For some time now I have been inactive here. In large part this is because I routinely posted my content here and linked it to Twitter and it went out to people interested. But since May 26, 2019 I have been off Twitter. This was not by my choice. I posted the following tweet:
Essentially I took the position that people with gender dysphoria, a recognized mental health issue, should be helped rather than be pandered to by companies like Gillette. Almost immediately I was red-flagged by Twitter for “hateful conduct.” Yes, that’s right, pointing out truthfully that people who have a penis and think they’re women have a mental issue is apparently “hateful.” Much the way telling someone who came in from a rainstorm that they are “wet” would be hateful.
So, I did what anyone would do in this situation. I appealed. I filed my appeal that night, and added to it the next day. I then waited a week, and then noted they had not ruled on my appeal. Didn’t get anything from Twitter, so again at the 14 day mark, another clang on their “help” bell, and again, radio silence.
So, it’s apparent to me that no one at Twitter is paying attention, so I wrote to the Assistant General Counsel for Human Rights and pointed out that my human rights are being violated because no one would adjudicate my appeal. Here is part of what I said:
As Twitter’s new deputy general counsel for human rights, and, as a fellow attorney, I am directing this correspondence to you. I do that not because I am threatening litigation, but simply because I believe a lawyer may actually take a litigator’s common-sense approach to this problem. Twitter’s censorship and appellate procedure display a disregard for the human right of free expression. In short, I’m asking for your help in rectifying an injustice.
Attached as an enclosure is a screen shot of the message that has been on my Twitter Account since Sunday, May 26, 2019. I was suspended for the following tweet sent in response to an advertisement from Gillette:
@Gillette you just lost a life-time customer. Transgendered people have a mental disorder. They should be helped, not pandered to. https://t.co/QF8gMSrPBu
I was suspended for “hateful conduct.” There is no hatred anywhere in that tweet. It is objectively true that gender dysphoria is a mental disorder, and that it is treated (some would say mistreated) by gender reassignment surgery.
I recognize that in San Francisco where Twitter is headquartered, and presumably where its pool of talent is drawn, the idea that someone might oppose pandering to confused and sexually-frustrated individuals is somehow controversial. But stating biological fact is not hate. I realize that there are those who deny science and claim gender is a “social construct.” I actually did quite well in my Anatomy and Physiology courses, and I understand the basic biology of human reproductive organs. I realize my reliance on science and medicine for my opinion might not be something others agree with. That’s okay. I welcome the disagreement. Disagreements are good. For example, I do not agree that streets should be littered with used syringes and human feces. I do not agree that people should be trafficked or exploited for profit. I suspect if we got right down to it, the person that adjudged my tweet as “hateful” would find that we agree on more things than we disagree. But we can’t have an intelligent discussion when the reaction to something you disagree with is to shut off the flow of information. As an attorney, you know this.
I believe the call on the original suspension was plainly wrong, and I believe you can look at the tweet objectively and determine that. Yet, as bad as the original suspension is, it alone is not why I write. I write because I have been denied my right of appeal that Twitter promised and includes within its terms of service. Twitter is simply lying when, in the body of the screen acknowledging the appeal it says “We’ll take a look and respond as soon as possible.” It is objectively false, and my account is proof.
The tweet was appealed on May 26. Today is June 23, 2019, and I still am locked out of my account; my appeal is still “pending.” I believe Twitter actually does not grant a right of appeal, and makes no attempt to make a substantive determination on an appeal. There are two reasons for this.
First, it doesn’t take 28 days to decide the propriety of a single tweet. And if it does take that long – if the volume of suspensions is so great that your staff is working on appeals 24/7 for 28 days – then perhaps you are suspending way too many people in the first place. But you and I know that’s not the case. This is simply an edict from your SJW staff telling me to shut up and take my medicine. It’s wrong. It is an illusory appeal process.
Second, when I went to appeal I encountered an “additional info” block supposedly to allow me to offer rationale for why my tweet should not be adjudged offensive. Yet, the number of characters allowed in support of the appeal permits fewer characters than the original tweet. From these facts I conclude there is a serious issue of whether Twitter is in fact proceeding in good faith in its appellate process. I get 32,000 words at the Missouri Supreme Court, and while I realize that Twitter is not a court, fewer than 256 characters to appeal a suspension is frankly an upraised middle finger to your customers.
I have been locked out of my account for 28 days. Yet, every time I check I am reminded that if I am tired of waiting I can cancel my appeal and delete my objectively true tweet because medical fact coupled with biological science offended someone. The gestalt of the advice offered by people on the internet is to forget the appeal, accept the punishment, and move on. If I believed I had transgressed on the transgendered, I would do that. But I did not. I cannot agree to accept a black mark for something that is unfair and where there is no real opportunity to challenge the fairness of that determination.
It has probably taken you less than five minutes to read this letter, but by the time you finish it, I will have been suspended for well over a month waiting on an answer on my appeal decision that was supposed to come “as soon as possible.” Coming from Ebay and StubHub, you are a person who understands that customers drive your success. Already there are numerous other sites that are operating without the draconian and oppressive censorship that Twitter has put in place. You understand the obligation to your shareholders likely better than I do. You might ask yourself how the issues I’ve raised here would affect the attitude of D.C. based regulators and investors in “flyover country.” The idea of regulating providers like Twitter and Facebook has already been offered as a means of solving these kinds of problems. I would be against that, but my case is Exhibit A for why it may be necessary.
I am going to give you a few days to work the problem before I write additional letters and raise these issues with other entities. I believe Twitter should have the chance to address these issues internally before I get others involved. I’m not asking for any relief beyond having my account restored. I’ve already been offline four times as long as I would have been if I had actually been at fault. That’s unfairness compounded by arrogance and deceit. If you offer an appeal, you damned sure ought to give people the appearance of some kind of rational decision-making. As one attorney to another, I am asking you for help.
I look forward to a proper resolution of this matter. Please call me if you have any questions.
So, a fairly well-written letter, not threatening a lawsuit, just asking for help solving a problem. Again, radio silence. Not even a word.
Undeterred I wrote to Jack Dorsey personally, sent the letter by certified mail and got a return receipt.
Surely this would get results, right?
You may ask “why not take the 7 days and get on with it?” Fair question. I did nothing wrong. I refuse to be punished for something I did not do. I have not decided whether to wait until hell freezes over for a decision on my appeal, or cancel my appeal. I honestly plan on waiting them out. But I may decide to do something different, I don’t know.
Essentially, while they will not respond and will not admit it, what Twitter does not want you to know is that there is no appeal when one of their social justice warriors gets offended at something you say online. It is September 16, and I have been waiting 110 days for Twitter to address my appeal. Yet, this is what I get, even today:
In other words, there is no appeal. When you appeal, all you do is set yourself up for frustration and for having to throw in the towel at some point because it is clear that Twitter is not going to adjudicate your appeal.
Now, why would they not? Because they might have to admit they were wrong. They might have to admit that science and biology triumph over “feelings.” They might have to accept that everything someone says you don’t agree with isn’t hate speech. In short, they might have to abandon their God complex.
And do not, for one moment think that Jack Dorsey is telling the truth when he says that Twitter is not censoring conservatives. It may not be his personal aim, but he turns a blind eye to it. If he believed in free speech he would supervise his staff. He would ensure appeals were heard and decided. But he won’t. He won’t because he lacks the courage to demonstrate the kind of leadership that’s necessary. I wrote directly to him. It appears he personally signed the receipt. And yet, in spite of all that, no one has even the decency to send me a letter more than a month later.
Do not expect Twitter to be fair. Do not expect Twitter to be operated on a rational basis. Do not expect to experience free speech on that site. Corporate censorship is just as wrong as government censorship. Yet Twitter gets by with exactly the kind of censorship that places like North Korea, China, Russia and Venezuela engage in on a daily basis.
Shame on Twitter. And shame on Jack Dorsey. He is either a liar or an incompetent manager and coward. I’ll let you decide which.