purge of the right on social media was once a slow trickle, with
high-profile bans happening only occasionally, and then subsiding. With
just three months until the midterm elections, the Masters of the
Universe in Silicon Valley have turned online censorship into a cascade.
this month, Alex Jones was blacklisted on virtually every major social
media service, including Apple podcasts, Spotify, YouTube, Facebook, and
even Pinterest and Linkedin. Following pressure from CNN and Media
Matters, Twitter eventually followed suit with a week-long suspension.
few days after the mass-purge of Jones’ accounts, Twitter permanently
banned libertarian commentator Gavin McInnes, and the official accounts
of his grassroots organization the Proud Boys, on bogus charges of
few days later, Patreon, which has been ramping
up its censorship of right-wingers (usually
based on unsupported accusations of violence-promotion similar to those
used by Twitter), kicked off Islam critic Robert Spencer, founder of
Jihad Watch. It later emerged that Mastercard had pressured
Patreon into making the call.
last night, Twitter went on another mass-purge of right-wingers, with
multiple conservative personalities reporting that their follower count
had dropped by hundreds overnight. Among those purged was the account of Vey,
a graphics designer who previously produced
artwork for Breitbart News. He provided Breitbart with a screenshot of
progressive activists targeting his account for mass-reporting prior to
tech CEOs like Twitter’s Jack Dorsey resolutely
maintain that they do not discriminate on the
basis of political views. In an election year, it would be suicidal to
claim otherwise. But the mountain of evidence contradicting them renders
their well-rehearsed media talking points almost comical.
list of the conservatives, right-wingers and other critics of
progressivism who have been kicked off at least one major online service
is huge. Tommy Robinson (banned by Twitter), Gavin McInnes (banned by
Twitter), Lauren Southern (banned by Patreon, Stripe), Britanny
Pettibone (banned by Patreon), Proud Boys USA (banned by Twitter),
Sargon of Akkad (banned by Twitter), Roger Stone (banned by Twitter),
Milo Yiannopolous (banned by Twitter), Hunter Avallone (banned by
Twitter), Prager University (censored by YouTube), congressional
candidate Elizabeth Heng (campaign ads banned by Facebook and Twitter),
Pamela Geller (repeatedly kicked off Facebook), Alex Jones (banned by
almost every social media platform).
individuals all had hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions of
followers on their social media accounts prior to being banned. Their
social media platforms served as organizing hubs for petitions,
fundraisers, rallies, and other political activities of the grassroots
right. The loss of their social media accounts will have a major impact
on the ability of conservatives and right-wingers to organize its online
supporters for the U.S. midterm elections and beyond.
left, meanwhile, is virtually unrestricted in its ability to amplify its
voice on social media. On the same day that it purged hundreds of
accounts that followed prominent conservatives on social media, it verified Sarah
Jeong, the newly-minted New
York Times editorial board member who rose to infamy for
using Twitter to engage in racist diatribes against white people.
described whites as “groveling goblins” who “mark up the internet with
their opinions like dogs pissing on fire hydrants,” and boasted of
feeling “joy” when being “cruel to old white men.” Not only did Twitter
decline to ban her for hate speech, they didn’t even ask her to delete
the offending tweets. And then they verified her — after her
tweets became the subject of international attention.
power imbalance on the most influential technology platforms on the
internet is sure to have an impact on the midterm elections. One side of
politics is allowed to mobilize online without being impeded, while the
other is not.
over a year, Democrats and the mainstream media have been caterwauling
about Russian social media interference in the 2016 election. Yet, as
even the Washington
Post admitted, Russia spent a minuscule
sum on Facebook ads in 2016. Voters observing
the ads, according to research conducted by an academic who is no fan of
unlikely to have been affected. If Russia’s goal was to sow panic
in American politics then they’ve succeeded, largely thanks to the
Democrats. But direct influence on voters? Not so much.
real attempt to bias the outcome of an election hasn’t come from beyond
America’s borders, but from the San Francisco Bay Area. Shamed by
Democrats and the Media for “letting
Trump win” in 2016, social media companies have
responded by utterly crippling the ability of the president’s supporters
to organize on the web.
libertarians say “build your own platforms” — but replacing even if
replacing Google, Twitter, and Facebook were possible (and that’s unlikely),
it’s a project that would take many years, possibly over a decade, to
complete. How many election cycles could Silicon Valley influence by
campaign manager Brad Parscale, who masterminded the president’s digital
operations in 2020, understands the problem. In an op-ed for
Examiner last week, Parscale says “big tech is
becoming big brother.”
we are seeing in Big Tech is the inherent totalitarian impulse of the
Left come into full focus,” writes Parscale. “The Left is losing at the
ballot box, and there are some signs it is starting to lose the culture
war too. The free and open Internet has been indispensable in spreading
conservative ideas, and it was indispensable in getting Donald Trump
elected president — and now the Left wishes to destroy it.”
they want to save themselves, the rest of the Republican party must
realize that the tech giants that have come to dominate so much of our
not the same as Christian bakers, and are crying out for
regulation. Now is not the time for free-market platitudes. Democracy
itself is at risk.
Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News.
You can follow him on
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him on Facebook. Email tips and suggestions to email@example.com.