Parag Agrawal hasn’t been CEO of Twitter long, but he’s already abused his power of banning and suspension greatly. Needless to say, this power has been primarily utilized to silence political opponents or those who lead others to question the leftist narrative, especially on the vaccine, but these small “victories” may wind up in a massive loss.
As first reported by the New York Post, Agrawal has taken it upon himself to ban the likes of Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene for spreading “COVID-19 misinformation” when what she really posted came from the CDC itself. It also permanently banned Dr. Robert Malone, a co-inventor of the mRNA technology that was used to invent the vaccines currently meant to help with COVID-19. Malone had questioned the vaccines and how effective they were in terms of fighting the Coronavirus, which is not allowed under Agrawal’s watch.
The Post also highlighted the suspension of Prof. Michael Makris. The University of Sheffield professor was forced to delete a tweet for simply talking about a new type of COVID-19 vaccine in development, facing a ban if he didn’t. Makris posted the tweet in a photo when his account was reactivated so you can see just how draconian Twitter is being about things.
I am back on Twitter. Twitter blocked my account for "Spreading misleading and potentially harmful information about COVID19". Judge for yourselves if the relevant tweet is so bad. 1/3 pic.twitter.com/b1XodkPQ3I
— Michael Makris (@ProfMakris) December 23, 2021
The bans just keep going according to The Post:
Just The News founder John Solomon was suspended for tweeting an article on the Food and Drug Administration’s statement that the fully approved Comirnaty vaccine is “legally distinct” from the emergency-approved Pfizer-BioNTech product, which is more widely available in the United States.
Popular news aggregator Politics for All — founded by Spectator social media editor Nick Moar — was also reportedly banned for unspecified “platform manipulation.”
Also booted from Twitter for good: Mystery Grove Publishing Company, a small press which publishes out-of-print books, such as the memoirs of the last White Russian commander in chief, Pyotr Wrangel.
Twitter may call this limiting the spread of “misinformation” but to everyone else, this looks a lot like narrative control. Only one kind of opinion seems to be allowed on the platform and expressing something to the contrary results in silencing.
If so, then Agrawal is stepping his company outside the bounds of Section 230. He’s no longer a platform, he’s a publisher, and the protections 230 offers no longer apply. It’s something Minority leader Kevin McCarthy made clear to all of big tech recently, promising that should the GOP seize the majority in the House, then it’s something that they’ll push to happen.
“Twitter (all big tech), if you shut down constitutionally protected speech (not lewd and obscene) you should lose 230 protection. Acting as publisher and censorship regime should mean shutting down the business model you rely on today, and I will work to make that happen,” he tweeted.
“From President Trump to Dr. Malone to Congresswoman Greene, big tech’s censorship is out of control and must be addressed. A House GOP Majority WILL fight to hold them accountable,” he said in a follow-up tweet.
From President Trump to Dr. Malone to Congresswoman Greene, big tech’s censorship is out of control and must be addressed. A House GOP Majority WILL fight to hold them accountable.
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) January 4, 2022
The question is, will they? The GOP famously talks a big game when it comes to protecting speech on the internet but does very little about it except sternly looking at CEOs and asking them difficult questions.
Doubtless, the change here will be that it will be a much larger issue for GOP voters going forward, and the longer this goes on, the braver people like Agrawal will get, the more people will be banned, and the more important the issue will become. It shouldn’t get to a point where it’s unfixable and the GOP should make Section 230 one of the chief concerns for the incoming GOP majority if they seize it.