Here’s Why the Right Has Gone Bananas Over Twitter

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

Conservative writer David French provides some insight into why the right is going increasingly hysterical over Twitter’s modest efforts to rein in racist and violent speech:

When you hear increasing right-wing (I refuse to say “conservative”) calls for government oversight of social media speech policies, it’s vitally important to understand some of the career/economic context. Many of the people most alarmed made a gamble. They invested enormous time, energy, and effort into a platform they didn’t create, don’t control, and use for free. They’ve built impressive followings here, sometimes through edge-lord behavior, skating at the outer margins of Twitter’s policies.

As progressive speech values shift (after all, this is a site created by progressives and run by progressives) some of that on-the-line tweeting is going to cross newly-created lines, thus jeopardizing all that effort and risking extinguishing their primary public presence. That’s why the debate often takes on a slightly-crazed tone. It’s not merely an abstract debate over constitutional principles and corporate values. Lots of folks went all-in on creating an edgy presence on arguably the most progressive social media site. They don’t want to start over on Facebook. They don’t want to flee to Gab. Nor do they want to start from scratch on TikTok (“Chuck Todd won’t know I destroyed him!”) or Snapchat or YouTube or Reddit. And they’re certainly not content to “only” write on the platforms they own.

So here we are, in the grips of an incredibly self-interested effort to pull more and more of the government into social media regulation, even to the point of potentially overriding long-cherished First Amendment freedoms. It’s important to understand one reason why.

This was, naturally, a Twitter thread, which I consolidated into ordinary, boring text. I thought you all might be interested.

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate