Social media has become a major part of our lives. It allows us to connect with our friends, businesses, and even people of interest. I've had conversations with a countless number of people whom I'll probably never meet, and live in other parts of the world. I know that each and everything that is said on social media is monitored for safety reasons. As a user, we have to sign a contract with the owners of the site we're using, promising to abide by their rules. If we break those rules, we are subject to any action that company sees fit in regards to the offending post. There is nothing wrong with this of course, but what about the company's side of the agreement? Do they have the right to break their rules that you have to agree to? In order to examine this question, I will look at an example that occurred over Twitter.
If you haven't heard about the popular conservative Milo Yiannopoulos getting banned permanently from Twitter, here's what happened. After the release of the newest Ghostbusters movie (starring all female lead characters) was released on July 8th, 2016, Milo made a negative comment about the movie, and specifically about one of the actresses Leslie Jones. Leslie was getting some very offensive hate mail from people who were mocking the new movie as a sad and un-creative attempt at making money. Here is an example of one of the tweets Leslie received:
This is outright wrong and the user who posted this has been banned, as is Twitter's prerogative. In response to Leslie's complaints about such hateful comments, Milo said "Everyone gets hate mail FFS". While this tweet might not be very kind or respectful, it isn't breaking any of Twitters rules. This video does a great job to defend Milo's perspective. Now I must warn you, the guy reporting is a bit angry and does rant a bit, so to save you time, here are the main points: 0:29-0:50 and 3:09-4:13
So Milo said some mean and possibly offensive things, but there was nothing attacking about it. He didn't incite violence, he didn't make racist or sexist remarks, he just called her illiterate. A couple of his followers did go too far, and said things that aren't ok and are blatantly against the rules. Twitter banned Milo because of what his followers did. At least the users who broke the rules were also banned. Now Twitter is a private company and is allowed to do what it likes. However, it isn't consistent at all. Many people who have strong opinions about a certain sensitive subject get constant death threats and are heckled over and over by users who aren't banned, or so much as suspended.
This is directed at the conservative who made that rant. This is a very benign example of what he gets every day. He's not the only one too, many people, Liberal and Conservative alike get threats like this everyday. if Twitter wants to crack down on the misuse of their site, they need to focus on these kinds of people instead of mean-spirited comments like "barely literate".
Here are my personal thoughts on the subject: