Josh Hawley Thinks We Should Break Up Twitter Because He Doesn't Like The Company's Editorial Choices

from the you-fascist-karen dept

As I just made clear, I’m no fan of Twitter’s new “private media” policy, which I think comes from a well-meaning place, but will lead to widespread abuse by malicious actors seeking to hide evidence of bad behavior (indeed, there’s evidence this is already happening). But that’s no excuse for Senator Josh Hawley (supporter of the January 6th insurrection, and who seems to think his job as Senator from the confused state of Missouri is to product manage internet services). Hawley reacted to this new policy by saying that it’s a reason to break up Twitter. He says “we oughta break them up” at the end of a very bizarre interview with Fox News host Pete Hegseth.

We’ll get to the other nonsense from Hegseth and Hawley in a moment, but let’s start by focusing on the “we oughta break them up” line. First off, he’s clearly saying that the company needs to be broken up in response to the company’s editorial decisions. That’s… just a blatant violation of the 1st Amendment. Hell, just imagine how he (or Hegseth!) would respond to a Democratic Senator saying Fox should be “broken up” because of the company’s editorial bias. I imagine both Hawley and Hegseth would go nuts about such unconstitutional overreach. But here, Hawley suggests breaking up Twitter in response to its editorial choices, and Hegseth seems happy to support that position.

That’s because neither of them have any principles. They’re fine with ignoring the Constitution if it allows them to attack their perceived ideological enemies.

Second, under what possible theory would you “break Twitter up” here. Twitter is relatively small as a social media player. Reports from about a month ago show Twitter as the 15th largest social media service globally. Even in just the US, it appears that Twitter comes in at least 7th place and possibly lower, depending on WhatsApp and TikTok’s growth.

So the company, in no way, qualifies for any sort of antitrust treatment no matter how you look at it. The only possible reason to suggest that we should “break up” Twitter is because you disagree with their policies, which is a blatantly authoritarian position. Which, well, fits when we’re talking about Josh Hawley.

As for Hegseth, his little bit of pandering is ridiculous as well. After mispronouncing both the first and last name of Twitter’s new CEO, Parag Agrawal, he blames Agrawal for the new policy (that surely was planned much earlier). He then goes on a rant about how this policy is “meant to protect” antifa and Black Lives Matter protestors, but insists that it won’t be used to protect conservatives.

Of course, as we showed in our original post, nearly all of the examples of enforcement so far have gone the other way. The policy has been used to takedown images and videos of Trumpists and white nationalists who didn’t like being called out by others. But, never expect a Fox News host to let facts get in the way of winding up the ignorant base. Hegseth also fails to mention the fact that the policy doesn’t apply to public figures or newsworthy events — and names multiple public figures and newsworthy situations that he insists will be “censored” under the policy. Basically, pure disinformation.

He then says:

It gives the social media platform even more control, which is scary. More control over what can be shown. And more proof that they are, indeed, a publisher, and not simply (eyeroll) an unbiased platform.

Except basically all of that is bullshit. Twitter has always had control over what it does and does not allow on its platform. That’s how terms of service work. It’s no different from the fact that Fox News and Hegseth would never have me on Fox News to explain to his face why he’s an ignorant, pandering fool. Because that’s their editorial discretion. That’s the right of Fox News, just as it’s the right of Twitter. Hell, Twitter allows WAY MORE speech on its platform that its executives disagree with than Fox News ever has and ever will.

And to then trot out the bogus and meaningless “publisher” / “platform” distinction (and throwing in a gratuitous and meaningless “unbiased”) makes no sense. A publisher has 1st Amendment rights to choose what to host and what not to. And Twitter was never an “unbiased platform.” That’s just something that people made up to attack the company.

Hegseth then claims that Twitter will now use this to censor content “they don’t want you to see.” Which is… not at all how this works. He then brings on Hawley, who rambles on bizarrely and disconnected from reality. He insists that this won’t be used to “protect the privacy of conservatives,” which is nonsense. Again, all of the examples we’ve seen of content being taken down are examples of it being Hawley’s fans and supporters who are abusing this new policy to hide their own bad behavior. Hawley then flat out lies about how Twitter operates, claiming that Twitter “tracks us around the web” builds a “dossier” on us and “sells our information.” Twitter… doesn’t actually do that? None of these companies “sell our information.” They sell advertising, which is targeted based on our information but that’s very different. And while you could say that Google and Facebook “track us,” Twitter really doesn’t except in the most limited of ways.

This is just random rage from Hawley in which he throws in a bunch of catchy sayings that don’t actually apply to Twitter, because it riles up his ignorant base (the only kind of people who would ever support Hawley, apparently) and then calls for the company to be broken up. It’s cynical, hypocritical and disgusting — or basically a Josh Hawley specialty.

Filed Under: , , , , , , ,
Companies: fox, twitter

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Josh Hawley Thinks We Should Break Up Twitter Because He Doesn't Like The Company's Editorial Choices”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
44 Comments
ECAsays:

Why?

Why are so many trying to fight against what IS a real democracy of voices.

Many have forgotten something about WAR.
We see all this military take overs and Such on TV that requires all of Men, and machines and destruction.
But war has many faces if you wish to take over a country.
The USA created and uses one of them against Other nations we dislike. Economy. We also tend to do things in the background, Just as Russia has been Found to do. Get rid of certain people and leaders in other countries. Force them to use OUR selection of leaders.(which 90% of the time leads to more Troubles.
But there are the ones Inside the nation, that have Their Own ideals and are willing and able to Pay for the outcome.
We have been suggested that Everyone Must be an angel. Just, righteous, this and that, and then are amazed that they arnt. Being able to Hide what you are, is very easy. All I try to find is Honest and smart. But once we decide Who we want to be in a position of power, we seem to forget all that we wished them to be. And think they ARE smart For us. that they will protect us.
Either the people start understanding or are willing to Learn the hard way and fast. This isnt the end of the BS.

Davidsays:

Re:

To be fair, Delta didn’t emerge in the U.S. Having it "not happen" at all would have required getting vaccines into India earlier (I don’t think India has the same machismo death cult as the U.S.). And due to its infectuousness even across vaccinated people, squashing it in the U.S. would not have been possible even with quite higher vaccination rates.

Delta would have happened anyway. But it needn’t have killed as many and maimed both health system and commerce in the manner it does now.

Ian Williamssays:

Re: Re:

India may not have the same “Freedum” death cult as the US, but that’s not to say they don’t have their own flavor of death cult there, look up Modi’s government’s promotion of “Hindu Science” sometime, that being said, Delta was actually identified before any of the vaccines were available at all, it’s spread was probably inevitable.

Davidsays:

Re: Re: Re:

Masks and social distancing were available. They made quite a difference in countries such as Germany as compared to the U.S. last winter.

This winter, everybody is banking on vaccines instead and it’s going badly. Particularly in those countries banking on vaccines but having low vaccination acceptance. 70% does not cut it and is not in sight in many countries that could do better. 90% might work but it has not even been possible until very recently due to age limits on the vaccines. And as long as the international vaccination coverage is rather spotty, the virus gets constant updates and influx from outside, too.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re:

Eh. As much as the spread might have been inevitable, the severity of the spread was certainly the result of the Indian government choosing to boast that the worst of over and everyone could go back to congregating en masse for various political and religious events and gatherings. Never mind that India’s vaccination support and medical infrastructure was already spotty in some cases, but the promotion of "Hindu Science" and other "traditional" methods such as ayurvedic certainly made things a lot worse.

That One Guysays:

If it wasn't working he wouldn't keep doing it

The messed up thing is that while it’s possible it’s stupidity it’s likely not, moves like this are playing to a very specific audience and they’re almost certainly just lapping it up and cheering him on as he ‘sticks it to them damn libs and their ‘murica hatin companies’.

naschsays:

Re:

I mean seriously, Twitter is one company that really provides one service, how do you split the baby?

It doesn’t matter; when he says "break up Twitter" what his supporters hear is "I hate liberals" and they love it. They’re not thinking, "ah yes, this is a well thought out plan that will accurately and constitutionally address my specific concerns on this matter without undue unintended consequences".

Davidsays:

Re: Re: Re:

I don’t imagine many people are fooled at this point

That’s not how demagoguery works. People don’t need to believe the crap he’s spewing for it to have an emotional impact on them. It shifts their confirmation bias. In particular if they feel that others hearing this crap also are letting it impact them: nobody wants to be an outsider. Listen to football chants (for whatever popular sport your country calls "football"): does anybody believe them to be gospel? No. They still work for establishing an emotional mind frame. And that only needs to hold until you made the cross on the ballot.

And then you feel that you get what you deserved. Exactly because you did not actually believe the stuff those people were saying and still voted for them.

Anonymoussays:

Selling information

They sell advertising, which is targeted based on our information but that’s very different. And while you could say that Google and Facebook "track us," Twitter really doesn’t except in the most limited of ways.

I don’t know much about Facebook’s and Twitter’s uses of personal information in ad tracking, but I think it would be fair to say that Google sells information. Google’s ad targeting business model depends on collecting and organizing as much personal data as possible using any means necessary. Google claims that it doesn’t sell information, but that’s only true in a legal sense. Google takes advantage of this to violate privacy laws.

From https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2020/03/google-says-it-doesnt-sell-your-data-heres-how-company-shares-monetizes-and:

In many different ways, Google sends data to advertisers, and advertisers send it money.

Yet Google claims that it’s not “selling” anything.

It does acknowledge that somewhere in this process, a “sale” is occurring. It just insists that Google itself isn’t the one selling data. Instead, although Google facilitates the whole process, it places the responsibility of CCPA compliance on website and app publishers.

naschsays:

Re: Re: Au contrairian

he will never engage in any kind of debate so your time can be better spent somewhere else.

I just didn’t want any passersby to see that crap go unchallenged. Maybe I should have said something about the racism too…

Time for American values not the values of an Indian overclass which has taken over Twitter.

Shut up.

There we go.

Bergmansays:

How, exactly, would you ‘break up’ a centralized messaging service that does exactly one thing – and only that thing – without permanently shutting it down entirely, or creating a precedent that any company with more than N number of customers is an anti-trust violation?

He’s going to make enemies of every large corporation with the latter one!

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...
Older Stuff
13:40 It's Great That Winnie The Pooh Is In The Public Domain; But He Should Have Been Free In 1982 (Or Earlier) (35)
12:06 Norton 360 Now Comes With Crypto Mining Capabilities And Sketchy Removal Process (28)
10:45 Chinese Government Dragnet Now Folding In American Social Media Platforms To Silence Dissent (14)
10:40 Daily Deal: The 2022 Ultimate Cybersecurity Analyst Preparation Bundle (0)
09:29 A Fight Between Facebook And The British Medical Journal Highlights The Difficulty Of Moderating 'Medical Misinformation' (9)
06:29 Court Ruling Paves The Way For Better, More Reliable Wi-Fi (4)
20:12 Eighth Circuit (Again) Says There's Nothing Wrong With Detaining Innocent Minors At Gunpoint (15)
15:48 China's Regulatory War On Its Gaming Industry Racks Up 14k Casualties (10)
13:31 Chinese Government Fines Local Car Dealerships For Surveilling While Not Being The Government (5)
12:08 Eric Clapton Pretends To Regret The Decision To Sue Random German Woman Who Listed A Bootleg Of One Of His CDs On Ebay (29)
10:44 ICE Is So Toxic That The DHS's Investigative Wing Is Asking To Be Completely Separated From It (29)
10:39 Daily Deal: The 2022 Complete Raspberry Pi And Arduino Developer Bundle (0)
09:31 Google Blocked An Article About Police From The Intercept... Because The Title Included A Phrase That Was Also A Movie Title (24)
06:22 Wireless Carriers Balk At FAA Demand For 5G Deployment Delays Amid Shaky Safety Concerns (16)
19:53 Tenth Circuit Denies Qualified Immunity To Social Worker Who Fabricated A Mother's Confession Of Child Abuse (35)
15:39 Sci-Hub's Creator Thinks Academic Publishers, Not Her Site, Are The Real Threat To Science, And Says: 'Any Law Against Knowledge Is Fundamentally Unjust' (34)
13:32 Federal Court Tells Proud Boys Defendants That Raiding The Capitol Building Isn't Covered By The First Amendment (25)
12:14 US Courts Realizing They Have A Judge Alan Albright Sized Problem In Waco (17)
10:44 Boston Police Department Used Forfeiture Funds To Hide Purchase Of Surveillance Tech From City Reps (16)
10:39 Daily Deal: The Ultimate Microsoft Excel Training Bundle (0)
09:20 NY Senator Proposes Ridiculously Unconstitutional Social Media Law That Is The Mirror Opposite Of Equally Unconstitutional Laws In Florida & Texas (25)
06:12 Telecom Monopolies Are Exploiting Crappy U.S. Broadband Maps To Block Community Broadband Grant Requests (7)
12:00 Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of 2021 At Techdirt (17)
10:00 Gaming Like It's 1926: Join The Fourth Annual Public Domain Game Jam (6)
09:00 New Year's Message: The Arc Of The Moral Universe Is A Twisty Path (33)
19:39 DHS, ICE Begin Body Camera Pilot Program With Surprisingly Good Policies In Place (7)
15:29 Remembering Techdirt Contributors Sherwin And Elliot (1)
13:32 DC Metro PD's Powerful Review Panel Keeps Giving Bad Cops Their Jobs Back (6)
12:11 Missouri Governor Still Expects Journalists To Be Prosecuted For Showing How His Admin Leaked Teacher Social Security Numbers (39)
10:48 Oversight Board Overturning Instagram Takedown Of Ayahuasca Post Demonstrates The Impossibility Of Content Moderation (10)
More arrow
This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it