Twitter found itself in yet another censorship controversy on the morning of Sept. 22, with the temporary suspension of conservative law professor and USA Today columnist Glenn Reynolds, who runs the aggregator site known as Instapundit.
Reynolds’ @Instapundit account was suspended shortly after tweeting “run them down” in response to the protests in Charlotte, N.C., after a police shooting plunged the city into the grip of riots and looting.
“Sorry, blocking the interstate is dangerous, and trapping people in their cars is a threat,” said Reynolds, defending his statement.
“Driving on is self-preservation, especially when we’ve had mobs destroying property and injuring and killing people. But if Twitter doesn’t like me, I’m happy to stop providing them with free content.”
The @Instapundit account has since been reinstated.
Many note that Twitter is a private company and able to moderate its services in whatever way they please. Others also lament the apparent lack of consistency in how they moderate. Under normal circumstances, users are held to an internal three-strikes policy before a suspension is handed down.
Robby Soave at Reason notes the difference in how Reynolds was suspended for an arguably snarky suggestion of a means of self-defense, while there seems to have been no such response by Twitter to Vox Editor Emmett Rensin, who with all apparent sincerity plainly stated that starting riots is a legitimate response to Trump’s campaign stops.
Reynolds’ brief suspension could be attributable to automated moderating systems, which kick in following multiple user-generated reports.
It will nonetheless validate suspicions many hold that social media companies like Twitter target users for reprisal who are primarily on the conservative end of the left/right political spectrum, especially since the permanent suspension of conservative provocateur and Breitbart Tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos was handed down under questionable circumstances.