Congressmen plan to conflate extremist tweeters and child pornography to cow Twitter
France isn't the only nation that wants Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites to be more strict about removing content published by extremist organizations.
According to the report, a number of Congressmen led by Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) are poised to send a letter to Twitter CEO Dick Costolo "demanding that the firm take more active measures to shut down IS tweeters" -- mostly by treating these tweets as if they were child pornography.
Rep. Poe and his associates are effectively asking for Twitter to remove a potentially wide range of speech from its service without thought, oversight, or common sense. "Extremist tweeters" is a far flimsier category than "child pornography" -- and conflating the two is really just a scare tactic.
There's something gross about the invocation of child pornography whenever someone in government, whether it's here or across the pond, wants to exert more control over speech. Yet that hasn't stopped those invocations from recently becoming more and more popular.
Or perhaps you want to be able to force Internet service providers (ISPs) to block websites without receiving a court order. France introduced a new rule focused on extremist groups and -- you guessed it -- child pornography to do just that after the Charlie Hebdo attacks.
It's as if the world's governments conspired to use terrorists and child pornographers as bogeymen to frighten citizens into agreeing to whatever "safety measures" they want.
And now these Congressmen want Twitter to cow to these bogeymen instead of fighting for users' right to free speech -- simply because the government thinks that speech is "extremist."