Twitter seems to do some of its most devious work on the Lord’s Day. And for a tech titan that clearly sees itself as the new god of speech, perhaps that’s no accident.
This past Sunday, Twitter locked John Daniel Davidson, senior editor for The Federalist, out of his account for saying something that thousands of others — myself included — have said recently: That speaking the truth in this movement of transgender-driven madness will get you cancelled. Davidson said, “Big Tech will eventually silence everyone who dissents from their woke ideology. They’re not even trying to hide it anymore. If you say that Rachel Levine is a man, they will come after you. Doesn’t matter that Levine is in fact a man, truth is no defense.”
Famous last words. Shortly after pushing that blue button and releasing his thoughtcrimes into the Twitterverse, the blue bird app did exactly what Davidson predicted they would and shut him down. Truth, indeed, was no defense.
Unfortunately, at this point in the game, seeing another clear-eyed and truth-telling conservative get targeted by Big Tech is more of a “dog bites man” than a “man bites dog” story. So why bring attention to this? Well, what caught my eye, and what I want to direct your attention to, isn’t so much what Davidson said, but what Twitter said back — specifically what Twitter now demands of him, if he wants to be unfrozen.
Mollie Hemingway, the Federalist’s editor-in-chief, shared a screenshot of the offending tweet on Davidson’s behalf, and in the picture is what I assume to be the boilerplate script that Twitter delivers to anyone who violates their rules. It tells Davidson he must “Delete Tweet” for “violating one of our Rules.” And then — pay attention to this — Twitter tells him that “By clicking Delete, you acknowledge that your Tweet violated the Twitter Rules.” Right beneath that promise of absolution is the big, red “Delete” button — penance, in other words, is just a click away.
Perhaps because my Sundays revolve around my local church, when I saw Hemingway’s tweet and read that language, it struck me that much more was going on here than one might assume.
Look again, closely. Look at the wording of their inscription: “You acknowledge that your Tweet violated the Twitter rules.” This isn’t just managerial, it’s confessional. Twitter isn’t content to just accept that you delete the offending Tweet and agree to disagree on whether it really violated the rules or not. No, they’re extracting a confession of sin and demanding that you seek — and find — absolution through their ordained sacrament of “tweet deletion.”
I made this very same observation in response to Hemingway’s tweet, and it received quite a bit of engagement, which tells me that it struck a chord with many other social media users.
Whether you use Twitter or not, this is worth considering for a moment. We all, I trust, realize by now that social media sites like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Tik-Tok, and so forth, aren’t neutral communication tools that we employ however we please. Every time we log on, they are using us just as much, if not more, than we are using them. As the old adage goes, “If something is free, you’re the product.”
These days, it seems that Twitter is taking it one step further. You aren’t just the product — you’re the proselyte. And as they continue a tyrannical and one-directional crackdown on truth-tellers who refuse to bend the knee to the cultural Baal of transgender lies, they aren’t content to just use you for your data and ad-value. They also want to shape your moral and religious sensibilities, like a priest or a pastor.
One has to all but assume this is intentional. Consider that, when the high Twitter tribunal finds that you are in violation of their rules, they could go about correcting it in any number of ways. If they wanted to, they could simply inform you that you must “delete this tweet to receive full access back to your account.” There is no need to coerce agreement that the tweet in question was in violation…unless they are driving at something more than mere platform policing.
No, far from simply memory-holing the issue, they demand that you “acknowledge” that it indeed was a violation. You must agree with them, or else. Because when you “violate” their rules, it’s not just a contractual disagreement, it’s a sin. And sinners must be punished. Sinners don’t get to just “delete” the Tweet and move on — sinners must also confess their sins. Sinners must first agree that they are in error before there is any hope of restoration.
By violating their rules, you have broken the covenant. You are covered in guilt, weighed down by your verbal unrighteousness. In order to have any hope of freedom and new life, you must come, tweet in hand, to their digital confessional booth and say, “Bless me, Big Tech, for I have sinned.” They cannot allow for you to just delete the tweet without the confession because they demand that you learn from your crime. Enlightenment is just one acknowledgment-laden deletion away. Penance must be paid. It’s a twisted-Twitter version of David’s confession in Psalm 32:5, “Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.’ And you forgave the guilt of my sin.”
Except here, the confession isn’t offered, it’s extracted. After all, there is no absolution without confession. There is no hope for forgiveness without full participation in their liturgical reeducation. And it appears Twitter intends to wring that confession out of every transgressor with the not-so-subtle religious ritual of “acknowledgement of violation” baked into the deletion of offending tweets.
We’ve seen similar things before throughout world history. During Mao’s Cultural Revolution, the infamous “struggle sessions” were designed to produce similar results — confession of sin, at all costs. Peggy Noonan captured the spirit and aim of the sessions, writing:
“Dunce caps, sometimes wastebaskets, were placed on the victims’ heads, and placards stipulating their crimes hung from their necks. The victims were accused, berated, assaulted. Many falsely confessed in the vain hope of mercy. Were any “guilty”? It hardly mattered. Fear and terror were the point. A destroyed society is more easily dominated.”
“Many falsely confessed in the vain hope of mercy.” That’s exactly where we are today with Twitter. With Davidson. With the Babylon Bee. And countless others. Twitter demands that you confess, guilty or not, and then they will mete out mercy. They will restore full privileges and access to their church, I mean their platform; at least, that is, until your next transgression. Your next thoughtcrime. Your next sin. Then it’s back into the confessional booth you go. It’s catechetical — it’s teaching all of us “violators” what holy living looks like under the rubric of woke standards.
They have indeed made themselves the high priests of a new religion, and it is a religion of works-based righteousness. As a protestant Christian, in the lineage of Martin Luther, I of course reject this entire establishment. I won’t bend the knee to the “god of speech” and its effigy, the blue bird, because I have been commanded in Exodus 20:3 to have no other gods before the Lord. And I won’t seek forgiveness at the confessional booth of Big Tech. There is only one mediator between God and man, Jesus Christ, the righteous one (1 Timothy 2:5). Twitter might try to confuse us through its subtly religious language, but let’s keep this crystal clear: Forgiveness doesn’t come through deleting a tweet, it comes through repentance and faith.
So, let’s be honest about how social media is trying to catechize us, and trying to force us to worship, speak, and even confess, on their terms. They are no neutral tool. All of life is a battleground of gods — some of these sites, like Twitter, just seem to be embracing their false deity more obviously than most.