It’s OK to incite violence on Twitter — as long as it’s against the right

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In the wake of an unprecedented leak from the Supreme Court of a draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, national Democrats have taken to social media appearing to encourage violence. Earlier this week, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot issued a tweet calling on “friends in the LGBTQ+ community†to recognize this moment as “a call to arms,†stating in a second tweet that “we will not surrender our rights without a fight.â€

Multiple verified Twitter accounts, including a senior correspondent at Vox, have tweeted calls to “burn it down,†referring to both the country and the Supreme Court itself.

Notably, this rhetoric is taking place on a platform that purports to ban the “glorification of violence†and that infamously issued a permanent ban against a sitting president of the United States for, according to Twitter employees, doing just that — though with far less specific and anodyne tweets. In its justification for banning Donald Trump, Twitter cited two tweets: “The 75,000 great American Patriots who voted for me, AMERICA FIRST, and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, will have a GIANT VOICE long into the future. They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape, or form!!!†and “To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th.â€

Chicago’s Mayor Lori Lightfoot shared her thoughts on how Americans can fight back the overturn.
Reuters/Kamil Krzaczynski

Twitter tied itself in knots explaining how these tweets violated the company’s policy against “glorification of violence,†mentioning the “context of broader events†and “the ways in which the President’s statements can be mobilized by different audiences, including to incite violence.â€

But this raises the obvious question. If use of the words “American Patriots†is, as Twitter claims, “interpreted as support for those committing violent acts at the US Capitol,†then how, exactly, is Twitter classifying calls to “burn it all down, “a call to arms,†and the statement that “we will not surrender . , , without a fight�

For that matter, why is Facebook still allowing an account for the left-wing extremist group Ruth Sent Us, which published the home addresses of sitting Supreme Court justices? That led protesters to gather outside the homes of Supreme Court justices to shout obscenities and objections — a potential violation of federal law.

Justice Samuel Alito
Associate Justice Samuel Alito is taking a lot of the heat for the controversial situation.
Getty Images/ Erin Schaff
Members of the Supreme Court pose for a group photo at the Supreme Court in Washington, DC on April 23, 2021.
Protesters found the home address of some members of the Supreme Court.
Getty Images/ Erin Schaff

The blatant hypocrisy of Big Tech’s moderation policy is well-worn territory. But it is particularly galling coming from platforms that self-righteously use the “inciting violence†category as a pretextual umbrella term to ban whatever they want based on the “context of broader events†and their personal interpretation — while letting self -evident calls to violence coming from verified accounts and Democratic party leaders run amok.

It’s OK, in other words, to incite violence on Twitter, as long as it’s for the right cause, against the right people.

Twitter itself pioneered the theory that what’s said on social media can lead directly to violence (or is violence itself). Moreover, Congress impeached Trump for, among other things, the statement that his supporters should “fight like hell†for the country. The shamelessness with which Twitter and congressional Democrats apply the double standard to their own supporters is both blatant and offensive. But also, at this point, completely expected.

Rachel Bovard is senior director of policy at the Conservative Partnership Institute.

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