Despite its CEO telling Congress the contrary a few months ago, Twitter has amped up its pattern of politically one-sided application of its terms of service.
Last week, the social media giant permanently banned Meghan Murphy, a writer based in British Columbia, for critiquing transgender ideology online. The platform repeatedly suspended her account for this then ultimately banned her last week, saying such behavior “violated [its] rules against hateful conduct.” Here’s a sampling of tweets Twitter required Murphy to delete as “objectionable” before allowing her access back to her account:
At Feminist Current, Murphy writes about her ban:
What is insane to me, though, is that while Twitter knowingly permits graphic pornography and death threats on the platform (I have reported countless violent threats, the vast majority of which have gone unaddressed), they won’t allow me to state very basic facts, such as ‘men aren’t women.’ This is hardly an abhorrent thing to say, nor should it be considered ‘hateful’ to ask questions about the notion that people can change sex, or ask for explanations about transgender ideology. These are now, like it or not, public debates — debates that are impacting people’s lives, as legislation and policy are being imposed based on gender identity ideology…
On Twitter, Murphy regularly engaged in debates about sex, gender, and women’s studies. In fact, she holds a master’s degree in the field from Simon Fraser University. In other words: She isn’t stupid or a troll. She’s an educated, opinionated woman, seeking to use her Twitter platform to develop her understanding of the topics and to engage others in debate.
“In August, I was locked out of my Twitter account for the first time,” Murphy writes, explaining the timeline. “I was told that I had ‘violated [Twitter’s] rules against hateful conduct’ and that I had to delete four tweets in order to gain access to my account again. In this case, the tweets in question named Lisa Kreut, a trans-identified male.”
Her tweets called out Kreut for trying to boycott and defund Vancouver Rape Relief. Twitter didn’t care what the feud was about or that it was legitimate and fact-based. They only cared about the fact that Kreut was transgender and decided to define disputes about transgenderism as “hate speech.”
Twitter also recently banned “deadnaming”—the practice of referring to a trans person by his or her legal name, or birth name. This also likely played a role in Murphy’s suspensions and ultimate ban.
On its face, “deadnaming” is merely mentioning the christened name of a person as given by their parents if that person has subsequently changed their name as part of declaring a different gender identity.
— Corinna “Stop Breaking the Web” Cohn (@corinna_cohn) November 24, 2018
Murphy continues in the article:
I deleted the tweets in question, then publicly complained on Twitter, saying, ‘Hi @Twitter, I’m a journalist. Am I no longer permitted to report facts on your platform?’ I was promptly locked out of my account again, told I had to delete the tweet in question, and suspended for 12 hours. I appealed the suspension, as it seemed clear to me that my tweets were not ‘hateful,’ but simply stated the truth, but received no response from Twitter.
Murphy said her account was locked again on November 15. She was told she must delete tweets that read: “Women aren’t men,” and “How are transwomen not men? What is the difference between a man and a transwoman?” Murphy deleted the tweets to regain access to her account. However, at this point, she was angry and tweeted:
“This is f—— bull—, @twitter. I’m not allowed to say that men aren’t women or ask questions about the notion of transgenderism at all anymore? That a multi-billion dollar company is censoring basic facts and silencing people who ask questions about this dogma is insane.”
This tweet went viral, garnering at least 20,000 likes. ThenTwitter locked her account again and demanded she conform—I mean, delete it. Following these suspensions, Murphy was then permanently banned. Her fans were disappointed, to say the least.
I have now learned that @MeghanEMurphy has had her account suspended again in the last few hours. @Twitter, this is absolutely insane: she is one of Canada's best known feminists, & one of the few voices fighting back against the insanity that's gripped Vancouver gender politics
— Jonathan Kay (@jonkay) November 24, 2018
It appears Murphy was banned solely due to repeatedly pointing out that men cannot be transformed into women simply because they want to call themselves women. This is a fact at best, and Murphy’s opinion at worst. Murphy refused to bend to the progressive view that the transgender issue is now nearly as sacrosanct as abortion. She was not banned for hateful conduct or speech but for failing to fall in line with the progressive agenda Twitter embraces.
Of course, Twitter is a private company and can do whatever it likes. But they have billed themselves as an open platform, one that welcomes debate, ideas, and sharing. In an April article about how Twitter turned toxic, Fast Company reported that Alex Macgillivray, Twitter’s first general counsel, used to say, “Let the tweets flow.” Yet, Murphy writes, the platform has so persistently done the opposite in its treatment of her and other trans-critical feminists that she has started to think about the political right’s positions and be willing to dialogue with them:
I no longer believe leftist positions are necessarily most right or most ethical. I no longer believe everyone on the right is wrong about everything. I do not believe all those on the right necessarily have ill intentions, and suspect that many, like those on the left, believe they are working towards a better world.
After people started to get crude, abusive, and angry on the platform, in December 2015 Twitter introduced its policy on “Hateful Conduct and Abuse.” It was vague and overbroad. It has also been used as a political cudgel while allowing people to post actually hateful, threatening, and outright evil content. Even Amnesty International voiced real disgust with Twitter’s lack of policing actually awful tweets: “Twitter’s inconsistency and inaction on its own rules not only creates a level of mistrust and lack of confidence in the company’s reporting process, it also sends the message that Twitter does not take violence and abuse against women seriously – a failure which is likely to deter women from reporting in the future.”
Yet instead of clamping down on things like pornography, unwanted sexual advances, threats, and crude imagery, Twitter started suppressing accounts of people who didn’t embrace its preferred version of progressive ideology. In August, Dorsey admitted to CNN that social media in general has a “left-leaning” bias. A month later he told Congress that “political ideology” didn’t drive the company’s policies. Yet in an interview just days later, Dorsey said he was aware that in his company conservative employees “don’t feel safe to express their opinion.”
While Murphy is outspoken, her tweets were far from hateful. It’s not just disappointing to see Twitter ban the social media account of a woman who was simply calling a spade a spade, but a clear example of Twitter saying one thing and effectively doing another. Instead of the “Thought Police” and “Big Brother,” now we have Jack Dorsey and Twitter.