Thursday, August 8, 2019

Big Orange Takes Over

Twitter slapped Team Mitch's account in limbo over a tweet of protesters outside the Senate GOP leader's house.

After sharing a video of a profanity-laced protest outside of the Kentucky Republican's home in Louisville, the campaign Twitter account, Team Mitch, has been locked out. 
"This morning, Twitter locked our account for posting the video of real-world, violent threats made against Mitch McConnell. This is a problem with the speech police in America today," McConnell campaign manager Kevin Golden told the Courier Journal. "The Lexington Herald-Leader can attack Mitch with cartoon tombstones of his opponents. But we can’t mock it. 
"Twitter will allow the words of “Massacre Mitch” to trend nationally on their platform, but locks our account for posting actual threats against us," Golden added. "We appealed and Twitter stood by their decision, saying our account will remain locked until we delete the video." 
According to Twitter spokesperson Katie Rosborough, “The user was temporarily locked out of their account for a Tweet that violated our violent threats policy, specifically threats involving physical safety.”

Twitter's policy states that users "may not threaten violence against an individual or a group of people" and that the social network prohibits "the glorification of violence." 
McConnell, who fractured his shoulder on Sunday, has been under a heated spotlight after two mass shootings that killed more than 30 people and injured several more. 
Democrats and other critics have been urging McConnell to take up several gun control measures that proponents believe will stem the violence.

The response from the Trump regime was swift. By yesterday afternoon, the White House was already warning that it would soon be following through on threats to bring social media services like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube under Trump's control with a new executive order regulating the industry.

The White House is circulating drafts of a proposed executive order that would address allegations of anti-conservative bias by social media companies, according to a White House official and two other people familiar with the matter — a month after President Donald Trump pledged to explore "all regulatory and legislative solutions" on the issue.

None of the three would describe the contents of the order, which one person cautioned has already taken many different forms and remains in flux. But its existence, and the deliberations surrounding it, are evidence that the administration is taking a serious look at wielding the federal government’s power against Silicon Valley.

“If the internet is going to be presented as this egalitarian platform and most of Twitter is liberal cesspools of venom, then at least the president wants some fairness in the system,” the White House official said. “But look, we also think that social media plays a vital role. They have a vital role and an increasing responsibility to the culture that has helped make them so profitable and so prominent."

Two other people knowledgeable about the discussions also confirmed the existence of the draft order.

None of the three people could say what penalties, if any, the order would envision for companies deemed to be censoring political viewpoints. The order, which deals with other topics besides tech bias, is still in the early drafting stages and is not expected to be issued imminently.

"The President announced at this month’s social media summit that we were going to address this and the administration is exploring all policy solutions," a second White House official said Wednesday when asked about the draft order.

Now, on the surface this smells like a massive bluff to me considering not even the Roberts Court is a guaranteed win for Trump on a screamingly obvious First Amendment issue like this.  But the last thing that social media companies want is a long, expensive, drawn-out court fight that wrecks their bottom line and drives off both users and investors.  Even if Trump is blowing smoke, this is going to cost the social media giants billions.

Bluff or not, just issuing the order would be serious trouble for the social media companies, and they know it.  The question now is finding out what Trump is trying to extort from them.

Then again, with Trump, the cruelty is the point.  A Twitter that has the balls to actually apply the rules to Mitch McConnell is a Twitter that might actually apply them to Donald Trump, and that can never be allowed to happen.

This isn't a shot across the bow, this is one right up the tailpipe.

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