In Outrage Campaigns, It’s the Internal Mob That Matters

In Outrage Campaigns, It’s the Internal Mob That Matters

On Monday — the day Facebook, Apple, and YouTube purged Alex Jones — Twitter’s Jack Dorsey made a lonely stand. Twitter’s vice president, Del Harvey, sent a company-wide email promising, among other things, to evaluate “how we can do more to help customers feel safe as it relates to hate speech.” Specifically, Harvey said that Twitter was developing proposals to deal with “dehumanizing speech” — a made-up speech category that’s a veritable carnival funhouse of subjectivity and ideological manipulation. It’s the internal mob, the response of colleagues and peers, that truly drives much of the modern era of name-and-shame censorship. It’s standing by new hire Sarah Jeong after a sustained online controversy (fueled by years of controversial and often hateful tweets from Jeong) that swamps the Norton controversy in both intensity and duration. Disproportionately young tech employees (and the younger employees of elite media) are products of a very specific culture, a culture steeped in intersectionality and identity politics — a culture that increasingly sees traditional concepts of free speech as threats to social justice, not as engines of positive social change. You’ll see online a number of angry populists who declare their intention to “make the other side live up to its own rules.” In other words, make progressive organizations fire progressive writers. Until you sit in the seat of power, you can’t “make” the other side do anything. In virtually every cultural or corporate context that matters, the Left actually calls the shots. Patiently and persistently make the case for free speech and for the culture of free speech. Build the power to make better rules.

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Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey speaks during an interview, November 19, 2015.

Young conservatives, pursue careers in tech, media, and entertainment. Conservative donors, invest in the fields that matter far more than politics.

On Monday — the day Facebook, Apple, and YouTube purged Alex Jones — Twitter’s Jack Dorsey made a lonely stand. In a series of tweets, Dorsey explained that Jones hadn’t violated Twitter’s rules, that Twitter intends to resist outside pressure and act “impartially regardless of political viewpoints,” and that it was the responsibility of journalists to “document, validate, and refute” conspiracy theories.

For a brief moment, Twitter — arguably the social-media platform conservatives distrust the most — seemed to display a renewed zeal for free speech, including even the speech of one of the Internet’s most irresponsible, dishonest, and loathsome voices. After all, multiple Sandy Hook families are suing Jones after he had the audacity to accuse some of them of being “actors” who’d been “caught lying.”

But if you know anything about modern progressive corporations, you know what was coming next — the internal backlash, the soul-searching, and the climbdown.

Sure enough, as the Daily Caller’s Peter Hasson reported early this morning, employees protested, and Twitter responded. It’s message? Don’t worry, we’ll be better censors soon enough. Twitter’s vice president, Del Harvey, sent a company-wide email promising, among other things, to evaluate “how we can do more to help customers feel safe as it relates to hate speech.” Specifically, Harvey said that Twitter was developing proposals to deal with “dehumanizing speech” — a made-up speech category that’s a veritable carnival funhouse of subjectivity and ideological manipulation.

Twitter’s response should serve as an important reminder. As much as we focus on the online outrage mobs, unless those mobs have internal allies, their rage is often impotent. It’s the internal mob, the response of colleagues and peers, that truly drives much of the modern era of name-and-shame censorship.

Wonder what the true reason is that Google fired James Damore, the software engineer who posted a controversial memo suggesting that biology and free choice were more to blame for the relative lack of women in tech than gender discrimination was? Well, listen to Google CEO Sundar Pichai:

“I regret that people misunderstand that we may have made this for a political belief one way or another,”…

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