Ohio Senate hopeful Josh Mandel is crying foul for Twitter “censoring” the politician on Thursday, but Twitter says Mandel simply violated its rules.
Earlier this week, Mandel — who is a Republican with conservative views — posted a poll on Twitter, asking “POLL: Of the various types of illegals flooding across the border, will more crimes be committed by…” His poll choices were “Muslim Terrorists” or “Mexican Gangbangers.”
Twitter removed the poll, prompting Mandel to post on Facebook about how he was being “censored.”
“Conservatives everywhere should be frightened by the ongoing censorship by Twitter, Facebook, Google and the liberal media,” he writes in part. “Big tech should never have the power to decide what speech is allowed in America and I won’t ever shy away from holding politicians accountable for their terrible policies.”
Mandel attached an image of a statement chastising Twitter and other entities he deems “liberal.”
“Today, Twitter took the extraordinary step of limiting U.S. Senate candidate Josh Mandel’s account due to his ongoing criticism of Joe Biden’s border crisis. This continues a disturbing pattern of censorship of conservative voices by big tech companies and liberal mainstream media,” he writes.
But Twitter did actually not “censor” Mandel’s account, as noted in the screenshot that Mandel's Facebook post includes. The social media platform only temporarily limited Mandel’s account features for 12 hours for violating its rules against hateful conduct. During that time, Mandel could only read tweets or send direct messages to his followers rather than tweet broadly or “like” other accounts’ posts.
Twitter’s rules, which all users agree to upon creating an account, state “You may not promote violence against, threaten, or harass other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease.” Read Twitter’s full hateful conduct policy, all of Twitter’s rules and its terms of service.
Mandel has posted to Twitter multiple times since having all features of his account reinstated. And contrary to Mandel’s claim that social media outlets “censor” conservative views, Facebook has not removed Mandel’s post, as of March 19.
In recent years, “Illegals” has become viewed as a racist and inaccurate term for people who are in the United States without documentation. The term often is associated with perpetuating whiteness. The Associated Press Stylebook removed “illegal immigrants” in 2013, instead asking writers to use “illegally” along with a verb (as in “crossed the border illegally”). The Library of Congress stopped using “illegal alien” in 2016.
Likewise, “Muslim terrorists” and “Mexican gangbangers” perpetuate harmful stereotypes about people who are Muslim or Mexican, or those who are thought to fit those identities.
Mandel has announced his intent to run for the Ohio Senate seat that Sen. Rob Portman will vacate in 2022. He is known for anti-Muslim propaganda and for supporting former U.S. President Donald Trump. CityBeat’s sister newspaper Cleveland Scene recently investigated Mandel for a cover story.
Read Mandel's statement and Twitter's reasoning in the Facebook post below.