Buterin and Winklevosses Address Twitter Censorship Battle
Ethereum creator, Vitalik Buterin, and Gemini exchange founders, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, expressed their opinions on recent efforts at social media censorship.
“I’ve talked before about the rise of corporations regulating governments but here we have Twitter soft-censoring the U.S. president on the grounds of incitement of violence,” Buterin said in a May 29 tweet referencing recent Twitter posts from U.S. President Donald Trump.
“This is a major escalation and could be a new chapter in relations between corporations and states,” Buterin added.
A tangled mess of tweets, executive orders, and events
Expectations yesterday saw Trump signing an executive order relating to media censorship. Trump followed through on signing the order, Bloomberg detailed on May 29.
Seven minutes before midnight on May 28, Trump tweeted on the protests in Minnesota over the death of George Floyd. Noting a need for better leadership in Minneapolis, Trump said he would send the United States National Guard to the city if necessary.
Immediately after, the president added the following tweet — which Twitter flagged, citing a breach of the platform’s rules:
“These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!”
Buterin said people should pay attention
Trump’s posts, as well as Twitter’s responsive action, ignited Buterin’s previously noted comments on the scene. “This is significant and could have far-reaching consequences and you should pay attention,” Buterin said in a comment his original tweet, in response to a community member’s question.
Buterin clarified he does not endorse provoking violence. A better system might include “social media designs that naturally create selection pressures that favor positive content, and do so in a way that’s credibly neutral,” according to Buterin.
The Ethereum creator also noted that high-ranking government authority figures will have a large audience, regardless of the social media platform, simply due to their status.
Cameron Winklevoss against censorship efforts
In relation to Twitter’s recent fact-checking escapade, Gemini exchange co-founder and early Bitcoiner Cameron Winklevoss tweeted a statement of opposition. “Imagine if a phone company fact-checked your calls or the post office fact checked your mail?” he said on May 29.
Cameron’s brother Tyler also spoke out against the action, playing on a common quote from George Orwell’s 1945 book, Animal Farm. “All tweets are equal, but some tweets are more equal than others,” Tyler tweeted.
Twin brothers Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss made a name for their crypto exchange and its efforts working with regulators. In a recent podcast episode, the pair expressed the need for rules, but also included points on over-regulation.