Political Editors / November 1, 2019

Twitter Caves to Leftist Censorship Demands

Jack Dorsey announces that Twitter will not allow political ads on the site.

Last week, we noted that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was grilled by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Socialist-NY) over his decision to not have his company “fact-check” political ads. AOC’s chastisement of Zuckerberg served once again to demonstrate her own rejection of our nation’s First Amendment principles. And while Zuckerberg still warrants plenty of criticism over his calls for greater government regulation of social media, he did make the right decision here.

Meanwhile, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey took a different tack, announcing this week that “all political advertising on Twitter” would be stopped. He offered a self-serving leftist virtue signal clearly aimed at Zuckerberg: “We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought.” Dorsey added, “This isn’t about free expression. This is about paying for reach.”

Dorsey hopes to avoid the wrath of intolerant leftists by placating their censorship demands. However, in spite of Dorsey’s dig at Zuckerberg, The Hill notes, “Political advertising is only a small percentage of both companies’ total revenue.” The truth is, all Dorsey has done is demonstrate cowardice in the face of those seeking to restrict political speech.

Zuckerberg, meanwhile, doubled down: “Although I’ve considered whether we should not carry [political] ads in the past, and I’ll continue to do so, on balance so far I’ve thought we should continue,” he told shareholders on Wednesday. “Ads can be an important part of voice — especially for candidates and advocacy groups the media might not otherwise cover so they can get their message into debates.” He then added, “Would we really block ads for important political issues like climate change or women’s empowerment? Instead, I believe the better approach is to work to increase transparency. Ads on Facebook are already more transparent than anywhere else.”

Parting question: Will Dorsey and Twitter censor other types of ads, or just those specifically exercising the free political speech our Founders had in mind when crafting the First Amendment?

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