Twitter rejects ads using the words ‘illegal alien’ and ‘criminal alien,’ calling that ‘hate speech’

By Troy Worden | The Daily Signal

Twitter rejected four tweets from a Washington-based immigration research center’s advertising campaign as “hate speech” Tuesday because they used the legal terms “illegal alien” and “criminal alien.”

The rejected tweets by the Center for Immigration Studies, proposed for its Twitter Ads campaign to attract more followers, generally provided a statistic or factual statement and pressed for an immigration-related policy.

One tweet included a video from The Daily Caller news organization depicting immigrants illegally crossing the border and said the video “reminds us why we need a wall” and “the best defense is always to prevent individuals from entering in the first place.”

Another rejected tweet from the Center for Immigration Studies referred to a news story about arrests made by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and provided a statistic:

In a press release Wednesday, the immigration research group said Twitter approved “several other” tweets for the Twitter Ads campaign. When the center asked why the social media company had rejected the four tweets, it said it received this response from the company:

We’ve reviewed your tweets and confirmed that it is ineligible to participate in the Twitter Ads program at this time based on our Hateful Content policy. Violating content includes, but is not limited to, that which is hate speech or advocacy against a protected group.

The immigration center said its motive was “to promote specific tweets in order to drive traffic” to its website, not to violate Twitter’s “Hateful Content Policy.”

The term “illegal alien” is a precise term in law, Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation, wrote in a recent commentary for The Daily Signal decrying politically correct language  about illegal immigration such as “undocumented immigrant”:

‘Alien’—rather than ‘immigrant’—is the correct legal term, since ‘alien’ is defined in 8 U.S.C. §1101 (a)(3) as ‘any person not a citizen or national of the United States.’

Precision in the law is a vital principle, since the exact words used in statutes, regulations, contracts, guidance documents, and policy statements can significantly affect how they are applied and interpreted.

Twitter did not respond to The Daily Signal’s request for comment.

Marguerite Telford, communications director at the Center for Immigration Studies, said in the group’s release:

Organizations of all kinds pay Twitter to promote specific tweets in order to drive traffic to an organization’s website. Twitter advertises that the ads ‘can get you more likes, amplify your message, and get more people talking about the things that matter to you most – your cause, project, business, or brand.’ This is exactly why the center selected these specific tweets to be placed as ads.

At a July congressional hearing on social media filtering practices, House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte said that social media platforms need to ‘do a better job explaining how they make decisions to filter content and the rationale for why they do so.’

We agree.

Image courtesy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection

3 thoughts on “Twitter rejects ads using the words ‘illegal alien’ and ‘criminal alien,’ calling that ‘hate speech’

  1. “…hate speech or advocacy against a protected group” – Illegal Aliens are a “Protected group”? If they are, what constitutes an unprotected group? Who decides these things? What, then is acceptable PC nomenclature for – illegal aliens? They’re not immigrants. If they were, they wouldn’t be illegal. Undocumented foreign nationals? People who shouldn’t be here?

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