Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) has been at the center of two of the biggest news stories of the past month, and the social network has played an unfortunate role in its own way in both of them. However, it’s response to the actions of their users that may in fact be the most unfortunate thing of all, and possibly their greatest mistake, according to Forbes’ Gene Marks.
In an article today on the site, Marks comments on the role Twitter has played in suppressing comments, images, and videos deemed offensive in the cases of Robin Williams’ death, and the beheading of journalist James Foley. In the former case, Williams’ daughter Zelda was besieged by insensitive and malicious comments and images to tweets she made concerning her father. In the latter case, videos of the beheading of Foley were passed around on Twitter, and elicited disgust.
In both cases, Twitter has responded with an iron fist, not only removing the offensive content, but outright banning the users of that content from the service. As Marks says, it’s a terrible mistake, and one that ultimately goes against the very core of what Twitter is supposed to be about.
It’s hard to argue against that. One need only look at the iconic role Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) has played in some of the uprisings in the Middle East over the past few years, where its foundation of free speech was the medium through which revolutions were wrought, and positive change orchestrated.
Now imagine instead a Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) in its place where people were banned for saying things that were deemed distasteful, or not in the interests of the public good, and you see how drastically that could’ve impacted past events, and would likely have driven people to seek out a bastion of true free speech in its place; which Marks believes could happen now if users become disenchanted with the social network and its growing conscience.
It is indeed a slippery slope when one begins limiting what people can say, for any reason, and sadly, one that it appears Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) is starting to slide down.
Georgo Soros’ Soros Fund Management is a notable shareholder in Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR), with 150,000 shares in the company as of their most recent 13F filing.