Free speech in social media is a hot topic, particularly when it comes to hate groups and extremists who use various social media platforms to spread their hateful message to would be followers. Twitter and other social media platforms insist that they are hard at work as they seek to eliminate the promotion of groups like ISIS, but what steps are they really taking?
Let’s review the facts.
On January 8th the White House announced a new task force aimed at fighting the spread of terrorism online that met with representatives from Twitter and other social media outlets to discuss the problem.
On February 5th twitter posted an article titled “Combating Violent Extremism” on their blog which highlighted this quote,
“We condemn the use of Twitter to promote terrorism and the Twitter Rules make it clear that this type of behavior, or any violent threat, is not permitted on our service.”
Twitter also claimed that they had suspended 125,000 accounts for threatening or promoting terrorist acts, primarily related to ISIS.
That sounds pretty good, right? It’s a step in the right direction anyhow. Before we pat Twitter execs on the back, let’s examine the application of their policy.
I don’t know about you but everytime I tweet I receive a prompt from twitter asking me if I would like to promote my tweet to grow my audience. It looks like this.
Click on that “Get Started” and here you go…
Spend money, get more engagements and thus potentially grow your followers and online popularity.
I’ve received this suggestion to promote my tweets thousands of times. In fact before this week I thought everyone always received this promotion option. Imagine my surprise when I tweeted #Jesus and saw this…
What!? Wait! Why? I don’t understand. This must be a mistake. Ok, well let’s check the “Go to Twitter Ads Policy” to try and make some sense of this.
The Twitter Ads Policy lists the following as products or services that can not be promoted.
Adult or sexual products and services
Drugs and drug paraphernalia
Endangered species products
Hate content, sensitive topics, and violence
Illegal products and services
Spyware and illegal hacking
Tobacco and tobacco accessories
Unauthorized ticket sales
Weapons and weapon accessories
Twitter prohibits advertisements targeted to, and advertiser accounts from countries subject to U.S. trade sanctions and other U.S. export control laws. Individuals and entities subject to U.S. trade sanctions are also prohibited from signing up for a Twitter Ads account.
I am dumbfounded as to what on that list #Jesus falls under. The only category one could even wrongfully twist and fit #Jesus into would be sensitive topics, maybe?
Naturally my curiosity got me thinking if #Jesus is banned from promotion what other topics are or are not banned on Twitter? Hold on to your media device, this will blow your mind.
Wow! #Jesus is banned from promotion yet #Buddha #Mohammed #Allah #Jihad #ISIS and even #killjews are promotion worthy? Really? Tell me again how Twitter is working diligently to fight online extremism.
You might wonder what other topics are banned on Twitter.
There you have it. Jesus, Meth, Pornography and Pedophilla banned yet #ISIS remains promotion worthy? Thanks Twitter.
So what is happening here? Does Twitter really believe that extremists are hashtagging Jesus, yet ISIS is only hashtagged by reasonable, peace loving citizens? Is there an overwhelming bias against Christianity? Are Christians now considered extremists by the executives of Twitter? One thing is certain: Twitter executives who say they are safeguarding against the promotion of radical Islam and ISIS have dropped the ball completely. They can make a blog posts claiming that they’re taking accounts related to ISIS down but the facts show that they have yet to put any limits on the promotion of ISIS.
I personally do not think the two are as connected as one might think. The fact that #Jesus is banned from promotion on Twitter is more than likely a separate issue then why #ISIS is not. I believe ISIS is not banned from promotion because of Twitter’s ineptitude and unwillingness to take even the most elementary steps in limiting the spread of what we all know is a radical violent Islamic group because of the fear of being labelled as intolerant, bigoted or Islamophobic. And for that shame on them. Twitter execs need to get their act together and ban #ISIS and similar hashtags from promotion.
It’s difficult to imagine any rational reason why #Jesus has been banned other than possible frequent complaints from non-christians, a simple glitch in the twitter settings, an “atheist” Twitter tech’s spiteful keystroke, misinformation concerning the teachings of Jesus, or a myriad of other reasons. Whatever the reason is, it’s inexcusable and unthinkable, and as Christians we should Tweet this article at Twitter Support (@Support) to make them aware of this and pray they do the right thing.
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