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Sunday, January 3, 2016

Twitter to police 'hate' speech

Micro-blogging site expands censorship scope; dissenters concerned free-speech is at risk on the social network

Twitter updated its policies last week, in a purported effort to deal with the rise of ISIS-related accounts which have recently come under intense scrutiny. Many on Twitter, however, have expressed grave concerns about the broad language of the clarifications, noting that it opens the door to corporate censorship in the name of political correctness.

Here is a general breakdown (emphases mine), directly from Twitter's post on the subject...

* Hate speech or advocacy against an individual, organization or protected group based on race, ethnicity, national origin, color, religion, disability, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status or other protected status. Violence or threats of violence against people or animals
* Organizations or individuals associated with promoting hate, criminal, or terrorist-related content
* Inflammatory content which is likely to evoke a strong negative reaction or cause harm.

Free-speech advocates have noted that, in addition to the lack of specifics, the opening includes the phrase "is not limited to" which even further expands their power. They contend that this gives Twitter free reign to censor whatever they desire, without any legal recourse provided to the user.

Most in the mainstream media have been supportive of these changes, parroting the notion that censoring speech which offends is laudable, with nary of complaint about potential free-speech abridgments. They are also quick to point out that Twitter is a private company, and as such has the right to set its own standards.

If this were a truly capitalistic society that would be true, for the first amendment applies to government and not private companies. However, critics note that our economic landscape is more neo-fascist in nature (with rampant crony-capitalism), thus the line between corporate interests and government control is so thin it is nearly non-existent. Besides that, censorship is still censorship, whether it is legally sanctioned or no.

So who will end up in the cross-hairs? Advocates of Amendments Two and Ten? Those speaking out about the cultural cleansing occurring in many western nations? Presidential candidates whom take bold stances? Anonymous-affiliated groups? Preppers?

It will interesting to see how Twitter applies this new policy, and whom they will target. Stay tuned here, and to The Apocalyst feeds on Twitter and Facebook, for updates.

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