A trans friend of mine said that after Twitter stopped banning trans harassment, it took only 12 hours before she started getting death threats. Do we have Free Speech if bullies are allowed to make people afraid to speak?

@mfowler The death threats never stopped for people I'm close to.

@mfowler That is so sad, but not unexpected. Twitter is now a toxic brand, and I am actively distancing my own, small brand from it.

FWIW I posted this earlier today. It's the great paradox of tolerance, first(?) pointed out by the philosopher Karl Popper. A tolerant society **cannot** be tolerant of intolerance, else the intolerance will destroy tolerance.

@thirstybear @mfowler …kind of like… “tolerate alike” ? 🤔 (Ref: to share alike of Creative Commons)

@mfowler no one should feel unsafe and what happened to your friend is wrong.

Reasonable conversation and disagreement need to be accommodated though. When people and policy treat disagreement as hate, that is not possible.

Walking that line is hard, but I'd always favor freedom of speech for the majority in spite of the poor behavior of a vocal few.

@mfowler those who defend free speech always tend to be the ones who think the hardest hitting ad hominem attacks are those calling you “stupid” rather than attacking your entire sense of self, which is frequently at threat of physical attack

@gsnedders @mfowler
Freedom to those people only means if they are able to do whatever they want and not be uncomfortable. They stand for nothing but selfishness and hate.

@mfowler I hope they get out of that toxic place and find a spot here or somewhere else where they can feel both safe and part of a community. Hate speech and threats of violence push the beyond the bounds of free speech that should be protected.

@mfowler I would argue that no we don't. But it's a complex topic with nuance.

As a rule though ad hominem attacks are never ok and the same goes for threats.

@mfowler freedom of speech should not mean no consequences.
Sad to see how fast Twitter has degenerated. Not entirely unexpected. Unblocking trans haters will encourage other trans haters to speak louder.

@mfowler as usual, free speech benefits only one side: bullies. And minorities cannot bear this on Twitter anymore, this phenomena has sadly increased within the past months. I hope Mastodon can be a better safe place for lgbt+ ppl… we do have insightful feedbacks in tech too and we surely not have to retain ourselves because of fear.
Thanks for highlighting this issue.

@mfowler Personal thinking: regardless of one's culture and one's ideas, considering every individual exists and therefore has the right to live, tolerance towards others should be among the basic principles of living. Then everyone chooses how to live but everyone should understand that there is someone different who lives and he/she has the same right to live as all others... otherwise, we can regress into the era of survival.

@mfowler the freedom of speech is freedom from the government from suppressing your speech. Twitter can do what it wants. People can choose to stay or leave. In short, yes, you still have free speech if bullies are allowed to make people afraid to speak.

@specked @mfowler That's the US 1st Amendment Congressional constraint. Freedom of speech is broader in scope than what the US Constitution protects. That said, I agree that Twitter is private, and there should be no expectation of freedom of speech on the platform.

@mfowler this is not Free Speech. When others bully someone out threat them in any other way it’s just violence and it has nothing to do with Free Speech.

@mfowler One finds out who likes to selectively bounce between a negative-rights and postitive-rights conception

(because either conception would tend to lead to "Twitter can/should ban trans harassment")

@mfowler The concept of free speech was never my attraction to the bird site. If they want to go that route, fine. I prefer reasonable restrictions and controls. As a kid I sat in a history class which was constantly disrupted by unruly students throwing spitballs at the teacher. It was not conducive to learning or dicussions.
Rules must exist to help create an environment for the safe exchange of ideas. I think I'll be happier here.

@mfowler No we do not
America is in as dark a place as she has EVER been.

@mfowler I've never understood the reasoning people use to go from ‘i don't like you to I'm going to kill you’?

This is what Musky doesn't understand about free speech. In the US anyway, 1st Amendment protects nearly all speech from government retaliation. It does not protect speech from social consequences. It does not prevent social platforms from having standards and terms of service. Nor does it prohibit such platforms from banning violators of said standards. I'm sorry for friend. Hopefully, she's safe here.

@mfowler if hateful people have absolute freedom of speech, those they hate may not have freedom to avoid hate speech. Liberty needs to be a 2-way thing or it favours people who don't deserve any favours.

@mfowler I feel like this is vaguely like an abstract example of Gödel's incompleteness theorem, such that the concept can be complete, or consistent, but it can never be both. Which is to say, if we try to take an absolutist stance on free speech, we end up with this inconsistency where some people are afraid to speak. If we want to cope with that inconsistency, we can't have an absolutist stance on free speech.

Trans is a touchy subject and I get bullied a lot for my thoughts on it. I don't hold with the answer always being surgery and gender role changing. Gender role IMHO is a societal construct that just needs to go away.

@mfowler 😭 And that is why death threats are not protected speech in the U.S.

@mfowler Yes. The rest of the world doesn't practice free speech. Free speech is an excuse to protect hate speech. It's a fine idea. Bad practice.

@mfowler It doesn’t surprise me that a man raised by an apartheid government thinks threats are free speech. Maybe traditional law enforcement should get involved since Twitter won’t. A threat is illegal.

@mfowler 64 years has taught me that bullies typically misperceive motion or activity around them as proof they exist at the center of rotation of the universe.


"Free speech for me, but not for thee" seems to be the theme.

@mfowler I used to believe that the answer to hate speech is more speech. I now think that is too simplistic given the dangerous effects of hate speech amplified by social media and incredibly irresponsible politicians. What I like about Mastodon is that the decision on what needs to be dealt with is distributed so people can choose the community they find comfortable.

@mfowler There is a massive difference between ’Free Speech’ and ‘Hate Speech’ and the 2 should never be confused. However, where as many countries in the world have evolved their laws to accommodate social media and stamp out hate speech, America has not. Relying on a series of amendments written over 232 years ago for managing the world we now live in is laughable. Law is meant to evolve. Some politicians seem not to have.

@mfowler Elmo's definition of "free speech" is "speech I agree with"

It won't matter in the long run- even if his gang of visa hostages can keep the lights on, the advertisers will bail and they'll get delisted from the app stores.

The birdsite is dead, long live the birdsite

@mfowler No, we don’t. They whine about being “cancelled” when they are rejected at venues, but think that it’s perfectly acceptable for them to bully everyone who argues with them. It’s one set of rules for the tyrants and a different set of rules for the rest of us.

@mfowler for me there's a miss understanding between freedom of speech and harassing. It's like saying there's no freedom of speech without consequences. Said like that sounds more like distort the "freedom of speech" meaning. I need to remember our heritage and learn something from there.

@mfowler "Free speech" should be over as soon as you start to offend or create a difficult situation for somebody else.

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