I never thought I’d say this, but I have something in common with batshit crazy conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. Both of us are banned from Twitter. It seems I am guilty of violating Twitter’s policy of “abusive behavior” because I tweeted something unsavory to the social media platform’s founder, Jack Dorsey.
I may have spent almost two years absent from blogging, but I have been very active on Twitter. After Donald Trump was elected president (I hate saying/writing that), Twitter became a screaming-into-the void outlet for me, because, when has it ever been possible to directly communicate with a United States president? I mean, besides writing a letter addressed to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? I became so active on Twitter, I believe the number of times I told Donald Trump to go fuck himself is probably upwards of several hundred. I’ve said other things as well, but I believe my use of the word “fuck” would be considered prolific.
Truth be told, my account was limited by Twitter a couple of times before my permanent suspension was handed out. I can’t remember what the first time was for (thanks, chemo brain), and it was for only 12 hours. The second time, I had the audacity to call odious Fox News pundit, Tomi Lahren, a “bimbo”, and for that I could not tweet for seven days.
Earlier this month, after reading a Washington Post article about Jack Dorsey’s visit to Myanmar to meditate, I channeled my vitriol for his cluelessness into a tweet to that castigated him for visiting a country guilty of ethnic cleansing.
As a Jew whose father survived the Holocaust, you can bet that if there is genocide occurring in the world, I will be aware of it, as will other people who pay attention to such things. Jack Dorsey, however, like so many other Silicon Valley tech billionaires, lives in a tone-deaf bubble of privilege that precludes him from having to worry about things like the suffering of others. So, he takes a 12-day trip to a highly conflicted part of the world, raves about the food and his personal spiritual enlightenment, and totally ignores the fact that thousands of people are dead or displaced because of their race and religious beliefs. I bet before people reacted to his navel-gazing tweets about his trip, he didn’t have the foggiest idea who Rohingya Muslims were, and how much they are suffering at the hands of Myanmar’s Buddhist-controlled government.
With the social ineptitude so common in the tech sector, Dorsey sort of apologized for his navel gazing. Somewhere in the middle of his rhapsodic recounting of self-discovery, getting called out for it, and his quasi-apology, my Twitter account was permanently suspended.
Now let me tell you why my suspension blows my mind: There are several medium-to-high profile tweets quoted in the article I linked above, chastising Dorsey for his actions. NONE of those accounts were suspended. My account, I believe, bit the dust because it was of no consequence to anyone. Per my recollection, I believe I had 73 followers at the time of my suspension, and I had tweeted about 1,200 times since I joined the platform in 2009. The majority of those tweets were made over the past two years. Moreover, I contacted the people who were quoted in the article, along with a few other shit-disturbing people I follow, to let them know what happened. I have not received a response from any of them.
Here is why what happened is so horribly wrong: Twitter, and other popular social media platforms, hide behind their established Terms Of Service (TOS), which allows them to treat people as they see fit, rather than obeying the laws protecting freedom of speech. If you read those lengthy documents, you will see that you are expected to play by their rules. If you don’t, they can shut you down with little to no consequences. A TOS gives any social media platform the right to refuse service to anyone, outside of your First Amendment rights as an American citizen.
Because I am a piss-ant tweeter of little consequence, my account was suspended. The people who did not get suspended create revenue and exposure for Twitter, because millions of people access the platform daily to check out what these people are saying. These people feel the need to respect the TOS, so they don’t wind up in the same situation as me and Alex Jones. They might go to jail to protect a high-profile government source who funnels information to them about what’s really happening in the White House, but some anonymous schmuck like me means nothing to them.
I believe that if Donald Trump never became president, Twitter would have likely folded. It has been on a roller-coaster ride since going public, and if not for the moron in the Oval Office, and his constant, stream-of-consciousness tweets, it would have bitten the dust. Moreover, it has become a verbose cesspool of misinformation, depending on who you follow, which does not bode well for the future of democracy. Apparently, attempting to clean it up will further imperil Twitter’s future in the world of tech and social media. I say let it die. There has to be a better way to communicate.
Let’s face it; the last decade of my life has been rife with personal and financial struggles, and the last thing I should be bitching and moaning about is getting banned from Twitter. But, you know what? I’m pissed anyway. In a country where the middle class is all but extinct, and the educated have to dumb themselves down to make a living a notch or two above the poverty line, this is some fucked up shit. You can pander to the TOSs of all the social media platforms you subscribe to, and make a shit-ton of money. Or, you can speak your mind and get fucked. It all depends on where you are in the pecking order. Clearly, I am a bottom dweller whose words are inconsequential.
I will keep fighting. Fuck you, Donald Trump, and fuck you, Jack Dorsey. History will ultimately not be kind to either of you. Hopefully, the little people like me will rise up and overcome the oppression of your algorithms, TOSs, and everything else you want to throw at us.
Oh, and I was able to create another account: Please follow me @TweetsNava.