Wed. Jan 26th, 2022

It’s not surprising that Ripa. Marjorie Taylor Green (R-GA) – A Politician Who Builds His Career By Promoting Viral Conspiracies Theories like QAnon – There was Postponed from Twitter on Sunday And from Facebook on Monday For posting inaccurate information about the Covid-19 vaccine.

It is equally surprising that Green and his supporters have responded Twitter and Facebook have been accused of censoring him For his political beliefs instead of repeatedly making false statements Denying the loss of Kovid-19 And Efficacy of the vaccine.

But the suspension of Marjorie Taylor Green from social media before the Capital Riot anniversary on January 6 and the election cycle between 2022 raises a question: How will social media companies cope with the impending onslaught of competitive rhetoric for elected officials and political candidates this year?

“How could I not see or hear anything? [social media companies] She plans to run it, “said Katie Herbath, Facebook’s director of public policy from 2011 to March last year, who now heads a tech policy consultancy firm. “From what I’ve seen, they’re waiting for something to happen at their front door that they have to decide. I’m really worried. “

In 2019 and 2020, the world was embroiled in a heated debate over whether technology companies should intervene when politicians like former President Donald Trump used social media to broadcast. Harmful misinformation Or encourage violence. That controversy culminated in the January 6 riots and the banning from Trump’s subsequent sites. Earlier, Facebook and Twitter allowed Trump and other world leaders to break their rules and flee because their speeches were primarily Considered “newsworthy” But they have backed down from Trump’s sanctions. This was a controversial but justified move in the eyes of Facebook and Twitter in the face of impending violent threats to U.S. democracy.

But over the past few months, there has not been much movement on the use of social media platforms to moderate politicians’ speeches. Facebook Kick the can down the road Whether Trump will be allowed to return to his platform by 2023. Twitter is still in the process of developing a new policy This is how world leaders should be policed, Which says it expects to roll out in the coming months

Now, Green’s situation is a reminder that the debate over whether social media companies are ready for it, and how politicians should be allowed to use social media, is heating up again. And this is happening in a political environment that is superior Polarized And Conspiracy-theory-driven.

Green has long examined the limits of social media engagement terms

Much like his political ally, Trump, Green has built a career around bombing, inflammatory and making false statements on social media.

Prior to his recent suspension, Green had already submitted four “strikes” from Twitter for posting Covid-19 misinformation and a 12-hour suspension in July. His fifth strike, which triggered a permanent moratorium on him, was a post containing a false statement that “extremely high doses of the covid vaccine have been ignored.” Green posted a similar message on Facebook, Which responded on Monday with a 24-hour account suspension.

Although Twitter has permanently banned Green’s personal account, he has access to Twitter through his official congressional Twitter account, which has about 400,000 followers. He is now actively raising funds “Urgent contribution” to his political campaign “Big tech censorship” to fight.

Green, like some other far-right and conservative figures who have been banned from mainstream social media, has returned to the social media app Telegram – which More relaxed content moderation and encrypted chat – To reach his followers. “Twitter is America’s enemy and can’t handle the truth,” Green said in a telegram in response to Twitter’s suspension. “Okay, I’ll show America we don’t need them and it’s time to defeat our enemies.”

Monday, Republican House Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) Made a public statement that did not mention Green By name but his case seems to have been mentioned, request for A groundbreaking Internet law called Section 230 Changes need to be made so that technology companies can be legally responsible for their content control decisions.

Today, under First Amendment Act, Companies such as Facebook and Twitter are considered private actors who have the legal right to ban anyone they wish. Among them are people like Green who have repeatedly violated their terms of service.

Apart from legitimacy, however, there is widespread concern about the extent to which private corporations, such as Facebook and Twitter, should have influence in politics. Facebook and Twitter have shied away from weighing in on political issues, with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg saying the company There should be no “judge of truth” And Twitter founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey is making it Freedom of expression A central principle of the company’s philosophy. But despite the reluctance of these organizations to make decisions in political discourse, the reality is that both organizations continue to address these issues on a daily basis as they discuss politics on their platforms. And it exposes them to criticism and accusations of censorship.

“Private companies have so much power. There are only a few platforms – and Twitter and Facebook are two of them – that control public discourse, “said Gautam Hans, a professor at Vanderbilt Law School who specializes in First Amendment law and technology policy.” I think that makes us all a little uncomfortable.

The rules of social media about political discourse are still vague

In some ways, Green’s case for breaking social media rules was clear because it was about Covid-19, an issue that has been tough on Facebook and Twitter since the epidemic began in early 2020.

But when it comes to other issues Trump’s “Big Lie” False Narrative The social media guidelines on whether the 2020 election was stolen from him, or whether the January 6 capital riots were justified, what is acceptable and what is not are much more vague.

During the 2020 presidential election, for example, Twitter and Facebook have stepped up their efforts to misinform voters. Companies regularly label or remove information that makes false claims about voter fraud or election fraud.

But now, a year later, it is not clear exactly how these values ​​could change, especially for many Republican members of Congress and candidates continue to support “The Big Lie.”

In the immediate aftermath of the Capital riots, social media platforms also took urgent action to try to downplay the glory of the violence. Facebook, for example, has issued an emergency policy to remove any praise for the storm in the Capitol or to call for weapons to be brought anywhere in the United States.

On the one-year anniversary of the event, Facebook did not answer the question of whether those measures are still in effect, while some 34 percent are American Believe that violent action against the government is sometimes justified, according to recent polls.

Monica Bickert, vice president of Facebook content policy, said in a November call that the agency was “taking steps to combat election interference and misinformation and to help people vote,” but gave some details about possible new plans.

“We are pursuing our policies against the removal of content that interferes with voters, and we will continue to revise our strategy to combat content that discusses the legitimacy of the voting process, such as voter fraud claims,” ​​Bickert said in the call. “And it’s all based on our efforts during the 2020 U.S. election, and with next year’s election approaching, we’ll have a lot more to share.”

A Twitter company spokesman sent the following statement to Recode on Tuesday:

In both cases before and after January 6, our approach was to take strong enforcement action against accounts and tweets that could incite violence or lead to offline harm. Employment and focus across government, civil society and the private sector are also important. We acknowledge that Twitter has an important role to play and we are committed to playing our part.

Facebook and Twitter can go a long way in making politicians more articulate about their rhetoric. But even then, the problems surrounding the complex boundaries of political discourse will not be fully resolved.

“You can have all the clear rules and guidelines,” Hans said. “But basically, there are always some people who have the wisdom that comes into it and it’s a bit annoying.”

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