I have said this many a time, and it just gets truer and truer with each passing day: Trump is the GOP, the GOP is Trump, and there is no meaningful difference between the two other than tone. This has been demonstrated yet again in a new report out of Motherboard explaining why Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey won’t ban Nazis from his website. Per Motherboard:
At a Twitter all-hands meeting on March 22, an employee asked a blunt question: Twitter has largely eradicated Islamic State propaganda off its platform. Why can’t it do the same for white supremacist content?
With every sort of content filter, there is a tradeoff, he explained. When a platform aggressively enforces against ISIS content, for instance, it can also flag innocent accounts as well, such as Arabic language broadcasters. Society, in general, accepts the benefit of banning ISIS for inconveniencing some others, he said.
In separate discussions verified by Motherboard, that employee said Twitter hasn’t taken the same aggressive approach to white supremacist content because the collateral accounts that are impacted can, in some instances, be Republican politicians.
The central problem for Twitter is that white supremacy is a big part of their business. It’s part of really any business in America because there are a lot of white supremacists here. It’s a lot more socially acceptable to say “ban ISIS” than “ban white supremacy,” even though both have the same violent endgame in mind, just with (mostly) different victims. This is actually an understandable position for Twitter to take, as any business which wants to take on white supremacy in America is putting their business at risk.
White supremacy is primarily fueled by the Republican Party in America, as demonstrated by the GOP Florida legislature just passing a literal poll tax yesterday—a white supremacist policy specifically designed to disenfranchise black Americans that has been outlawed by the 24th Amendment. In a way, Twitter’s (unofficial) stance is understandable, given that they are not the ones who created this white supremacist moment—the GOP did. Twitter is a tool for society to use, and if society is filled with white supremacists and those who are sympathetic to white supremacy, then it’s not their job to clean society up. Twitter is simply a (distorted) reflection of society.
But there’s still plenty of blame to pass out to the comically ineffective Jack Dorsey and the rest of Twitter’s “leadership.” Facebook—far from a paragon of virtue—finally banned white supremacists this year. The fact that YouTube and Twitter stayed silent when Motherboard reached out to them for comment after Facebook’s action is basically confirmation that without white supremacy, both Twitter and YouTube would hemorrhage money. It’s clearly a major part of their business models.
Because white supremacy is big business in America. Trump ran on an explicitly white supremacist platform in 2016 and won. There is a massive market for this kind of hateful logic in America, and that’s why Hitler wrote how much he admired this part of us in Mein Kampf. Our white supremacy inspired the Nazis, so it should come as no surprise when one of our most high-profile companies finds themselves unable to censor this violent ideology. Civil society simply must reject it first, and demonstrate that there is a massive market for anti-white supremacy—otherwise those with a profit motive will never put their business in danger by challenging their wide base of racist customers.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.