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Twitter Suspends Washington Examiner Contributor for Tweeting ‘Learn to Code’

CANNES, FRANCE - JUNE 21: Co-chair / founder of Twitter Jack Dorsey attends the ' #SheInspiresMe: Twitter celebrates female voices & visionaries ' Event at Cannes Lions on June 21, 2017 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Francois Durand/Getty Images for Twitter)
Francois Durand/Getty Images for Twitter; Edit: BNN
ALLUM BOKHARI

Twitter suspended and then reinstated a conservative contributor for the Washington Examiner, Tyler Grant, after he tweeted “learn to code” in the context of a discussion about automation and the oft-debated Universal Basic Income (UBI).

Grant’s account was reinstated within 24 hours. The suspension came just days after Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey publicly admitted that his platform was “probably way too aggressive” in banning conservatives for using the phrase “learn to code,” which was briefly used mainly by conservative and populist users to mock out-of-work left-wing journalists online.

Defenders of the expression note that the phrase’s popularity is likely owed to a perceived indifference by metropolitan, left-wing journalists at the crisis of American blue-collar jobs. Headlines suggesting that out-of-work blue collar workers might learn to code are not uncommon.

The Washington Examiner contributor, however, notes that he was not using the phrase to mock any particular individual. Instead, he was using it in the context of a debate about the universal basic income, automation, and the technological displacement of jobs. Indeed, Grant says he was actually criticizing people who suggested journalists should learn to code.

In a comment to Breitbart News, Grant said “I wanted to comment on the fact that individuals who claimed journalists who lost their jobs should learn to code are going to look very foolish when in 5 years the same entry level  jobs for coders they were mocking journalists to take are going to be replaced by automation.”

“The discussion I had hoped [would] lead to a broader discussion of universal basic income — however, Twitter policing a phrase without context stifles meaningful debate and [it] needs to take a reflective look at what it is they are hoping to achieve by banning particular phrases or words.”

Breitbart News has reached out to Twitter for comment.

Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. You can follow him on TwitterGab.ai and add him on Facebook. Email tips and suggestions to allumbokhari@protonmail.com.

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