Does Twitter truly allow you to express yourself freely?

Brian Sanchez , Reporter

Social media giant Twitter, has always held a strong platform that allows their users to share and express their ideas without barriers, but does Twitter truly allow you to express yourself freely? Recently, there have been many incidents where people were permanently banned or suspended due to sharing ideas or beliefs that Twitter perceived to violate their policy. But has twitter violated their own standards in regards to allowing people to express their ideas without barriers?

“Twitter’s mission is to give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information, and to express their opinions and beliefs without barriers. Free expression is a human right – we believe that everyone has a voice, and the right to use it.” can be found in Twitter’s policy guidelines as their “Mission statement”yet the company has come to violate its own standards when banning and suspending individuals and their activities.

Recently, Twitter banned Meghan Murphy for critiquing transgender ideology and have since stated that her posts “violated [its] rules against hateful conduct.”Meghan Murphy holds a master degree from Simon Fraser University and regularly engages in debates about sex, gender, and women’s studies. She does not intend to troll people online or hopes to hurt people, but rather is an educated individual who wishes to inform others. Her claims are not merely opinions but are often facts cited from multiple sources. The reason behind Murphy’s ban was due to her posting, “Men aren’t women tho, which caused Twitter to ban her for reasons cited as “hateful conduct. Murphy was furious because a company that was created to express your ideas, inow censoring facts and silencing people who ask questions about certain topics. Another victim of this irrational banning is conservative radio hostJesse Kelly, who was suspended without an explanation. His suspension caused great backlash and led Twitter to reverse the ban. There have been many inconsistent claims made by twitter of hateful conduct, which causes wrongful suspension. In a society based on free speechde-platforming and shutting down speech is a bad precedent for our future. 

Twitter has had multiple instances where it has censored certain posts dating back to Barack Obama’s May 2015 #AskPOTUS– where Obama spent 30 minutes on his Twitter accountto take people’s questions on climate change. During this Q&ATwitter’s CEO Dick Costolo ordered his employees to filter abusive language- giving twitter employees power to manual censorship, which can be inferred as giving special treatment. This magnitude of power was not given to protect users from abusive tweets. In 2016, an article written by Breitbart observed how Twitter protected Obama, but refused to punish accounts who sexually harassed and violently threatened a Breitbart contributor. From 2016 to nowwe have seen a trend of Twitter’s preference and belief’s, and how it is not allowing the average user to express themselves freely. As these incidents ariseit highlights how people were not able to express their opinions and beliefs

Throughout our lives, we will all encounter people who we may disagree with, but that does not mean that we have to censor them. On the contrary, in order to resolve an issue, it must be discussed through an open debate and conversation. However, it seems that Twitter has come to suppress ideas that it does not agree with. Twitter should be a place where open-minded users can share their ideas without being suppressed as it says in their policy. Hopefully, the company will come to a realization that not all opinions are hate speech-and that censorship should only occur when posts cross that line. By placing censorship on certain tweets, Twitter is defeating the purpose to which this social platform was created, and could be the catalyst to a trend where people merely censor things they dislike.