In 2012, the general manager of Twitter in the UK spoke at the Guardian Changing Media Summit: “Generally, we remain neutral as to the content because our general council and CEO like to say that we are the free speech wing of the free speech party.”
Boy, have things changed since then.
Earlier this month, Twitter suspended a number of accounts associated with the alt-right movement. Among those suspended was Richard Spencer, the National Policy Institute, Radix Journal, Paul Town, Pax Dickinson, Ricky Vaughn and John Rivers. Some might argue that Twitter’s suspension of these accounts is content discrimination. In other words, Twitter is censoring users simply because of their views. That doesn't sound like “remaining neutral” or promoting free speech.
Unfortunately, censorship seems to be Twitter’s new favorite weapon - and it’s not afraid to take aim at Trump.
Slate recently asked Twitter whether it would consider banning key government officials or even the president. A company spokesperson responded via email: “The Twitter Rules prohibit violent threats, harassment, hateful conduct, and multiple account abuse, and we will take action on accounts violating those policies.”
Slate pushed a bit more, asking if Trump could be suspended if he violated these policies, hypothetically speaking.
“The Twitter Rules apply to all accounts, including verified accounts,” the spokesperson responded.