IN A TESTIMONY to Congress last fall, for example, Jack Dorsey the chief executive of Twitter, seemed to call his platform a -

A public square several times, even though he also noted that the company was within its rights to remove content.

''WE can only stand for freedom of expression if people feel safe to express themselves in the first place,'' he said in an interview with Wired magazine soon after.

''A lot of people come to Twitter and they don't see a service. They see what looks like a public square and they have the same expectation as they have of a  public square, and that is what we have to get right.''

But then in February on the Sam Harris podcast ''Making Sense,'' Mr. Dorsey veered into an even more convoluted explanation :

''Ultimately, I don't think we can be this neutral, passive platform anymore because of the threats of violence, because of doxxing, because of troll armies intending to silence someone, especially more marginalized members of the society,'' he said

''We have to take on an approach of impartiality - meaning that we need very crisp and clear rules, we need case studies and case law for how we take action on those rules, and any evolutions of that we're transparent and upfront about.''

He continued : ''I do believe that a lot of people come to Twitter  with a expectation of a public square , and freedom of expression is certainly one of those expectations. But what we're seeing is people weaponize that to shut others' right to that down. And that is what we're trying to protect. ultimately.''

It's not hard to imagine why anyone, especially a twitch tapper like President Trump, would respond with : Say what?

The strategy over at Facebook - which also long defended the presence of its most noxious users before finally barring several last week - is similarly as clear as mud.

But let me break down for those who have gotten used to the chaos :

Social media companies are private entities that can moderate any of the content that floods their platforms. They can kick off users who violate whatever policies they have in place, change those policies anytime they like and be wildly inconsistent in how they enforce them.

The honor and serving of the latest thinking on Social Media Muddle, continues. The World Students Society thanks author Kara Swisher.


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