Twitter classifies the word “illegal immigrant” as hate speech


In a conservative organization’s efforts to educate the American public about the high cost of illegal immigration to our society, they took to social media. However, the group soon found out that referring to those who sneak into our country as “illegal” is a no-no.

The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), a Washington, D.C.-based immigration research group, was willing to pay the social media outlet to promote posts that would explain how illegal immigrants are a “large net fiscal drain because of their education levels and this fact drives the results,” according to one tweet. The quote included scientific research to drive home the fact that this is “real news”.

However, the group’s request to promote three messages regarding illegal immigration was flatly denied by Twitter, because using the word “illegal” to refer to immigrants violates the company’s hate speech rules.

Organizations pay Twitter to re-up previously posted tweets in the form of promoted content. The promoted tweets function as ads, allowing businesses or advocacy groups to push their content out to a wider group of Twitter users.

According to Twitter’s ad policy, promoted content cannot include “hate speech or advocacy” against anyone belonging to a number of protected categories, including refugees and immigrants. The CIS tweets, which further noted that illegal immigration is actually “discrimination against citizens in favor of illegals” and “The fiscal cost created by illegal immigrants of $746.3b compares to total a cost of deportation of $124.1b,” would have possibly triggered some Twitter users into needing a “safe space”; and Twitter will apparently turn down cash-in-hand customers to make sure no one gets offended.

All three tweets (see below) were rejected on the grounds of “hate,” says executive director Mark Krikorian.

Last week’s violent rampage in Charlottesville has ramped up the left’s objections to “hate” and opposition opinions as they attempt to censor everything from social media to the nation’s Confederate War monuments, because facts are hurting feelings. This censorship is indicative of the times in which we are living.

Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince told CNBC that he expelled The Daily Stormer because he “woke up in a bad mood and decided someone shouldn’t be allowed on the Internet,” but he acknowledged that such power could be abused to tamp down on the speech of other individuals or groups decidedly less extreme than the Stormer.

That looks to be the case with Twitter’s rejection of the CIS tweets — even objective but inconvenient facts about illegal immigration still run afoul of the site’s hate speech censors. As Krikorian noted in a blog post Thursday, the case offers a small but illustrative example of why internet companies may need to be regulated like public utilities not to restrict speech, but to allow it.

“The internet is now a utility more important than phones or cable TV,” Krikorian wrote. “If people can be denied access to it based on the content of their ideas and speech (rather than specific, illegal acts), why not make phone service contingent on your political views? Or mail delivery?”

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