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Why the Twitter files aren’t really news

Here’s what we know about the “Twitter Files” released by Elon Musk. Twitter blocked users and stories they may not have agreed with for political reasons. They also deleted content upon request by Democrats AND Republicans. Was that right? No, but it’s something done by anyone that runs a website or media page. Do CNN, Fox, and other media outlets pick and choose stories based on their political bias? Probably so.

Twitter isn’t an actual media company. They are more of a clearinghouse for media sources and individuals. They can control the content posted on their site. It is not a free speech issue. It is not a First Amendment issue. The First Amendment refers to government suppression of your free speech. Twitter and Facebook can censor content and people if they choose to do so. Consumers are not forced to use social media.

Critics will say that the government asked Twitter to suppress stories, that’s a violation of free speech. No, it’s not. The government didn’t force Twitter to do it. The government has been asking the media to withhold information forever. It’s nothing new. Sometimes it could be for national security. Or it could be to prevent the government from looking bad. The government isn’t forcing the media to withhold information. Just because the government asked and Twitter and other media outlets agree, doesn’t mean it’s a violation of free speech. The government isn’t forcing anyone to do anything.

Twitter allegedly prevented the posting of the New York Post story on Hunter Biden’s laptop. That didn’t prevent the Post from publishing the story. They publish their own paper and have their own website. Anyone can read it. Twitter isn’t the only place to read the Post or any other media page. It did not prevent other media outlets from posting the story.

People that are praising Musk as a champion of free speech are ignoring or are unaware that Musk is banning people that criticize him. When Donald Trump was President he blocked people on Twitter from his account. Trump lost in court and was forced to allow people to follow him and reply to him because he used the account for government purposes. That was a violation of free speech. That court decision has also been used in other cases including former Sacramento Sheriff Scott Jones and former Elk Grove Mayor Steve Ly. Both had blocked constituents on their social media pages. Musk, Trump, and others are not “champions of free speech” when they don’t follow the rules themselves.

The bottom line is choosing to use social media is a choice. You agree to their rules. Free speech doesn’t apply. You have other ways to communicate and get information. The government isn’t oppressing you.

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