According to Statista, social media giant Twitter averaged an astounding 330 million monthly active users during the third quarter of 2017. However, Federal Communication Commission Chairman Ajit Pai doesn’t feel everyone who utilizes the platform is being treated fairly, and recently excoriated Twitter for censuring its conservative users.
In his recent speech, Pai remarked, “I love Twitter, and I use it all the time. But let’s not kid ourselves; when it comes to an open Internet, Twitter is part of the problem.”
The FCC Chairman went on to say, “The company has a viewpoint, and uses that viewpoint to discriminate.” Twitter vehemently contests Pai’s intention to repeal the Obama-era “net neutrality” rules in order to return to the pre-2015 regulatory structure. The social media mainstay promises to fight the effort.
Until 2015, the FCC has mostly treated high-speed access to the Internet as a lightly controlled information service under Title I of the 1996 Communications Act. This practice ended with the help of the Obama administration in 2015. Obama’s net neutrality rules transformed the classification of Internet access to a much regulated telecommunications service under Title II of the Communications Act. The FCC is expected to pass a reversal of the controversial net neutrality rules in the near future.
As social media and big technology companies continue to attempt to thwart speech from pro-life advocates, Christians, and social conservatives, free speech is a lingering concern. In October 2017, Representative Marsha Blackburn, a Republican from Tennessee, had her paid ad on Twitter suppressed because it was deemed inflammatory.
In the ad, Blackburn stated, “I fought Planned Parenthood and we stopped the sale of baby body parts, thank God.” Twitter informed the Congresswoman that the ad would be acceptable only if she removed the reference to baby parts.
During her stint as Chairwoman of the House Select Panel on Infant Lives, Blackburn witnessed how Planned Parenthood sold aborted babies to fetal experimenters for profit. Therefore, she wasn’t going to accept Twitter’s actions without a fight. Ironically, on Twitter, Blackburn rallied her supporters to protest the social media giant. Twitter eventually caved and allowed the Congresswoman to run her ad.
In a statement, Twitter said, “We believe that there is room to refine our policies around these issues.” After Twitter’s reversal, Blackburn demanded an apology. But, she didn’t get one.
In August of this year, Twitter told former pastor Craig Stellpflug that he couldn’t promote his new book One Man One Woman: God’s Original Design for Marriage. The declined Tweet said, “One Man One Woman is about God’s original design for marriage carried from Adam and Eve in the garden through today.”
Twitter summed up its rejection of Stellpflug’s ad in one word: “hate.”
After his ad was pulled, Stellpflug said, “My book is not hate! It highlights conservative Christian marriage values — therefore it is ‘hate.’ Have we stooped so low in our country that my freedom of speech is squelched because I promote my Christian beliefs? I’ll tell you where the hate is. It is flaunted against the majority by the few as a tool to promote liberal agendas.”
Live Action, the pro-life group with the largest social media following, announced that Twitter suppressed its ads in June of 2017. During an interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson, Live Action President Lila Rose relented, “Planned Parenthood is allowed to promote their pro-abortion and misleading messages, while Live Action is barred from promoting any content exposing abortion and Planned Parenthood.”
Twitter determined Live Action tweets of fact-checks of Planned Parenthood and ultrasound photos were violating its sensitive topic and hate content rule. As a result, Twitter demanded the pro-life group remove all of its tweets referencing its undercover investigations into Planned Parenthood and all ultrasound pictures of unborn babies.
In his speech, FCC Chairman Pai reiterated that he doesn’t feel Twitter’s censuring of pro-life, conservative Christian views are unique. He provided examples from the past year of streaming services inhibiting videos from conservative commentator Dennis Prager, online entities secretly editing certain users’ comments, and undisclosed algorithms that determine what content users see and don’t see.
~ 1776 Christian