Twitter supposedly has very strict guidelines for how people can be described by its users. Not getting it right, according to their standards can get you punished. We know that all too well at The Daily Citizen. We have been blocked from the site for simply referring to newly confirmed Assistant Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine as precisely what he had been widely lauded for in hundreds of press stories: “a transgender woman, that is, a man who believes he is a woman.” There is no plainer or more precise way to describe what a trans woman is. For that is the very definition of being trans. But using that definition has us banned.
But Twitter told Newsweek this week, that a tweet referring to Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, the Boulder shooter who killed 10 people on Monday, as a “white Christian terrorist” does not violate the social network’s misinformation policy. This admission by Twitter, when the clear discrepancy was brought to their attention by a major media outlet, is simply remarkable because there are no facts that point to any of these words being accurately descriptive of the crazed gunman.
Alissa is clearly not white and his own Facebook page indicated he is Muslim. Other reputable news sources confirm his Muslim faith. And no information has been released to date for his motives. So, such a description is clearly incorrect.
However, Newsweek reports Twitter officially told them in an email this week, “The Tweets referenced are not in violation of the Twitter Rules” for truthfulness and accuracy. Newsweek explained, “Many Twitter users assumed the shooter was white before his name was released by police in Boulder, Colorado.” They also noted, “Those tweets backfired when police named Alissa, whose family immigrated from Syria and whose now-deleted Facebook pages suggested he was a Muslim,” adding, “Many conservatives accused the left-wing Twitter users of race-baiting.”
Newsweek pointed out in their story that “White shooters have accounted for 66 of 121 mass shootings that have occurred from 1982 to 2021, according to the German statistical data firm Statista.”
Twitter certainly seems to have differing scales on who it acts against regarding truthfulness and how people are described. And those inconsistencies cannot be serving the social media behemoth well in the long run. It is one of the reasons Twitter’s CEO, Jack Dorsey, was called to appear before Congress just this week to answer additional bi-partisan questions about the company’s questionable editorial fairness.
Photo from Boulder Police Department