Twitter’s “rules” on users tweeting the phrase “learn to code” have gotten more than a few conservatives suspended from the platform.
DC Examiner‘s Tyler Grant was one of them:
I’m out of Twitter jail— last night, my account was suspended for simply using the phrase “learn to c***”. I wasn’t even using it in a hostile context. In fact, I was hoping to stir a conversation about universal basic income.
Here are the screenshots— you be the judge: pic.twitter.com/EJde5Yj335
— Tyler Grant (@TyGregoryGrant) March 9, 2019
The Daily Caller‘s Chuck Ross was another:
My Twitter account was suspended for 12 hours for sending this tweet, which was clearly a joke about the popular meme and John Hickenlooper's comment. I thought @jack acknowledged to @joerogan that Twitter was "too aggressive" in banning ppl over this? pic.twitter.com/3o2cptsAYK
— Chuck Ross (@ChuckRossDC) March 11, 2019
But when Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey used the phrase “learn to code” before using it was cool, surprise surprise, he didn’t get suspended or banned:
Every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn to code. http://t.co/BhlvOW8Y8i
— jack (@jack) February 26, 2013
The tweet was amplified by Turning Point USA‘s Benny Johnson Monday:
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) March 11, 2019
What exactly are “the rules”, you might ask? Reason wrote about the issue in January. As it turns out, the Twitter Powers That Be – er – changed a few things about their rule on the matter after being questioned about it:
But a spokesperson for Twitter tells me that it’s “more nuanced” than that.
“Twitter is responding to a targeted harassment campaign against specific individuals—a policy that’s long been against the Twitter Rules,” said the spokesperson in an email to Reason.
The Wrap‘s Jon Levine said representatives for the social media company had backed away from the position they related to him earlier, which was that the phrase “learn to code” itself constituted abusive behavior. The new position seems to be that “learn to code” is not de facto harassment, but could be considered harassment if tweeted aggressively as part of campaign to intimidate a specific user, in accordance with Twitter’s somewhat vague abusive behavior policy.
Except that doesn’t seem to be the case with what Ross and Grant posted. For that matter, on any given day I hear about conservatives who have been suspended for using the phrase who didn’t tweet it at anyone, or who were otherwise joking about it with their friends.
There is no consistency in how this “rule” is applied except for the fact that it’s almost always a conservative who gets suspended or banned when using it, no matter how innocuously.
Dorsey said recently in an interview that it was true the platform had probably been too aggressive in targeting conservative users, but it’s clear that even after he acknowledged that fact that nothing has really changed.
Nor will it.
—Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 15+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter.–