Social Media

Twitter Cracking Down on Promoting Violence—With a Major Exception

The government is regularly excluded when we use the word "violence."

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Twitter

Twitter has announced new policies on hate speech and violence that will judge users by their behavior off as well as on the social media site. The rules go into effect December 18.

"You may not make specific threats of violence or wish for the serious physical harm, death, or disease of an individual or group of people. This includes, but is not limited to, threatening or promoting terrorism," the re-written section reads. "You also may not affiliate with organizations that—whether by their own statements or activity both on and off the platform—use or promote violence against civilians to further their causes."

The rule is apparently aimed at neo-Nazis and other racists. Government-affiliated accounts will presumably remain safe, even though those rewritten rules describe a lot of them as well.

Governments, at their root, promote violence against civilians. Not just autocratic regimes that rely on brute force to maintain their power: all governments. They may try make violence a last resort, but it's always lurking behind the law. So far this year, for example, 874 people have been shot and killed by police. Twitter is highly unlikely to deverify or suspend any accounts operated by the various police departments and police associations that defend these killings.

Limiting its policy to "unlawful" or "unofficial" violence would explicitly exclude government accounts, but too often respectable society insists on excluding government and government actions from the accepted meaning of violence altogether. Our collective blind spot to the fact that governments are organizations that "use or promote violence against civilians to further their causes" has real-life consequences beyond social media policies.

Earlier this month, the first case to be taken up by New York's attorney general of a police officer charged with unlawfully killing someone came to an end—with an acquittal. This should've been an easy case: It involved an off-duty police officer who killed another man during a road rage incident, and who provided a statement on what happened that was contradicted by video evidence. But the jury still let him off. Apparently, uch of the general population defers to the police even in a case like this.

That deference is sustained by this inability to accept that government is violent. So long as state-sponsored violence is sanitized and excluded from the popular conception of violence, it will continue largely unabated.

NEXT: Fearing 'Terrorism,' Middle School Cancels D.C. Trip

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  1. Twitter has announced new policies on hate speech and violence that will judge users by their behavior off as well as on the social media site. The rules go into effect December 18.

    One day, this lumbering pile of crap will make profit.

    Also, you have to do this kind of stuff if you want to have dinner with Angela Merkel.

  2. Governments, at their root, promote violence against civilians. Not just autocratic regimes that rely on brute force to maintain their power: all governments. They may try make violence a last resort, but it’s always lurking behind the law.

    Look at Eddie Kray, all understanding the root principles of things.

    1. Not really. Government violence is wrong when it is INITIATORY. We call that tyranny. When government force is RETALIATORY it is carrying out its proper function to defend individual negative liberty.

      1. Government has to at least threaten initiatory violence in order to exist. Try not paying your taxes and see what happens.

        1. If only actions involving the initiatory use of force were illegal the government would be so small that non-coercive means of funding would suffice.

  3. I believe that these sites are probably increasingly coming under pressure from the Feds to control speech too. The comments made during the Russia stuff indicates this for me.

  4. ENB loves the violence. Repeatedly.

    1. Hey, that dirty transphobe had it coming.

    2. I bet Lizzy is thrilled that she has her very own personalized he-man woman haters club.

      1. And someone to carry her purse for her!

        1. I always love to see the retarded thinking right out in the open. If I call you a retard it’s because I love Elizabeth, not because you’re actually retarded. Way to take responsibility for your retardation, dude.

          1. Aw I struck a nerve!

  5. The rule is apparently aimed at neo-Nazis and other racists.

    I suspect that “government exemption” isn’t going to apply to fans of Pinochet-era Chile.

  6. Interesting timing on this article in light of ENB’s tweet this morning advocating violence against Ben Shapiro for stating an opinion that is shared by the overwhelming majority of Americans.

  7. This article is not getting a lot of respect on Twitter. I can only assume that everyone mocking the premise are just Nazis or something. Sorry that your co-workers make your job harder, Ed.

  8. Betcha Antifa & BLM mouthpieces are similarly exempted.

    1. and all of Hollywood who has been glamorizing violence for decades.

  9. Ed (rightly) gets right back down to the basics. No qualifiers. Government is force but is totes a-otay…for the children….and greater good, m’kay?

    I’m pretty sure progressives and leftists will be left alone to their demented devices acting out their violent fantasies on Twitter.

    Or….raises eyebrow:

    “Elizabeth Nolan Brown?Verified account
    @ENBrown
    Follow Follow @ENBrown
    More
    Elizabeth Nolan Brown Retweeted Ben Shapiro
    People protesting Shapiro had the wrong idea. This dude needs his smug mug punched, repeatedly”

    It was just a joke….or rhetorical….or something….to be sure.

    Poor Shapiro. Presents an argument backed by science and still they call to punch his face.

    1. This must be one of those “Libertarian Moments” Gillespie keeps going on about.

      1. Nope. Repeatedly.

      2. He implied that a transwoman is a man.

        That’s two Reason writers that have suggested violence is acceptable against ‘wrong think’. Can we get a hat trick?

        1. I’d be interested to hear what she thinks about shooting someone who tries to harm you for your political opinion.

        2. ENB and who else?

          It has to be Shikha. She’s come pretty close in some of her unhinged columns about illegal immigration; I could see her going over the edge if the wall gets built.

          I just hope it isn’t Robby: I mean, anyone with his boyish good looks and dreamy hair is incapable of violence.

          1. Shikha implied it was ok to punch a nazi.

          2. Besides Shika, Robbie is very praising of the “bash the fascist” movment

            1. I don’t recall that. Can you link it?

              1. It was back in February.

                “Honest condemnation of #Berkley violence must also condemn those who invited him.What’s point except baiting n inciting in Trump’s America?”

                and the followup to that…

                “When facts are always “alternative,” brute force is all that’s left in settling with intellectual opponents!”

                1. That’s shikha, not Soave, to be clear

          3. To be sure, violence generally speaking is bad, but some people need a good ass-kicking.

            1. * looks at TLAH, nods approvingly, golfclaps *

    2. ENB is trash, and watching the cadre of fanbois fawn over her despite her stupid, violent opinions has been on of the reasons I spend almost no time here any longer.

      1. And we’re so much the poorer for it, whoever you are.

        1. Like clockwork.

      2. I am unaware of her violent opinions because I don’t twit.

    3. Nobody else ever says anything about so-and-so having a “punchable face”.

      1. You’re right, Zeb. This is common nomenclature. And ordinarily, the speaker should receive the benefit of the doubt. But, considering that the speaker in this case tried to ruin a college kid’s career over a joke, shouldn’t the same standards employed by the speaker be used against said speaker?

        1. Sometimes I wonder why it’s so hard for people to simply say something like “she shouldn’t have said that” instead of doing what Zeb did.

        2. See, Zeb? It’s way different when someone you don’t like does it.

          1. Sometimes I wonder why it’s so hard for people to simply say something like “she shouldn’t have said that” instead of doing what Sparky did.

          2. That’s some poor reading comprehension, even for you

            1. Shush, he’s white knighting.

              1. Indeed, calling retards retarded is now considered white knighting.

                1. Aw, I struck yet another nerve!

                2. The ‘logic’ here, if I understand it:

                  “That college kid got what was coming to him for Tweeting that offensive meme”

                  and

                  “ENB should not receive blowback for writing stupid remarks”

                  How does any of that make sense?

          3. Sparky is no longer a Swifty, I guess he’s a Lizty.

            1. I will always and forever be a Swifty.

              1. Love (I put the emoji sign but this site sucks the balls)

      2. Totally the same.

      3. I say, and maintain, that David Frum has a very punchable face.

        What I don’t say is something like “People protesting David Frum had the wrong idea. This dude needs his smug mug punched, repeatedly”

        That second one is a lot closer to advocating violence.

        1. Where’s Preet when you need him? I’m sure he could answer that question no problem.

        2. And then ENB went and said that she didn’t mean “don’t protest him, punch him” when she said “don’t protest him, punch him” but obviously meant “protest him” and then she, after calling for someone to repeatedly get punched in the face, said that people saying she was an asshole for doing so were what’s wrong with twitter.

    4. He’s a reporter and opinion writer, she’s a reporter and opinion writer. How can she not see that if it’s OK to call for punching him it’s OK to call for punching her?

    5. Looks like others called her on it:

      Elizabeth Nolan Brown?Verified account
      @ENBrown
      5h5 hours ago
      More
      Don’t actually punch “nazis.” Don’t actually punch Ben Shapiro. Don’t actually punch anyone except in defense

      Also don’t give in to the context collapse, literalism, & performative victimhood that make this site so toxic

  10. Yeah, the president has threatened to nuke a whole country, and Lavar Ball, and HIS account is still open.

    1. Well to be fair, if you’re going to nuke a country and catch all the criticism, you may as well just nuke the whole thing.

  11. “You also may not affiliate with organizations that?whether by their own statements or activity both on and off the platform?use or promote violence against civilians to further their causes.”

    Since words these days are violence, such organizations would arguably include Twitter itself.

  12. Apparently, [m]uch of the general population defers to the police even in a case like this.

    It wasn’t the public that let the cop off, it was the jurors in the case. The jurors whose identity is known by the cops, by the way. The jurors whom the cops know where they live. Capisce?

    1. And how hard did the DA really try on this one? I honestly don’t know.

  13. They may try make violence a last resort, but it’s always lurking behind the law.

    Which is why governments must be limited to only those function that involve shooting and imprisoning people.

  14. Great timing, an article on this on a day when a Reason staffer (yet again) advocates violence against people who have differing political views.

    1. If you blame the system, you don’t have to blame yourself! It’s Reason’s version of Weinstein’s “older generation” argument…

      1. ENB: “I’m sorry Ben, its just this war and that lying sonofabitch Trump!”

  15. From what I’ve seen of Twitter, a majority of politicians and media people would be in violation of these terms. It’s the place where banal thinking gets digitally immortalized. Of course people are going to wish death and disease upon people they dislike. I don’t particularly care whether people do that, but I’d like to see Twitter at least attempt to be even-handed and strike down lefties who are guilty.

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