Banning on a Maybe

Dr Drew Montez Clark, a black Republican Conservative running to flip Florida’s Congressional District 20 from Progressive-Democrat to Republican, saw his Twitter account banned the night before the originally scheduled Republican Primary election for the district was scheduled to occur.

Parag Agrawal, Twitter’s CEO, let it happen, probably not directly, but through the corporate culture he inherited from Jack Dorsey, and which he has actively cultivated since becoming CEO.

Clark’s account was restored “hours later,” but the move had already been made, and the night had already passed into that election day.

Agrawal’s excuse—Twitter’s statement—for the cancelation is instructive.

Twitter uses proactive, automated systems to detect content that might violate our rules, part of our work to improve the health of conversations on the service. In the case referenced, our automated system detected a false positive. The account has since been reinstated.

Might violate. Sometime in the future. Our rules. But we’re not saying which one or ones.

Mind you, Clark’s Twitter commentary hadn’t actually violated any of Twitter’s rules; Agrawal’s excuse statement makes that clear. But it might, later, violate some as yet carefully unnamed rule(s), so Agrawal let it be taken down preemptively by one of his bots. Or by one of his humans, and he’s hiding behind that bot. Thinking we’re too stupid to understand that his bots are programmed by his human employees.

Fortunately, in this specific case, Agrawal’s Twitter…misbehavior…had no effect, as Clark was running unopposed, and his primary wound up being canceled.

But wait until the November election, when Clark is actively facing the Progressive-Democratic Party incumbent. Agrawal already is on record as saying his Twitter will interfere with Twitter accounts of those of whom he disapproves.

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