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Was Twitter correct in fact checking Trump? Show more Show less
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On May 28th, Twitter added a fact check to a Trump Tweet about mail in ballots. The President has argued that this is a type of political censorship. Is Twitter a public square or private forum? Does a fact-check limit free speech? Was Twitter correct in fact-checking Trump's tweets?

No, Twitter should not have fact checked Trump Show more Show less

Twitter is in the public sphere and should not be involved in limiting free speech and expression. The President has the right to share what he wants, without censorship from Twitter. Twitter should not wield political power in this way by limiting a particular point of view.
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Twitter is a biased actor and frequently targets conservatives

With most users leaning left and the company employing unintelligible algorithms that fixate on keywords, there is a clear political bias showcased by Twitter with conservative voices being censored and fact-checked at a greater rate than their liberal counterparts.

The Argument

Statistically, 43% of Americans believe tech giants support liberal views over conservative, and 72% believe that social media platforms actively censor opposing political views to their own. Delving further, 85% of Republicans and right-leaning independents find that media platforms are purposefully censoring political viewpoints.[1] This bias is even clearer when viewing Twitter as an entity with a political spectrum. In an analysis, Twitter is heavily skewed towards the left, with 67% of Twitter users being center-left or extreme left and only 33% of users being right-leaning (most of whom are extreme right-wing users).[2] Compared to other outlets like the New York Times, CNN, and Yahoo News, who have almost equal amounts left vs. right digesters, Twitter's user breakdown is extremely polarized and left-leaning.[3] Additionally, in a study reviewing Twitter suspensions of politically active public figures between 2015 and January of 2019, it was found that conservatives are four times as likely as liberals to "violate" Twitter's ambiguous terms of service.[4] When looking at this rate along with the user analysis, it is clear that even with so few right voices on the platform, conservatives are more likely to be censored on Twitter.

Counter arguments

On various media sites, there are have been studies indicating that the algorithms and interactions within the sites are skewed in terms of what a reader will consume. Liberal accounts tend to be exposed to more moderate content, while conservative ones are shown content skewed to the right. Additionally, Partisan accounts (mostly conservative) tend to receive more followers.[5] In other words, conservatives are certainly not being censored.

Proponents

Premises

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2018/06/28/public-attitudes-toward-technology-companies/
  2. https://knightfoundation.org/articles/polarization-in-the-twittersphere-what-86-million-tweets-reveal-about-the-political-makeup-of-american-twitter-users-and-how-they-engage-with-news/
  3. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/political-analysis/article/birds-of-the-same-feather-tweet-together-bayesian-ideal-point-estimation-using-twitter-data/91E37205F69AEA32EF27F12563DC2A0A
  4. https://quillette.com/2019/02/12/it-isnt-your-imagination-twitter-treats-conservatives-more-harshly-than-liberals/
  5. https://arxiv.org/abs/2005.08141
This page was last edited on Tuesday, 10 Nov 2020 at 19:19 UTC

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