Marjorie Taylor Greene Twitter ban and major technology review

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green (R-GA)-a politician who built his career by propagating a viral conspiracy, it’s not surprising Theories like QAnon – used to be Suspend Twitter on Sunday Monday from Facebook Post misinformation about the Covid-19 vaccine.

It’s also not surprising that Green and her supporters reacted Accused Twitter and Facebook of censoring her Because of her political beliefs, not because of her repeated false statements Deny the harm of Covid-19 and The effectiveness of the vaccine.

But Marjorie Taylor Greene’s suspension from social media on January 6th, the anniversary of the Capitol riots and the 2022 midterm election cycle, raised another question: how will social media companies respond to the coming Controversial speeches delivered by elected officials and political candidates running for office this year?

“I didn’t see or hear anything about how [social media companies] Katie Harbath, who served as Facebook’s director of public policy from 2011 to March last year, said that he now leads a technology policy consulting firm. “As far as I can see, they will wait until something they have to decide at the front door. I’m just really worried.”

In 2019 and 2020, when politicians such as current President Donald Trump used social media to broadcast, the world was caught up in a heated debate about whether technology companies should intervene Harmful error message Or encourage violence. This debate reached its peak around the January 6 riots and Trump’s subsequent ban on these sites.Before that, Facebook and Twitter had let Trump and other world leaders get away with it because their speeches were mainly about Considered “newsworthy” -But with Trump’s ban, they withdrew from that position. Given the imminent threat of violence to American democracy, in the eyes of Facebook and Twitter, this is a controversial but reasonable move.

But in the past few months, the topic of how social media platforms moderate politicians’ speech hasn’t changed much. Facebook Kick the jar to the side of the road Will Trump be allowed to return to his platform until 2023? Twitter is still making new policies How it should supervise world leaders, It said it is expected to be launched in the next few months.

Now, Green’s situation is a reminder that whether social media companies are ready or not, the debate on how to allow politicians to use social media is rekindling.It happens in a highly politicized climate polarization and Conspiracy Theory Driven.

Green has long been testing the limitations of social media engagement terms

Like her political ally Trump, Green’s career is built around exaggeration, inflammatory and false statements on social media.

Before being recently suspended, Green had accumulated four “strikes” on Twitter for posting Covid-19 misinformation, and one more Trading suspension for 12 hours in July. Her fifth strike triggered her permanent suspension, which included false statements that “ignoring a large number of Covid vaccine deaths”. Green posted a similar message on Facebook, Responded with a 24-hour account suspension on Monday.

Although Twitter permanently bans Green’s personal account, she can still access Twitter through her official Congress Twitter account, which has nearly 400,000 followers.She is now actively fundraising An “emergency donation” to her political campaign Fight against the “large-scale scientific and technological review system.”

Green, like some other far-right and conservative figures banned by mainstream social media, has turned to the social media app Telegram-it has More relaxed content review and encrypted chat -Reach out to her followers. “Twitter is the enemy of the United States and cannot handle the truth,” Green said in response to Twitter’s suspension in a post on Telegram. “It doesn’t matter. I will tell the United States that we don’t need them. Now is the time to defeat our enemy.”

On Monday, Republican House Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) Issued a public statement that did not mention Green By name, but seems to refer to her case, urged The landmark Internet law, called Article 230 Make changes so that technology companies can take legal responsibility for their content review decisions.

Today, next First amendment, Companies like Facebook and Twitter are considered private actors, and they have full legal rights to ban anyone they want. This includes people like Green who have repeatedly violated his stipulated terms of service.

But regardless of legitimacy, people are generally worried about how much private companies such as Facebook and Twitter should have political influence. Facebook and Twitter have shirk their responsibilities for weighing political issues. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company Should not be the “arbitrator of truth” And Twitter founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey (Jack Dorsey) freedom of speech The core principle of the company philosophy. But although these companies are reluctant to make judgments on political speech, the reality is that because people discuss politics on their platforms, the two companies have to continue to deal with these issues every day. This makes them vulnerable to criticism and criticism from the censorship system.

“Private companies have so much power. Only a few platforms — Twitter and Facebook are two of them — control so much public discourse,” Vanderbilt Law School specializes in the law and technology policy of the First Amendment. Professor Gautam Hans said. “I think it makes us all a little uncomfortable.”

Social media rules on political speech remain obscure

In some respects, Green’s case of violation of social media rules is clear because it is related to Covid-19, and since the pandemic began in early 2020, Facebook and Twitter have been stricter on the issue of mitigation.

But when it comes to other topics Trump’s “big lie” false narrative Regarding whether the 2020 election was stolen, or whether the congressional riots on January 6 were justified, social media guidelines on acceptable and unacceptable are more ambiguous.

For example, before and after the 2020 presidential election, Twitter and Facebook have increased their supervision of voter misinformation. These companies regularly flag or delete false information about voter fraud or election manipulation.

But now, one year later, it is not clear how these standards will change, especially Republican congressmen and candidates continue to support the “big lie.”

In the period after the Capitol riots, social media platforms also took emergency measures to try to minimize the glorification of violence that occurred. For example, Facebook issued an emergency policy to remove any praise for rushing into the Capitol, or calls to bring weapons anywhere in the United States.

Facebook did not answer the question about whether these measures still exist on the first anniversary of the event. At that time, some 34% of Americans According to recent public opinion surveys, it is believed that violent actions against the government are sometimes justified.

Facebook’s vice president of content policy, Monika Bickert, said in a November conference call that the company “is taking steps to combat election interference and misinformation and is also working to help people vote”, but she almost No details about any potential new plans were provided.

Bickert said on the conference call: “We are implementing our policy and opposing the removal of voter intervention content. We will continue to refine our strategy to combat content that discusses the legality of voting methods, such as allegations of voter fraud.” And all of this is based on our efforts during the 2020 U.S. election. As next year’s election approaches, we will have more to share.”

A company spokesperson for Twitter sent the following statement to Recode on Tuesday:

Our approach before and after January 6 was to take strong enforcement actions against accounts and tweets that incited violence or could cause offline harm. The participation and attention of the government, civil society and the private sector are also important. We recognize that Twitter can play an important role, and we are committed to doing our part.

Facebook and Twitter still have a long way to go to make their policies on politicians’ speech more clear. But even so, the problems surrounding the complex boundaries of political speech will not be completely resolved.

“You can have all clear rules and guidelines,” Hans said. “But fundamentally, there is always some artificial judgment, which is a bit disturbing.”

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