaign account. Twitter cited copyright complaints. The video is still on YouTube and Facebook.

Before that, Twitter fact-checked and hid some of the president's tweets about mail-in voting fraud and another tweet regarding "looting and shooting," saying it was glorifying violence. Meanwhile, the same post on the president's Facebook account was not removed.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has maintained that though the company removes posts that incite violence, the president's post did not violate that policy. That decision led to the resignation of a former Facebook software engineer.

"So, we've seen politicians incite violence in Myanmar and in the Philippines. And many, many people have died. People from these countries know that social media can be dangerous,” said Roy Gutterman, Director of the Tully Center for Free Speech.

We've also witnessed more private citizens on social media complaining since the protesting began that their comments are being flagged more or their accounts are being temporarily disabled.

“I wouldn’t call these cases of censorship or violation of first amendment because you have to have actual government action,” said Gutterman.

Gutterman also said social media companies have a legal right to flag or moderate any content, but they've operated for the most part under the principals of free speech and free flow of information.

“We're congregating, we're meeting on social media and that's where you can reach an infinite audience for your viewpoint and in some sense that's beautiful. That’s beautiful,” said Gutterman.

Gutterman reminded us of the risk of anonymity regarding social media and to pay attention to sourcing on everything you see.