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Future of Twitter is Unclear After Dorsey's Resignation

Most people can speak. Where our role is particularly emphasized is who can be heard.

-Parag Agrawal

As many of you may already be aware, CEO of Twitter Jack Dorsey announced his resignation on Monday, Nov. 29. Dorsey will be replaced by Parag Agrawal, who joined Twitter as a software engineer in 2011and has served as the chief technology officer since 2017. Agrawal, unfortunately, does not appear to be the free speech savior that Twitter desperately needs, as he is more concerned with whose voice is heard than he is with allowing everybody the opportunity to speak.

During an interview last year with the “MIT Technology Review,” Agrawal explained that Twitter’s role is “not to be bound by the First Amendment,” but to “serve a healthy public conversation.” He said actions taken by the company reflect what they believe will lead to healthier public conversations.

When Twitter first began, it seemed like the place to be for celebrities. People who already enjoyed having their voices heard were granted yet another platform to speak. Twitter did nothing to censor these people. In fact, former President Donald Trump maintained an account with Twitter from 2009 until his ban following the Jan. 6 riots at the Capitol. He has always been the same person, yet his existence on the platform did not become an issue until over a decade later.

Recently, Twitter has had a history of silencing conservative voices. They have banned Trump, Sidney Powell, Michael Flynn, Alex Berenson, and a number of conservative thinkers speaking out against the national narrative. Many on the right expected Twitter to become more tolerant following Dorsey’s resignation, but people are beginning to realize that Dorsey may have been the wall preventing mass censors from having a field day on the platform.

Conservatives, who stand against cancel culture only when it impacts them, dug up an 11-year-old tweet from Agrawal where he implies that he doesn’t have to make a distinction between “white people and racists.” Honestly, he doesn’t have to make that distinction for me to continue happily living my life. Furthermore, the tweet is over a decade old. Kevin Hart was cancelled from hosting the Oscars from the left for a tweet that also didn’t age well, and we all agreed that Hart should have been able to host the event. It is completely possible that Agrawal has shifted away from this type of thinking. Even if he hasn’t, at least we have the opportunity to see who he really is before deciding whether or not to continue using Twitter.

Twitter is not bound by the First Amendment. The First Amendment protects our right to speak and express free from government intervention. Twitter is a private company not owned or operated by the government. While they clearly collude with President Biden’s administration, they are not paid by American tax dollars and are free to operate their platform as they choose.

While censoring speech on a private platform is not a violation of the First Amendment, it is a human rights violation. Our rights are not granted by government. We the people have tasked the government with protecting our rights. We are born with certain inalienable rights that existed long before the concept of government. Free speech is an inalienable right. When the principles of free speech are violated, people feel the force of oppression. When the oppressed lose their ability to speak, they are only left with their ability to fight. We saw this over the summer of 2020 as thousands of Americans who felt that their voices weren't being heard took to the streets in protest. While many protests remained peaceful, one cannot deny the amount of violence that occurred over that summer.

Without freedom of speech, we do not have the ability to work out our differences. When there is a chilling effect placed on people who have differences, how are they expected to engage in an honest, constructive conversation? Many people are afraid to lose their jobs, so they publicly accept whatever narrative they have to in order to get by. Privately, however, these people are not convinced and their voting records reflect as much.

Twitter is not a free speech platform. It’s a social media platform that caters to one side of the aisle. We are not required to have Twitter accounts and have the ability to stop using the platform at any point. There are alternatives to Twitter that respect conservative points of view such as gab, Minds, GETTR, and Parler. These platforms are considered “conservative social media” because they respect our right to free speech. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram are considered “liberal social media” because they don’t.

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