NEWS AND VIEWS THAT IMPACT LIMITED CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT
"There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with
power to endanger the public liberty." - - - - John Adams
Wednesday, February 13, 2019
Twitter Sued Over Ban for Criticizing Transgenders
Will Decide What Speech is Allowed
(WSJ) - A Canadian writer filed a lawsuit against Twitter Inc. on Monday, saying the social-media platform unfairly banned her because her criticism of transgender rights doesn’t line up with the company’s politics.
Meghan Murphy, a gender-politics blogger, alleges that Twitter violated unfair-competition law when it changed its hateful-conduct policy late last year. Under Twitter’s new policy, users can be banned for calling a transgender individual by their pre-transition names or referring to them with the wrong pronouns. The suit alleges that change conflicts with Twitter’s previous commitment to free speech.
The lawsuit, filed in state Superior Court in San Francisco, combines two hot-button issues: how Silicon Valley companies should moderate content on their sites, and what protections should be provided for transgender individuals.
In the offending tweets, Ms. Murphy wrote that transgender women are the same as men, as part of her argument that gender is determined at birth. Those views are viewed by some lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activists as inciting hate speech against transgender people.
“Twitter claims its policies do not take into account political views,” said Noah Peters, Ms. Murphy’s lawyer. “They actually do practice viewpoint discrimination.”
In the case of Twitter’s policy update for transgender issues, the company banned the practice of intentionally referring to individuals by the wrong gender or referring to their previous names, saying it can be a form of harassment. The policy was designed to make Twitter a more inclusive space for transgender individuals.
Ms. Murphy says that Twitter locked her account on Nov. 15, telling her that to regain control of her account, she would need to remove two tweets she posted the prior month. One tweet stated: “How are transwomen not men? What is the difference between a man and a transwoman?” The other said: “Men aren’t women.”
Ms. Murphy deleted the tweets, and posted a response to Twitter, saying, “I’m not allowed to say that men aren’t women or ask questions about the notion of transgenderism at all anymore?” The post went viral, according to her suit, receiving 20,000 likes. Days later, Twitter informed Ms. Murphy that she needed to delete this tweet as well, the suit says.
Twitter then banned Ms. Murphy permanently. According to the suit, Twitter sent an email to Ms. Murphy on Nov. 23, informing her that an item she had posted previously on Nov. 8 violated the company’s hateful conduct policy because she referred to a transgender woman as “him,” according to the suit.