(LifeSiteNews) – Social media giant Twitter locked the congressional account of Republican Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana over the weekend for accurately referring to top Biden administration health official Richard “Rachel” Levine as a man.
Levine, the “transgender” Assistant Health & Human Services (HHS) Secretary, was promoted to the rank of four-star admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps (PHSCC) last week, sparking various adoring headlines in the mainstream press about the “historic” nature of the promotion.
“The title of first female four-star officer gets taken by a man,” Banks lamented in a tweet, for which Twitter suspended him for allegedly violating its “Hateful Conduct Policy’s” prohibition on “targeted misgendering” of “transgender individuals.” That tweet has since been removed; another tweet by Banks expressing similar sentiments remains live:
Calling someone that was born and lived as a man for 54 years the first "female" four-star officer is an insult to every little girl who dreams of breaking glass ceilings one day. https://t.co/bHKmJbE6cA
— Jim Banks (@RepJimBanks) October 19, 2021
“My tweet was a statement of fact,” Banks said Saturday. “Big Tech doesn’t have to agree with me, but they shouldn’t be able to cancel me. If they silence me, they will silence you. We can’t allow Big Tech to prevent us from telling the truth. When Republicans take back the House next year, we must restore honesty to our public forums and hold Big Tech accountable.”
Banks’ personal Twitter account remains active; he says he will be using it in place of his official one to communicate until further notice.
Twitter has suspended my official account for posting a statement of FACT.
I won’t back down.
I’ll be posting on my personal account for the time being.
Please Retweet this message and follow me -> @Jim_Banks.
Big Tech must be held accountable!
— Jim Banks (@Jim_Banks) October 23, 2021
Several GOP lawmakers spoke out in defense of Banks and against Twitter’s actions, in the process noting the social media giant’s double standards:
Twitter is fine with hosting the Mullahs in Iran. The Taliban? No problem.
But Twitter just cancelled my friend @RepJimBanks.
Remember this day when we end Big Tech’s silencing and censorship of conservatives.
— Rep. Darrell Issa (@repdarrellissa) October 25, 2021
Twitter is censoring @RepJimBanks for refusing to go along with the Biden administration’s performance theater. @Jim_Banks
— Sen. Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) October 25, 2021
The nameless Big Tech censors strike again. @Jim_Banks was banned from Twitter this week for acknowledging someone’s biological gender.
It’s startling that Twitter’s practices are more aligned with Communist China’s censorship than America’s great tradition of free speech.
— Rep. Claudia Tenney (@RepTenney) October 25, 2021
Online communications giants like Twitter, Facebook, and Google have grown steadily more aggressive over the past several years in discriminating against conservative speech under the guise of policing “hate” and “misinformation,” leading many conservatives to advocate government intervention.
While many on the Right differ as to what form that intervention should take, the approach that arguably enjoys the most support is reforming Section 230 of the federal Communications Decency Act, which exempts internet companies from liability for the content third parties publish on their websites, such as user posts.
Conservatives argue that while social media companies may have a legal right to decide what content to allow on their platforms, by exercising subjective preference for some views and claims over others they have forfeited their claim to what Section 230 gives them above and beyond that legal right. Some favor abolishing Section 230 entirely; others instead want to amend it to make immunity conditional on a more hands-off approach to political speech.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has argued that Big Tech’s current brazenness is partially due to judicial precedent that has misinterpreted Section 230, and that the provision was never intended to “protect any decision to edit or remove content” made by platforms.