Twitter targets trolls but winds up silencing conservatives

 | Robby Soave 02/24/2016 8:28 AM MST
Credit: West McGowan  -  Flickr

When Twitter sanctioned popular right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos last month for bad behavior, conservatives were concerned. Two weeks ago, when the social media platform picked a bunch of leftist groups to write its new harassment policies, they grew worried.

Now, in the wake of Twitter’s recent decision to ban conservative blogger Robert Stacy McCain, is it time for full-fledged panic?

There’s no telling what Twitter’s endgame is, but it’s unlikely to be good for users who don’t want the company to enforce overly broad harassment and hate-speech policies at the expense of open dialogue.

McCain, the latest high-profile pundit to run afoul of Twitter’s vague prohibitions on abusive behavior, is a controversial figure. Many would find his passionate denunciations of liberals — feminists, in particular — offensive, even vile (I know I do). But there’s a considerable difference between using Twitter to harshly criticize opponents and using it to harass them or incite others to violence. I’ve yet to see a compelling case that McCain crossed that line.