Just this weekend we were talking about the shifting definitions of “hate speech” in the eyes of the social media giants. My conclusion at that time was that the underlying (and admitted) liberal bias among the management and staff at Facebook and Twitter was always going to leave any proposed attempt at balance looking like weak tea at best. While this is only one of an uncounted number of stories playing out each day, another example cropped up this morning. NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch took to Twitter with some screen caps of a recent set of exchanges she had. One was a tweet from a “critic” who expressed some decidedly violent tendencies and the other was the response from Jack Dorsey’s crew after they supposedly “investigated” her complaint.
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) August 27, 2018
First the threat from the offending user (emphasis added): “The only way these people learn is if it affects them directly. So if Dana Loesch has to have her children murdered before she’ll understand, I guess that’s what needs to happen.”
Seems fairly clear cut, eh? Murdering her children is “what needs to happen.” That doesn’t require any sort of stretch of the imagination or interpretation to be understood as a call to violence. Keep in mind that a court recently ruled that a rap song calling for the murder of specific police officers and their families was grounds for criminal action, not just being suspended from a social media platform. And that was a song, generally one of the most protected forms of speech. So how did Twitter respond to Loesch’s complaint? (Emphasis again added)
“Thank you for your recent report. We have reviewed your report carefully and found that there was no violation of the Twitter rules against abusive behavior.”
As we previously discussed, it’s become clear that both Twitter and Facebook use a combination of approaches to deal with complaints about “hate speech.” An algorithm does mass filtering based on keywords and phrases, while human agents investigate specific complaints. This instance was one of the latter, with a human being at Twitter looking at that call to murder Dana Loesch’s children and deciding that it didn’t cross the line into “abusive behavior.” Yes, it’s a boilerplate answer, but it was generated by an actual person at a keyboard somewhere.
Would the same decision be reached if it were a call to murder children of the Obamas or Clintons? Highly unlikely. The user in that hypothetical case would have been out in the cold faster than they could try to log back into their account. While I know I’ve mentioned it before, Kat McKinley had her account suspended for writing a column about government policy regarding transgender troops in the military, and it contained zero threats or derogatory terms.
Jack Dorsey continues to talk a good game, bashfully admitting the inherent leftward views of his entire company while feigning shock and disappointment that anyone would think even for a moment that he would let those biases show up in their content suppression policies. This is one more example which puts the lie to these company pronouncements. Pull the other one, Jack. It’s got bells on it.