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Milo Yiannopoulos Questions the White House on Social Media Censorship

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I know for a fact that I have said on here before that free speech denotes the fact that the government cannot censor what you do or say and that it is nothing to do with what a private company like Twitter says you can or cannot say. When I pointed that out I didn't think that anyone would then turn to the government about this censorship that many people believe is occurring on social media, especially on Twitter and Facebook, but Milo Yiannopoulos, who had his account de-verified back in January, decided to just that.

I'll be honest and say this isn't something I expected to come in on Monday morning to see. But on Friday at a White House press briefing, Yiannopoulos asked the press secretary Josh Earnest about how the Obama administration felt about what he felt was a politically motivated censorship on social media. Earnest obviously couldn't promise to do anything about it because Twitter is a private company that runs under its own rules so when it decides to remove someone, it’s because someone has gone against their terms and conditions. This is something that even Yiannopoulos pointed out though so fortunately he wasn't hoping that the government could tell Twitter that he deserves to be verified again. He has stated in an article of his own that he just wanted to understand their views, which is fair enough, even if it seems like he was asking this question in a strange place.

Yiannopoulos quoted the founder of Reddit, a social media site that is well known to often have some very negative views on amongst some stranger things as well as referencing how Obama dealt with the idea of safe spaces for college students. Even though in one sense referencing the Reddit founder was probably not a good idea, he did make it clear that he understood what he was talking about. The only problem is that there isn't really a problem on social media and his question makes it sound almost as if he was whining about the fact he isn't verified any more. But this questioning of social media is getting more common so it is something that should be looked into; even if the result just is that they need to be more transparent. There can't be as many conservatives as there are complaining about this so-called censorship and there not be some sort of grain of truth, even if it isn't because of a political motivation.

What Earnest basically told Yiannopoulos was that if he had a problem then he should take it up with Twitter. He said that the government cannot do anything but the courts are there for anyone who wishes to fight this battle. I'm not sure there's any point in suing Twitter just because you lost your account or a verification mark but it is a possibility for anyone who would wish to. Twitter is a huge company though and it would be a waste of time because an individual would probably lose.

I can't really say what I actually think of this whole scenario but I don't think the questioning was as much as a joke as some people would like to think. Yiannopoulos is a journalist and he clearly knows how to research, which is what he's done, before he asked the question that he wasn't really expecting a response to. He is still using Twitter regularly so he clearly hasn't given up on the service and certainly not on social media in general. The whole point of this was just to suggest that he wants social media to try and think more like the American government, and coming from a British man, this is an interesting point.

Ideally this would be the last we would hear of this saga but until social media removals are made more transparent this does seem unlikely.



Rosina is a Songbird rookie with a degree in Creative Writing. She's trying to focus on her novel on the side but is hoping that Content Writing will turn out to be a good career choice in the mean time! Follow her @RosinaAtSMF


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Milo Yiannopoulos Questions the White House on Social Media Censorship Reviewed by Rosina Brooker on Wednesday, March 09, 2016 Rating: 5

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