I’ve already covered the ban placed on Milo Yiannopoulos on Twitter in a previous post, but I think I should talk about the decline of Twitter, and the ramifications that I think will come with Twitter’s half-brained decision. Think of this as “part two” of the discussion if you will.
Firstly, like I’d like to clarify my position on Milo and the abuse towards Leslie Jones in case anyone’s in doubt. From what I could gather, Milo didn’t start the riot. In fact, his tweet aimed at Leslie was posted after Leslie became the target of trolls, not before. Contrary to what the media will tell you, Milo didn’t incite anything. All he did was provoke Leslie, like the provocateur we all know him to be. The only reason Milo got blamed for this is because (a) he wrote a scathing review of her movie, (b) he’s an easy target for people like Leslie, and (c) Twitter has already suspended him a few times, and has been aching for the chance to get rid of Milo’s account for good.
Of course, two key things bothered me. First, after Milo got banned, the mainstream media celebrated, like some savage barbarian tribe revelling in the blood of a slaughtered enemy. Without even hesitating, they took Leslie’s side because it’s painfully obvious that they despise Milo. The Guardian despises him, The Verge despises him, Esquire and Polygon despise him, and I’m very sure none of them did any of the research. Secondly, Twitter executives, when asked by Breitbart journalists, refused to say whether or not they believe in the traditional value of free speech. I’m not entirely surprised, but it should be very alarming because it essentially confirms that they have contempt for the idea that their critics should be allowed their right to free speech.
To be honest, I think they didn’t know what to say. If they were honest and they said they didn’t believe in free speech, all but the worst kinds of SJW’s and other assorted extremists would leave Twitter. If they said they believed in free speech, they would still be utter hypocrites. They’re willing to allow the most rabid Black Lives Matter supporters to call for the murder of police officers and go literally unpunished, but Milo Yiannopoulos gets struck down over a spat with a celebrity? What about the number of ISIS supporters who took to Twitter to celebrate the Nice attacks? Is Jack Dorsey going to be on the case with them? I highly doubt it. What about the hashtag that translated into “we demand the killing of atheists” that was trending on Arabic Twitter? What about the number of social justice warriors who bully people who disagree with them? It’s clear that Twitter is favour of allowing anyone other than conservatives and libertarians to speak freely on their platform.
For me, this is a sign of what some suspect has been happening for quite a while – Twitter is dying. Over the past year, Twitter’s stock market value has been going into sharp decline. Exactly a year ago, Twitter shares would have worth around $36 a share, and by now the shares only worth about half as much. In February, after Twitter saw a sharp decrease in users, the company’s share prices plummeted. Granted, they have been recovering, but I doubt that it will get much higher than $20 per share. This is just the economic side of things, but it essentially indicates the decreasing value of Twitter as a brand.
More importantly, the amount of new users coming to Twitter is stagnating. Currently the site has roughly 310 million active users, but it is apparently having trouble attracting new users, since the arrival of new users has slowed down. Twitter’s management isn’t quite the same as it used to be. In the months after Jack Dorsey became CEO last year, a number of Twitter’s staff and top executives left the company, and in February, Twitter announced a new “Trust and Safety Council”, with the neofeminist propaganda network Feminist Frequency as one of its inaugural members. Coupled with shadowbanning and Dorsey’s obvious progressive biases, it’s no wonder why a lot of people have left Twitter, and are worried about whether or not they’ll get banned too.
Banning Milo perhaps wasn’t an immediate problem, I think Twitter may as well have used it to distract Twitter users from the sites many problems. I like many other people are worried about Twitter going in an increasingly authoritarian direction. All banning Milo did was force that authoritarian streak into the spotlight, sparking a new revolt from Twitter users who are interested in free speech. By banning Milo and thereby pandering to the easily offended, Twitter may very well have signed its death warrant.
When I say this, I mean that Twitter may have exposed its true disdain for free speech, and thus a disdain for its users. If Twitter is that willing to censor those critical of Jack Dorsey’s progressive ideology, then we may yet see more users exiting Twitter in fear that their powers of censorship may be used on them. At any rate, I will continue keeping abreast of Twitter’s situation, because it seems like every time people say that Twitter is dying, everything turns to be fine in the end, but I have no doubt that Twitter will only get worse from this point on. How long will it be before ordinary people find themselves censored when Twitter’s authoritarian attitude reaches its logical conclusion? Only time will tell.