Opinion: Twitter Files expose Orwellian-level government censorship


James Duncan Davidson under CC BY-NC 3.0

The Twitter Files have exposed government attacks on the First Amendment. Elon Musk deserves acclaim for revealing these interactions between Twitter and the federal government.

When Elon Musk bought Twitter, he promised transparency. Musk delivered on this pledge by launching a series of information drops which he dubbed the Twitter Files. 

The Twitter Files released by Musk expose egregious government-sponsored attacks on the First Amendment.

With 15 drops so far, and more on the way, enough evidence has come out of these drops to warrant significant legal action. These drops have done everything from exposing government corruption to providing evidence that disproves testimony that was made under oath by Twitter’s former CEO Jack Dorsey. 

One of the most alarming reveals of the Twitter Files has to be just how closely associated Twitter was with various government agencies. Twitter executives met weekly with the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, and various other officials of national intelligence agencies to discuss what content should and should not be tolerated on Twitter. Officials also paid Twitter employees millions of dollars for playing along with the censorship. 

When CIA or FBI agents are telling multi-billion dollar companies what speech should be removed from their websites, the line between state and private entities is blatantly crossed and the increasingly fewer rights Americans have are further eradicated. The Twitter Files have shown that government agencies are using businesses such as Twitter as a shield in order to restrict speech that they would not be able to do through legislation.

[T]hese businesses act as a glove for the hand that is government tyranny.

— Staff Writer Ashton Lewandowski

Regardless of how these agencies pressure companies to act on their behalf, these businesses act as a glove for the hand that is government tyranny. This behavior is similar to George Orwell’s dystopian novel “1984,” in which an authoritarian government controls what is and what is not acceptable speech. Just because the government is acting through private companies instead of directly does not make their actions acceptable. 

In money laundering, a person tries to disguise illegally earned money as real by passing it through a legitimate source. No matter how many legitimate sources separate the person and the illegally earned money, it is still money laundering. It should not be any different when it comes to government censorship. 

If a government official provokes the removal or suppression of any speech, even if done through means outside of direct government control, it should be classified as a violation of the First Amendment.

Government meddling in Twitter and most likely other social media has real-life consequences. During the 2020 Presidential election, the Twitter files have shown that the FBI pressured social media to censor and shadow-ban the Hunter Biden laptop story.

It should not have taken $44 billion of Musk’s own money to reveal any of this information to the public.

— Staff Writer Ashton Lewandowski

Subsequent surveys have shown that a substantial number of voters would have voted differently if they had known at that time that the laptop story was legitimate, and not “Russian disinformation” as Joe Biden and over 50 former senior intelligence officials falsely claimed.

It should not have taken $44 billion of Musk’s own money to reveal any of this information to the public. 

American citizens should have the right to know what the government is doing at any given moment, as the government should be acting on behalf of American citizens, not against them. Americans should also have the right to punish any government official involved with manipulating public opinion in any way through illegitimate means. 

Investigations need to be launched against any person who abuses their power in order to suppress the freedom of speech, and Musk needs to be celebrated for his ongoing transparency toward the situation through Twitter Files and the crime scene that is Twitter.

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