Josh Hawley Thinks We Should Break Up Twitter Because He Doesn't Like The Company's Editorial Choices

from the you-fascist-karen dept

As I just made clear, I’m no fan of Twitter’s new “private media” policy, which I think comes from a well-meaning place, but will lead to widespread abuse by malicious actors seeking to hide evidence of bad behavior (indeed, there’s evidence this is already happening). But that’s no excuse for Senator Josh Hawley (supporter of the January 6th insurrection, and who seems to think his job as Senator from the confused state of Missouri is to product manage internet services). Hawley reacted to this new policy by saying that it’s a reason to break up Twitter. He says “we oughta break them up” at the end of a very bizarre interview with Fox News host Pete Hegseth.

We’ll get to the other nonsense from Hegseth and Hawley in a moment, but let’s start by focusing on the “we oughta break them up” line. First off, he’s clearly saying that the company needs to be broken up in response to the company’s editorial decisions. That’s… just a blatant violation of the 1st Amendment. Hell, just imagine how he (or Hegseth!) would respond to a Democratic Senator saying Fox should be “broken up” because of the company’s editorial bias. I imagine both Hawley and Hegseth would go nuts about such unconstitutional overreach. But here, Hawley suggests breaking up Twitter in response to its editorial choices, and Hegseth seems happy to support that position.

That’s because neither of them have any principles. They’re fine with ignoring the Constitution if it allows them to attack their perceived ideological enemies.

Second, under what possible theory would you “break Twitter up” here. Twitter is relatively small as a social media player. Reports from about a month ago show Twitter as the 15th largest social media service globally. Even in just the US, it appears that Twitter comes in at least 7th place and possibly lower, depending on WhatsApp and TikTok’s growth.

So the company, in no way, qualifies for any sort of antitrust treatment no matter how you look at it. The only possible reason to suggest that we should “break up” Twitter is because you disagree with their policies, which is a blatantly authoritarian position. Which, well, fits when we’re talking about Josh Hawley.

As for Hegseth, his little bit of pandering is ridiculous as well. After mispronouncing both the first and last name of Twitter’s new CEO, Parag Agrawal, he blames Agrawal for the new policy (that surely was planned much earlier). He then goes on a rant about how this policy is “meant to protect” antifa and Black Lives Matter protestors, but insists that it won’t be used to protect conservatives.

Of course, as we showed in our original post, nearly all of the examples of enforcement so far have gone the other way. The policy has been used to takedown images and videos of Trumpists and white nationalists who didn’t like being called out by others. But, never expect a Fox News host to let facts get in the way of winding up the ignorant base. Hegseth also fails to mention the fact that the policy doesn’t apply to public figures or newsworthy events — and names multiple public figures and newsworthy situations that he insists will be “censored” under the policy. Basically, pure disinformation.

He then says:

It gives the social media platform even more control, which is scary. More control over what can be shown. And more proof that they are, indeed, a publisher, and not simply (eyeroll) an unbiased platform.

Except basically all of that is bullshit. Twitter has always had control over what it does and does not allow on its platform. That’s how terms of service work. It’s no different from the fact that Fox News and Hegseth would never have me on Fox News to explain to his face why he’s an ignorant, pandering fool. Because that’s their editorial discretion. That’s the right of Fox News, just as it’s the right of Twitter. Hell, Twitter allows WAY MORE speech on its platform that its executives disagree with than Fox News ever has and ever will.

And to then trot out the bogus and meaningless “publisher” / “platform” distinction (and throwing in a gratuitous and meaningless “unbiased”) makes no sense. A publisher has 1st Amendment rights to choose what to host and what not to. And Twitter was never an “unbiased platform.” That’s just something that people made up to attack the company.

Hegseth then claims that Twitter will now use this to censor content “they don’t want you to see.” Which is… not at all how this works. He then brings on Hawley, who rambles on bizarrely and disconnected from reality. He insists that this won’t be used to “protect the privacy of conservatives,” which is nonsense. Again, all of the examples we’ve seen of content being taken down are examples of it being Hawley’s fans and supporters who are abusing this new policy to hide their own bad behavior. Hawley then flat out lies about how Twitter operates, claiming that Twitter “tracks us around the web” builds a “dossier” on us and “sells our information.” Twitter… doesn’t actually do that? None of these companies “sell our information.” They sell advertising, which is targeted based on our information but that’s very different. And while you could say that Google and Facebook “track us,” Twitter really doesn’t except in the most limited of ways.

This is just random rage from Hawley in which he throws in a bunch of catchy sayings that don’t actually apply to Twitter, because it riles up his ignorant base (the only kind of people who would ever support Hawley, apparently) and then calls for the company to be broken up. It’s cynical, hypocritical and disgusting — or basically a Josh Hawley specialty.

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Companies: fox, twitter

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Comments on “Josh Hawley Thinks We Should Break Up Twitter Because He Doesn't Like The Company's Editorial Choices”

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ECA (profile) says:


Why are so many trying to fight against what IS a real democracy of voices.

Many have forgotten something about WAR.
We see all this military take overs and Such on TV that requires all of Men, and machines and destruction.
But war has many faces if you wish to take over a country.
The USA created and uses one of them against Other nations we dislike. Economy. We also tend to do things in the background, Just as Russia has been Found to do. Get rid of certain people and leaders in other countries. Force them to use OUR selection of leaders.(which 90% of the time leads to more Troubles.
But there are the ones Inside the nation, that have Their Own ideals and are willing and able to Pay for the outcome.
We have been suggested that Everyone Must be an angel. Just, righteous, this and that, and then are amazed that they arnt. Being able to Hide what you are, is very easy. All I try to find is Honest and smart. But once we decide Who we want to be in a position of power, we seem to forget all that we wished them to be. And think they ARE smart For us. that they will protect us.
Either the people start understanding or are willing to Learn the hard way and fast. This isnt the end of the BS.

David says:

Re: Re:

To be fair, Delta didn’t emerge in the U.S. Having it "not happen" at all would have required getting vaccines into India earlier (I don’t think India has the same machismo death cult as the U.S.). And due to its infectuousness even across vaccinated people, squashing it in the U.S. would not have been possible even with quite higher vaccination rates.

Delta would have happened anyway. But it needn’t have killed as many and maimed both health system and commerce in the manner it does now.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Ian Williams says:

Re: Re: Re:

India may not have the same “Freedum” death cult as the US, but that’s not to say they don’t have their own flavor of death cult there, look up Modi’s government’s promotion of “Hindu Science” sometime, that being said, Delta was actually identified before any of the vaccines were available at all, it’s spread was probably inevitable.

David says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Masks and social distancing were available. They made quite a difference in countries such as Germany as compared to the U.S. last winter.

This winter, everybody is banking on vaccines instead and it’s going badly. Particularly in those countries banking on vaccines but having low vaccination acceptance. 70% does not cut it and is not in sight in many countries that could do better. 90% might work but it has not even been possible until very recently due to age limits on the vaccines. And as long as the international vaccination coverage is rather spotty, the virus gets constant updates and influx from outside, too.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Eh. As much as the spread might have been inevitable, the severity of the spread was certainly the result of the Indian government choosing to boast that the worst of over and everyone could go back to congregating en masse for various political and religious events and gatherings. Never mind that India’s vaccination support and medical infrastructure was already spotty in some cases, but the promotion of "Hindu Science" and other "traditional" methods such as ayurvedic certainly made things a lot worse.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: If it wasn't working he wouldn't keep doing it

The messed up thing is that while it’s possible it’s stupidity it’s likely not, moves like this are playing to a very specific audience and they’re almost certainly just lapping it up and cheering him on as he ‘sticks it to them damn libs and their ‘murica hatin companies’.

This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I mean seriously, Twitter is one company that really provides one service, how do you split the baby?

It doesn’t matter; when he says "break up Twitter" what his supporters hear is "I hate liberals" and they love it. They’re not thinking, "ah yes, this is a well thought out plan that will accurately and constitutionally address my specific concerns on this matter without undue unintended consequences".

David says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I don’t imagine many people are fooled at this point

That’s not how demagoguery works. People don’t need to believe the crap he’s spewing for it to have an emotional impact on them. It shifts their confirmation bias. In particular if they feel that others hearing this crap also are letting it impact them: nobody wants to be an outsider. Listen to football chants (for whatever popular sport your country calls "football"): does anybody believe them to be gospel? No. They still work for establishing an emotional mind frame. And that only needs to hold until you made the cross on the ballot.

And then you feel that you get what you deserved. Exactly because you did not actually believe the stuff those people were saying and still voted for them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Selling information

They sell advertising, which is targeted based on our information but that’s very different. And while you could say that Google and Facebook "track us," Twitter really doesn’t except in the most limited of ways.

I don’t know much about Facebook’s and Twitter’s uses of personal information in ad tracking, but I think it would be fair to say that Google sells information. Google’s ad targeting business model depends on collecting and organizing as much personal data as possible using any means necessary. Google claims that it doesn’t sell information, but that’s only true in a legal sense. Google takes advantage of this to violate privacy laws.


In many different ways, Google sends data to advertisers, and advertisers send it money.

Yet Google claims that it’s not “selling” anything.

It does acknowledge that somewhere in this process, a “sale” is occurring. It just insists that Google itself isn’t the one selling data. Instead, although Google facilitates the whole process, it places the responsibility of CCPA compliance on website and app publishers.

This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Au contrairian

he will never engage in any kind of debate so your time can be better spent somewhere else.

I just didn’t want any passersby to see that crap go unchallenged. Maybe I should have said something about the racism too…

Time for American values not the values of an Indian overclass which has taken over Twitter.

Shut up.

There we go.

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