Time for ‘Twexit’?

While it’s hardly surprising watching Twitter and Facebook assert themselves as the arbiters of free speech online and the decision makers on the question of what information should be seen or not seen, it still is pretty staggering to watch their blatant arrogance while doing it. Their rules are arbitrary—clearly favoring the Left—and affect everyone from Dr. Scott Atlas at the White House to someone you probably know.

Face it: we all have a conservative friend who likes to speak out on Twitter. Maybe she’s an aunt or a neighbor or sits in the pew in front of you at church. She’s Christian, pro-life, and thinks President Trump is doing a great job. But when she shares her opinions on social media, all of a sudden she runs into problems.

She is bombarded with hateful, profanity-laden messages. Her account has been suspended twice for Heaven-knows-what. Her tweets seem to get very low engagement, and she suspects she is being shadowbanned (although she can’t prove it). So she starts to self-censor, dialing back her real feelings because she’s worried Twitter will kick her off for good.

I’ll bet you know someone just like this. Maybe you know several. It’s not even up for debate that conservatives are treated badly on so-called social media. One might even start to think we aren’t welcome.

These private corporations have decided, so far without consequence, that they really do determine how free speech and the free flow of information are going to work in this country. Imagine for a moment someone squatting on public land and then grandly declaring that he is in charge of how that land will be used in the future. We’d laugh at the insanity of it, but that is exactly what these companies are doing: they are squatters on the Internet, which they didn’t build, don’t own, and certainly are not entitled to make the rules for how it is used.

I’ve made it clear that in his second term Trump should smash these companies: antitrust, removal of Section 230 exemptions, but perhaps more importantly, annihilating their revenue models. 

Until then, however, what are we to do? Should we look for alternatives? Certainly. 

Every day, millions continue to suffer Jack Dorsey’s daily indignities. Conservative voices are banned, subjected to biased “fact checks” by liberal editors and screamed at by a bunch of woke mafiosos who have no interest in listening and every intention of insulting, defaming, doxxing and canceling. 

While I know they are mental midgets ignorant of how rights work, a word to them: in the real world outside your safe spaces, we have God-given rights to free speech and freedom of conscience. Further, free societies encourage the free flow of information rather than trying to hinder it.

Twitter is a battlefield, but a rigged one that is not even remotely fair to conservative participants. Twitter has their agenda, they make the rules and they will make sure they win. If you don’t believe me, just listen to Jack Dorsey’s own words: “I don’t believe that we can afford to take a neutral stance anymore . . . I don’t believe that we should optimize for neutrality.”

Twitter has picked sides. Conservatives aren’t on it. Their field, their rules. They win, we lose.

Just look at their leadership team. They say personnel make policy, and Twitter’s Head of Site Integrity, the division responsible for content moderation, is a woke liberal who hates Republicans. He’s called Mitch McConnell “a personality-free bag of farts” and wrote that there were “actual Nazis in the White House.”

I am not the sort to shy away from a spirited debate. There can be value in arguing with liberals and defending conservative principles. That’s how minds and hearts are changed, and we could stand a lot more dialogue these days. Honestly sometimes Twitter is as pleasant as a root canal with rusty dental tools. But think about this: Bots generate 50 percent or more of the traffic on Twitter, and over 80 percent of the content is negative.

Twitter is not a well-run company. Its stock price has been weak, having never climbed back to immediate post-IPO levels. Revenues have been flat, and the company lost money seven of the past eight years. And yet, we give this bad company that hates our values, censors us and treats us like crap a continual lifeline by playing in their sandbox. Maybe we shouldn’t anymore. 

Let’s face it: politically active conservatives and the energy we bring are critical to Twitter’s entire ecosystem. Don’t believe me? Imagine for a moment Donald Trump ditching the platform and posting exclusively at Parler.  

So why should we continue to prop up and capitalize Twitter? Short answer: we shouldn’t. It’s against our interests. 

The same goes for other Big Tech platforms. Twitter may be the most vulnerable, but until we grow to use alternatives for networking, search (I started using DuckDuckGo.com a long time ago because Google is basically evil), video sharing like Rumble.com, even domain hosting, we remain vulnerable to abuse at the hands Big Tech as we fork over our money to help them tighten their stranglehold. 

It’s time to vote with our feet and our wallets. I’m starting to think that we as conservatives should start investing our time and treasure in different platforms that are less hostile to our principles. We don’t have to move all the way overnight; in fact I would discourage it, for fear we might “ghettoize” ourselves. But we should probably start the process and build leverage in hopes that real measures in the very near future will help accelerate the breakup of these monopolies.

Twitter wants us to think it is the only game in town; that we’re stuck. We’re not. Let’s get the power of markets working for us, the sooner the better.

About Ned Ryun

Ned Ryun is a former presidential writer for George W. Bush and the founder and CEO of American Majority. You can find him on Twitter @nedryun.

Photo: Getty Images

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20 responses to “Time for ‘Twexit’?”

  1. I left Twitter several years ago. Unless there is a big change at Facebook, I will leave it the first of the year and go on Parler and MeWE. I won’t eliminate my Facebook account. I just won’t post, share or interact on it, except on the rarest of occasions. If something serious rises to take its place that is genuinely committed to free speech and honest standards, I will be there. It’s time to move on. Both Twitter and Facebook are trying to make conservative or religious thought small ghettoes on their sites. Good advice above.

  2. “If you don’t believe me, just listen to Jack Dorsey’s own words: “I don’t believe that we can afford to take a neutral stance anymore . . . I don’t believe that we should optimize for neutrality.””

    If republicans need more reasons to get rid of 230 exemptions for big tech here is the best one.

  3. The problem with something like Parler is that it is a ghetto right now. Entertainment companies, musicians, sports teams have no official presence there so you can’t follow them for news on them. Trump switching would end Twitter overnight so why hasn’t he done it? Until he does, that’s where the conversation is. Another way to deal with social media companies is to start arresting their executives for sedition and interfering with the election, but conservatives don’t have the guts to do it.

    • Yeah, I’ve never been a Twitter user, but when I heard about Parler I thought I would sign up to support them. The problem is, as you pointed out – there is nothing on Parler right now *except* for politics. I’m hoping it will grow to more, but right now there is nothing outside of politics to see there so I’m not really engaged.

    • “Entertainment companies, musicians, sports teams have no official presence there so you can’t follow them for news on them. ”

      Your interests need to develop waaaay past the imbecilic circle of “entertainment companies, musicians, sports teams.” Not trying to be a snot nose here but man look around you. That garbage is a cancer on the country.

  4. While I could generally agree with this article, I think in this case the Author misses something.
    I am not in Twitter, nor FB, basically because I’m nont a kind “social” guy and the word “social network” is enough to get under my skin; nevertheless, if I should use it, I would like to make it on a platform that reaches everybody, not one oriented at the 50% of the public that’s already of my same opinion. That’s why President Trump should stick to these two. He won’t reach anyone outside his field, on Parler, Gab or whatever.
    The answer is 1) force them to fairness (the fiscal leverage is always a good one). Or, 2) Put together a team to release an “official”, gov’t issued platform which anyone can access for free, ads-free, uncensored but who uses it is accountable for slander etc. (no aliases, avatars, fake profiles, not to speak of…RUSSIANS!))

  5. Yet at the end of the article: “Share on Twitter and Facebook”, and “Ned Ryun is … You can find him on Twitter @nedryun.”

    Be the change you want to see in the world!

    • Touche!

      People keep complaining about the power that Google, FB and Twitter have – if everyone stopped using them they wouldn’t have that power over us, would they? No legislation required . . .

  6. “Entertainment companies, musicians, sports teams have no official presence there (Parler) so you can’t follow them for news on them.”

    Sounds like a paradise for thinking people. Let all that dreck stay on Twitter, so their fans can enjoy Toobin-ing themselves there.

  7. Better would be to lop off the heads of the top 100 people at Twitter and stuff them on pikes. Then work your way down the org tree until their behavior improves.

  8. Parler isn’t the answer either. The entire current social media model is wrong.

    As a user of a social media platform, you should be the CUSTOMER, not the PRODUCT.

    I say this as somebody who’s working on a platform aimed at doing it better.

    https://the-speakeasy.us

  9. This should be done and I think it can be done, but it will be much harder than you may think, Ned. Andrew Torba started Gab as a right-wing equivalent to Twitter and was demonetized by VISA , PayPal and Stripe. Yes, Big Finance joined the social media oligarchs censoring the news.

  10. Parler will need to improve its platform and interface. I do think that we need to help Parler build their platform along with Gab but we need to simply go through the anti trust process with big tech. Duck duck go is excellent and Facebook is going to die naturally. Another thing…never buy anything through these companies when they pop up.

  11. I have never had a twitter account and the stories about twitter that show tweets reveal that there are a lot of vile, vulgar, and hatful people on the twitter universe. I have a facebook account because my kids use it to communicate. Maybe other platforms will emerge but until then we need to clean up big tech. Hit them where it hurts and fine them for election interference. We might also get this idea to work for media companies. There is false information being “reported” by the major outlets as fact when fact is silenced.

  12. Why suggest Parler? Parler is a poor imitation of Twitter, a very bland imitation. Parler is designed for gobs of people to follow “influencers”.

    Gab.com is where you’ll find freedom of expression. Everyone is on an equal level, focused on engagement instead of following someone.

    • I agree. Been on Gab for several months and find it a refreshing platform with dozens of interesting groups. Lots of good information and the ability to Block or Mute obnoxious posters. Great platform. Highly recommended.

  13. The fact that most conservatives will not give up their twitter accounts and move to free speech platforms mystifies me.

    Seeing my fellow conservatives cry “victim” is getting old. They know exactly what twitter is and the solution is in plain sight!

  14. Morons. Get off Twitter and on to Gab. It’s right in front of your nose but you won’t use it because “all the right people”, including those running Twitter, the MSM and the DNC, have told you is it full of Nazis. Nonsense. Stop complaining about Twitter. It will not, indeed cannot, be reformed.