Twitter suspends Alt Right users: what everyone should do

Twitter has suspended the accounts of various "Alt Right" users (link). Unlike some past cases, this wasn't due to "targeted harassment", saying mean things about people, or the like. This was purely ideological.

This is a good test case for whether someone supports open debate or whether they want to silence those they disagree with. While Twitter has a right to ban whomever they want for whatever reason, anyone who takes Twitter's side opposes open debate and would probably use government power to restrict it if they could.

If you support open debate - whether you agree with the Alt Right or not - here are a few things you can do right now:

1. Get groups that claim to support open debate to weigh in: force them to come down on one side or the other. For instance, see the tweets to Matt Cagle of the ACLU. Even if you greatly dislike the ACLU, having them oppose Twitter's action won't make Twitter look very good. Ask other such groups to choose a side, and publicize their response (or that they won't respond).

2. Do the same with politicians. In many cases, tweeting politicians is the best way to get in touch with them. Do they support a service that blocks some of their constituents from contacting them?

3. "Help" Twitter by pointing out how free of dissent they are. Portray them as something that only would appeal to those who need a safe space and who can't handle dissent.

4. Use Twitter's new filtering mechanisms - that block "low quality" tweets - against them. Help new and potential users understand that they might be tweeting to a wall: their tweets, valid as they may be, may not be visible to others because Twitter has filtered them out. Twitter is going to be up against the wall if millions of people realize that the celebrities they tweet to will never see what they say. Make Twitter users feel insulted that Twitter would dump their perfectly valid tweets into the circular file. Why use their service at all?

5. Point out to Twitter investors and stockholders that the cumulative effects of doing the above will negatively impact their holdings.

11/16/17 UPDATE: Concerned that verified status (the blue check mark) was taken as an endorsement by Twitter, they've now changed the terms and removed the blue check mark from several far-right accounts. Per Twitter, "Twitter reserves the right to remove verification at any time without notice" and then they list things that can cause people to lose that status.

In other words, Twitter is saying that verified status is akin to an endorsement; before some considered that to be true and now Twitter has confirmed that. The smart, anti-censorship choice for Twitter would have been to repeatedly stress over and over that verified status is just a verification of identity and means nothing more. As usual, Twitter made the dumb, pro-censorship choice and now those with blue check marks can be considered a cut above other users not just in having been positively identified, but in adhering to Twitter's amorphous rules.

That means the thing to do is to hold them to it. Whenever someone with a blue check mark says something many or most would find objectionable, hold Twitter accountable for it. After all, Twitter has in effect endorsed them. The goal isn't to strip some of their blue check marks, but to show Twitter that they made the wrong choice.