On Tuesday, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) leveled an accusation of hypocrisy against Big Tech giant, Twitter, regarding their censorship policies.
“I am not in favor of [Twitter] blocking anybody,” Rubio said. “But if [Twitter.gov] is going to block American politicians, activists & even a U.S. President they should also block Marxist Socialist dictators who incite street violence.”
I am not in favor of @twitter blocking anybody
But if @twitter.gov is going to block American politicians, activists & even a U.S. President they should also block Marxist Socialist dictators who incite street violence #SOSCuba #PatriaYVida https://t.co/DPIhKHplvL
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) July 13, 2021
Rubio was responding to Cuban dictator Miguel Díaz-Canel, who remains on the platform despite former implementations of Twitter’s policies regarding the subject of “incitement of violence.”
“Our action in the streets is against those who promote disorder with an interventionist agenda, manipulating the feelings of the people for the deficiencies and outbreaks of COVID-19,” tweeted Díaz-Canel on Monday.
“The counterrevolution aspires for a war between Cubans,” Díaz-Canel tweeted in another post on Monday. “We are not going to indulge them. We will avoid this with unity, discipline, and work.”
The context of his continued rhetoric includes reports of violent suppression of protests across the country.
“The unprecedented demonstrations spontaneously grew as the day progressed and were met with a large number of Cuba’s special forces in certain areas,” The Miami Herald reported. “Several videos of violent arrests were posted on social media — including some with audio that appeared to be of gunshots — but the Cuban leader denied the police used force against the demonstrators.”
“New videos of the Sunday protests circulating on Monday show police and military officers arresting, beating and even reportedly shooting at demonstrators,” the report added. “In one video, a man can be heard yelling, ‘Don’t shoot, that’s worse.’”
In early January, Twitter announced that they had “permanently suspended” former President Donald Trump, citing the supposed “risk of further incitement of violence.”
As part of their “comprehensive analysis,” they cited two tweets:
- “The 75,000,000 great American Patriots who voted for me, AMERICA FIRST, and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, will have a GIANT VOICE long into the future. They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!”
- “To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th.”
Twitter argued that “these two Tweets must be read in the context of broader events in the country and the ways in which the President’s statements can be mobilized by different audiences” and that these tweets were in “violation of the Glorification of Violence Policy.”
Twitter’s “glorification of violence” policy is defined as follows.
You may not threaten violence against an individual or a group of people. We also prohibit the glorification of violence.
Glorifying violent acts could inspire others to take part in similar acts of violence. Additionally, glorifying violent events where people were targeted on the basis of their protected characteristics (including: race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease) could incite or lead to further violence motivated by hatred and intolerance. For these reasons, we have a policy against content that glorifies acts of violence in a way that may inspire others to replicate those violent acts and cause real offline harm, or events where members of a protected group were the primary targets or victims.
To add context, there are two additional clarifying sections. The first, titled “What is in violation of this policy?” reads as follows.
Under this policy, you can’t glorify, celebrate, praise or condone violent crimes, violent events where people were targeted because of their membership in a protected group, or the perpetrators of such acts. We define glorification to include praising, celebrating, or condoning statements, such as “I’m glad this happened”, “This person is my hero”, “I wish more people did things like this”, or “I hope this inspires others to act”.
Violations of this policy include, but are not limited to, glorifying, praising, condoning, or celebrating:
- violent acts committed by civilians that resulted in death or serious physical injury, e.g., murders, mass shootings;
- attacks carried out by terrorist organizations or violent extremist groups (as defined by our terrorism and violent extremism policy); and
- violent events that targeted protected groups, e.g., the Holocaust, Rwandan genocide.
The second section, titled “What is not a violation of this policy?” reads as follows.
Our focus is on preventing the glorification of violence that could inspire others to replicate violent acts, as well as violent events where protected groups were the primary targets or victims. Exceptions may be made for violent acts by state actors, where violence was not primarily targeting protected groups.
Twitter’s assessment resulted in the decision to censor the former president:
We assessed the two Tweets referenced above under our Glorification of Violence policy, which aims to prevent the glorification of violence that could inspire others to replicate violent acts and determined that they were highly likely to encourage and inspire people to replicate the criminal acts that took place at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.
This determination is based on a number of factors, including:
- President Trump’s statement that he will not be attending the Inauguration is being received by a number of his supporters as further confirmation that the election was not legitimate and is seen as him disavowing his previous claim made via two Tweets (1, 2) by his Deputy Chief of Staff, Dan Scavino, that there would be an “orderly transition” on January 20th.
- The second Tweet may also serve as encouragement to those potentially considering violent acts that the Inauguration would be a “safe” target, as he will not be attending.
- The use of the words “American Patriots” to describe some of his supporters is also being interpreted as support for those committing violent acts at the US Capitol.
- The mention of his supporters having a “GIANT VOICE long into the future” and that “They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!” is being interpreted as further indication that President Trump does not plan to facilitate an “orderly transition” and instead that he plans to continue to support, empower, and shield those who believe he won the election.
- Plans for future armed protests have already begun proliferating on and off-Twitter, including a proposed secondary attack on the US Capitol and state capitol buildings on January 17, 2021.
As such, our determination is that the two Tweets above are likely to inspire others to replicate the violent acts that took place on January 6, 2021, and that there are multiple indicators that they are being received and understood as encouragement to do so.
When it came to Trump, Twitter argued that his two innocuous tweets “must be read in the context of broader events in the country” and the ways in which his statements could “be mobilized by different audiences.”
Why are they not reading Díaz-Canel’s tweets in the context of the broader events in Cuba? Why are they not judging them based on how they could be “mobilized by different audiences?”
The answer is simple: this was never about preventing violence for Twitter.
Ian Haworth is an Editor and Writer for The Daily Wire. Follow him on Twitter at @ighaworth.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
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