- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Twitter tried to subvert the Constitution by using the free market to turn the censoring of conservative thought into a defensible position. And now Americans are using their free-market choices to say goodbye to Twitter.

That’s called tit for tat.

That’s called just due.

That’s called paying the piper.

It was only a matter of time before Americans, en masse, grew weary of the whole social media clampdown on conservative thought. It was turning into quite a cycle: Social media minions censor conservatives — followed by public outcry — followed by congressional hearing — followed by social media executive denials of censorship — followed by social media minions censor conservatives — followed by public outcry — followed by — well, the picture’s pretty clear.

It was a never-ending circus act, one that always left the American public in the lurch, left to either make the case that government should crack down on private businesses or to accept that conservatives should just suck it up and suffer the censorship. Social media’s leftist leaning leaders have been particularly adept at using America’s own freedoms to their particular anti-freedom purposes.

After all, the First Amendment only applies to government, not private businesses. Right?

Yet a private business that receives special shielding from the government, i.e. Section 230, which protects it from being sued for content created by users, ought not hide behind that special protection when its influence and presence grows so big that it’s become more a publisher, or news outlet, or publisher of news, than a platform that touts its openness to all views, all thoughts, all across the board. Right again?

In other words — and this is a compelling argument — you can’t take Section 230 protections and simultaneously edit content as if a publisher.

Not when the content that’s being edited is political in tone. Like The New York Post’s recent Hunter Biden bombshell. Or the many, many, many who’ve simply retweeted The Post piece.

Or anyone else who’s written critically of Democratic candidates, politicos or the party in general.

And then to not even explain the censorship, but rather send a form letter about violating some standards of community behavior? Tsk-tsk.

The people don’t like it. And they start to show their dislike by taking their business elsewhere.

“Twitter shares plunge as user growth slows,” Fox Business recently reported.

The story goes on to say how Twitter posted decent quarterly revenues, but the expected daily user rate came in flat. Very flat, actually.

“Twitter posted much stronger than expected third-quarter results thanks to surging advertiser demand,” Fox Business found. “[H]owever, profit slipped and daily users came in lower than analysts expected. The San Francisco company earned $28.66 million, or 4 cents per share, in the July-September period.”

The earnings is 22% less than a year ago. Some of that can be chalked to COVID-19, of course. But here’s the interesting part: Forecasts of daily user figures aren’t looking so great.

“Twitter had 187 million daily users, on average, in the third quarter, but below analysts’ expectations of 195.6 million,” Fox wrote.

So, either Twitter has been busily booting even more conservatives that make the news, or users are abandoning the platform at a high rate.

Smart money is on option two.

Minus the hard left, Americans by and large cherish their freedom of speech. And they don’t take kindly to rich, elitist tech giants going to Congress and lying their butts off, pretending as if they don’t censor. The “who, me?” line gets old, but quick.

If Twitter’s losing its users, that means one thing and one thing for sure: Free speech is seeing a resurgence.

Free speech advocates are looking for a new outlet. That’s not just good for all Americans; that’s good for America’s free market, as well.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com or on Twitter, @ckchumley. Listen to her podcast “Bold and Blunt” by clicking HERE. And never miss her column; subscribe to her newsletter by clicking HERE.

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