Former Twitter "Safety" Executive Yoel Roth Argues That Free Speech Is A Threat To Free Speech
In a blatant display of Orwellian double-speak, the former executive in charge of Trust and Safety at Twitter told a House GOP hearing that unrestricted free speech "results in less speech, not more." Yoel Roth is best known for his dramatic removal from Twitter after Elon Musk's takeover and his consistent complaints about the social media platform allowing conservative ideals to spread without obstruction.
Yoel Roth: “Unrestricted free speech paradoxically results in less speech, not more”— ALX 🇺🇸 (@alx) February 9, 2023
Musk disbanded the original Trust and Safety team after discovering disturbing inaction on child pornography on the platform, as well as collusion between Twitter team members and government officials to illegally censor specific individuals posting information contrary to the government narrative.
Roth attempted to justify the widespread censorship, primarily used against people with views opposing leftist positions, by suggesting that "abusive speech" by a minority of malcontents was "driving away" other users. The claims of abuse are subjective and also unsupported. What one person sees as factual information others like Yoel Roth might treat as abusive. This is a classic authoritarian tactic - To assert that some speech is dangerous to everyone, and then declare yourself the person most qualified to determine what speech is a threat and what speech is not.
Roth also repeats now debunked Russiagate claims, suggesting that Twitter had to increase censorship because of the discovery of an insidious plot by the Russian government to "stoke culture war divisions" and interfere in US elections. These claims have not been substantiated by any significant evidence, and there is no need for Russia to stoke divisions when the political left has done that so effectively already. Accounts discussing anything damaging to the Biden Administration (the Hunter Biden Laptop issue in particular) were often labeled "Russian bots" without serious investigation.
The claim by Roth that free speech is in itself a threat to free speech illustrates the twisted nature of mass censorship and the mental gymnastics required to justify violations of civil liberties. Twitter's previous management and their collusion with government agencies and politicians should act as a blaring alarm for the future of freedoms in western societies.
The question that must always be asked when rationalizing censorship is this: Who gets to decide?
Who gets to arbitrate the measure of acceptable speech? Who gets to hold all the power? Big Tech companies are dominated by the political left, with Twitter being the only outlier allowing more free discussion. Competing companies have in the past been attacked and even sabotaged (as in the case of Parler) by Big Tech's monopoly of access. Clearly, they intend that only the far left will get to enjoy 1st Amendment liberties while everyone else is labeled as varying degrees of deplorable.
Is the political left qualified to act as judge and jury over speech rights? They have proven to be utterly inadequate, but the truth is, no one is qualified. This is why the 1st Amendment is so broad - To prevent the notion that speech management is acceptable.