The Twitter Debate Is Stuck on Stupid

Twitter makes a lot of people stupid and angry, so it’s fitting that the current debate about Twitter should be so full of stupidity and anger. 

First, some context. President Trump frequently tweets or retweets things that are untrue. He also tweets things that are true. One thing that makes all of this so unpleasant is that a great many of the president’s foes feel compelled to claim that the true things are false, and his fans are compelled to argue that the false stuff is, at least in some sense, true. (Another factor that makes things even more unpleasant: The president often tweets offensive things, and the same dynamic of “No, it’s not!” vs. “Yes, it is!” plays out.)

More broadly, many on the right have convinced themselves that Twitter “censors” conservatives on the platform, which they think is not only wrong but some sort of violation of the First Amendment. It’s not. Many on the left think Twitter doesn’t censor enough, specifically in the case of the president himself. 

It was against this backdrop that Trump tweeted (again) that governors must not use mail-in ballots during the pandemic. The two-part tweet began, “There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-In Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent. Mail boxes will be robbed, ballots will be forged & even illegally printed out & fraudulently signed.” He concluded by declaring, “This will be a Rigged Election. No way!”

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