U.S.-based Twitter (and a host of other social media platforms) deleted accounts months ago of former President Donald Trump simply because they did not like his politics. The site is owned by a commercial company and its owners exercised their right to censor speech.
Trump did not order the killing of innocent civilians or an invasion of Canada or Mexico. The leaders of Twitter just did not agree with his speech.
Twitter has not taken a similar approach toward Russia’s leader even as that nation, while aggressively attacking Ukraine, feeds a steady dose of propaganda about Ukraine on its various Twitter accounts.
The big tech company is apparently not offended by a tyrant who has started an aggressive war based simply on his megalomania.
As of March 2, and as civilians are being slaughtered by Putin’s forces, Twitter’s official page for Russian President Vladimir Putin is fully operational with 1.5 million followers.
One tweet is a seemingly inoffensive posting.
“Vladimir Putin discussed the special military operation to protect Donbass with Prime Minister of Israel Naftali Bennett…”
There are also links (which I advise against trying to access) to readouts of phone calls to various world leaders and photos of Putin sitting very close to Russian politicians. He does not sit at the giant table as he does with foreign visitors and his own generals.
Of course, since the whole world knows what’s happening it certainly is offensive. Nobody really believes Putin is protecting anyone. But this one passes through Twitter’s censors unimpeded.
On the Russian embassy account in the U.S., there are propaganda messages that are demonstrably bogus and other retweets including one from the Chinese embassy in the U.S. blaming the U.S. most of the world’s wars. (Of course, they were careful to leave off World War II, the war in which the intervention of the U.S. saved both Russia and the Chinese).
Want to read about Russia’s statement recognizing the so-called “independence of Donetsk and Lugansk,” both of which happen to be in the sovereign nation of Ukraine? Just click on the official “Russia and NATO” page. There’s plenty of more propaganda there for you to view as well. Still, not banned by Twitter.
If an international flavor is for you, click on the Russian embassy account in the UK. On this page you will be fed a dose of anti-Ukrainian falsehoods and even a tweet condemning a “media censorship (presumably from the west) on an unprecedented scale.” Yes, Russia is suddenly a pro-free speech country.
On the same page, you will learn from Russian foreign minister, Sergeĭ Viktorovich Lavrov, that “it is the policy of the Washington-led ‘collective west’ which is to blame for the fact that the Kiev (Russian spelling) regime has been at war with its own people since 2014.”
Never mind that 2014 was the year Russia last invaded Ukraine, installed puppets in the eastern part of Ukraine. and stole Crimea.
On the Russian Mission in Geneva page, you can read of how Russia wants you to know “neo-Nazism, nationalism, and hatred towards Russia (represented by a Russian flag emoji) was forced on the Ukrainian society and eventually led to the #DonbassTragedy.”
The Russian embassy in Australia asks that you kindly “communicate in a decent manner. In accordance with our moderation policy (the) embassy reserves the right to remove any derogatory or obscene content…” Presumably they could be offended.
Yet, the page contains graphic postings related to alleged “war crimes” by Ukraine and is replete with much of the same propaganda appearing on other Russian official Twitter accounts.
On Russia’s United Nations account, there is a mention of “10 years” of “aggression” by Ukraine, and denunciations of Ukraine’s “violation of fundamental rights of people in eastern Ukraine.”
One striking tweet denounces Ukrainian actions about keeping women and children from being safely evacuated.
“(Ukraine) Armed Forced (sic) do not let civilians out of #Mariupol, keeping them, including women and children, in one of local schools. They force back all those who try to leave the city via the established #humanitarian corridors.”
The question for the Twitter censors who find offenses everywhere is will a threshold be met when they are sufficiently offended and moved to eliminate these propaganda bulletin boards or at least label horribly false or misleading postings?
Twitter chose its method of handling those whose free speech they do not agree with by deleting them. When will Russia feel this pain?