Back in December, Twitter took a bold step to purge the social media platform of racist, anti-Semitic, and bigoted accounts, sending a signal that they wouldn't tolerate hateful rhetoric on their website.
Somehow they missed the memo on Louis Farrakhan, who is now at the center of attention as several Democrats and organizers of the Women's March attempt to distance themselves after heaping praise on him in years past.
Despite the fact that Twitter suspended and ultimately banned former congressional candidate Paul Nehlen for espousing racist and anti-Semitic posts and memes, they've given a pass to the Nation of Islam leader who, in his sermons, refers to Jews as "Satanic."
In fact, Farrakhan maintains his blue check mark on his Twitter account, which connotes authenticity. However, for others, it carries a label of endorsement from Twitter.
Despite this misconception, it's problematic that we still have this double standard. If you sat down Farrakhan and Nehlen in a room and forced them to get along, they'd arguably find common ground on how much they hate Jews.
Free speech purists might rebuke Twitter's move as a campaign to silence conservative thought given the fact that many of the higher profile accounts that were banned are supportive of President Trump. Others might oppose Twitter's effort to ban any account whatsoever regardless of their viewpoints or posts to maintain a line of consistency about having open dialogue.
The desire for free speech on every platform is noble and earnest as the motive behind it is to promote the best and brightest ideas. However, on Twitter, oftentimes the worst ideas — especially fake news — hold the advantage over the best ideas and, most importantly, the truth.
If Twitter is serious about banishing hateful views from its platform, they need to be consistent. Someone with Farrakhan's following — which hovers under half a million — should not have the type of platform he does to spew his bigoted rhetoric. Sure, he's protected under the First Amendment and has every right to say what he wants under the protections of the law, but that doesn't mean society, with particular respect to the private sector and Silicon Valley, should continue to give him a pass.