Irish citizens – no matter what side they are on in the current referendum battle being engaed over the future of marriage – should be outraged by tech giant Twitter’s interference in their democracy.
At an event attended by Prime Minister Enda Kenny, Managing Director of Twitter Ireland, Stephen McIntyre claimed that a ‘No’ vote to prevent the redefinition of marriage would be bad for Ireland’s international reputation. You can be quite sure he did not say that without checking first with head office.
In response, a spokesperson for the Iona Institute, an Irish social values think-tank, Ben Conroy said “I wonder if Mr Kenny would be so keen about multinationals getting involved in Irish politics if they were endorsing particular political parties?
“I think a lot of eybrows would be raised if Twitter said ‘vote for Renua (the new rival to Kenny’s political party), it’s good for business’ and threatened that voting for another party could somehow hurt our international reputation.
“Twitter’s clear implication is that if we vote No it will be bad for business and bad for our international reputation”.
He continued: “The most powerful economy in Europe, Germany, does not have same-sex marriage so the idea that voting No would be bad for business is clearly ridiculous”.
He went on “Stephen McIntyre is clearly right that ‘individuals perform better when they feel respected and supported’. Presumably Twitter employees feel completely free to publicly support a No vote without any consequences for them? Inclusion should be a value that applies to all, not just to people who agree with Twitter about redefining marriage”.
In the past couple of days some Twitter subscribers are asking themselves whether the price the social media giant is asking to let them use its facility is not taking them beyond the pale of patriotism. The absentee landlords of the 19th century were a scourge they thought the country had escaped from. Are they now going to be replaced by the faceless corporations of Palo Alto and other West Coast enclaves of political correctness?