The censor’s sword pierces deeply into the heart of free expression. –Earl Warren
The left in general, and social media in particular, seems to be stuck in an infinite loop. They appear to be operating under the rule that if enough “Nazis” are silenced, if enough discussion is shut down, if enough of “those people” are banned from the debate, then, somehow, Free Speech (™) will finally be achieved.
The complete idiocy of this illogical and useless approach is completely lost on them.
Consider this comment from a Twitter executive:
“We stand for freedom of expression and people being able to see all sides of any topic,” Ed Ho, Twitter’s vice president of engineering, said in a blog post Tuesday.
There are at least 360,000 former users who might take issue with that statement. Twitter has suspended 360,000 users over the last year, is actively working to make certain tweets “less visible,” and is adding measures to ensure banned users can’t return to the site. Valiant, He Endured: 1... Best Price: null Buy New $3.99 (as of 02:45 EDT - Details)
The social media giant said it has begun identifying people who have been banned for abusive behavior and it will stop them from creating new accounts. The company said its changes, which also include a new “safe search” feature, will be implemented in the coming weeks…Twitter said it’s creating a “safe search” feature that removes tweets with potentially sensitive content and tweets from blocked and muted accounts from search results. The tweets will still exist on Twitter if people look for them, but won’t appear in general search results…Twitter is also making some replies less visible so only the most relevant conversations surface.
One of the first to be banned from Twitter was Robert Stacy McCain, who still has not been informed of the details of his crime.
A year ago, my @rsmccain account was banned from Twitter because I had been criticizing feminists. I’d been on Twitter since 2009 and my account had tens of thousands of followers, but the claim that I was “participating in targeted abuse” was offered to justify my banishment, even though Twitter never said what the alleged “abuse” was, who had been “targeted,” or how I had been “participating.” This act of censorship exposed how Twitter had decided, in an election year, to surrender control of its platform to a crew of feminist social justice warriors (SJWs) designated the “Trust and Safety Council.”
“Targeted Abuse” was the same explanation for the suspension of “He He Silly Comics,” after just two weeks.
…outrage is building over increasingly Orwellian suspensions of conservatives – the latest being a 2 week old account which was apparently way too honest about Social Justice Warriors (activist idiots). “He He Silly Comics” (@sillyfunnycomic) set up shop over at Twitter on January 20th and began tweeting hilarious comics which immediately began picking up steam. Grow or Die: The Good ... Best Price: null Buy New $4.99 (as of 03:05 EST - Details)
Obviously, Twitter has not gone far enough in quashing the hate and abuse on their system; over two hundred people have signed a petition demanding that Twitter delete the accounts of “five hundred Nazis.” This might explain the banning of people like Ricky Vaughn and Milo Yiannopoulos. Having well over a million followers is not enough to protect your account from suspension, as Twitter had no problem deleting the Meninist account.
Twitter’s rules are amorphous. People can be banned without even realizing they’ve broken them. Andrew Torba, the founder of Gab.ai (a competitor to Twitter), created a personal account to reserve his name and prevent people from trying to impersonate him. The account had a single post, and was banned by Twitter for violating their rules.
Even the account of President Trump is not safe.
So, obviously, any serious threat, any level of harassment, is enough to get a Twitter account suspended, then?
Not so fast.
Apparently, this “zero tolerance” policy isn’t quite so “zero.”
In the 12 days since Donald Trump took the oath of office, a steady stream of social media posts have called for the new president’s assassination.
The posts are pretty basic and many are jokes or sarcastic or hyperbolic — but there are a lot of them. In a Dataminr search of Twitter posts since Inauguration Day containing the phrase “assassinate Trump” more than 12,000 tweets came up.
The U.S. Secret Service, however, or even Twitter and Facebook themselves, doesn’t seem to be jumping onto many of these posts. When we asked several users about their recent “assassinate Trump” posts, all of them said they hadn’t been contacted by anyone about their post and they all remain up..As Twitter said in an email statement, “The Twitter Rules prohibit threats of violence, and we will suspend accounts violating that policy.” Facebook similarly said under their “credible threats policy” they remove posts showing intent to kill the president.
Yet thousands of posts that use the words “kill” and “assassinate” remain up — most of them targeting the president no less. The platforms can’t seem to keep up with the influx of death threats and don’t seem to be upholding their own policies as strictly as they would like.
Tweets targeting President Trump, or even people supportive of him, seem to receive a different level of scrutiny. Even threats against the children of a journalist aren’t enough to get an account suspended.
Cassandra Fairbanks, a reporter who formerly identified as a Bernie-supporting Democrat but later switched her allegiance to Trump, received the threat from a group identifying itself as the ‘Arizona Antifa Front’.
“Some of us know you very personally cass, and know just how afraid you can really get. Be careful doll, for ur duaghters sake,” the tweet read. The word ‘daughter’ was misspelled. SJWs Always Lie: Takin... Best Price: $6.48 Buy New $14.99 (as of 08:25 EST - Details)
The account then sent out a threat to conservative commentators and Trump supporters that their children would be targeted too.
“u better believe we have no prblm threatening ur leaders and their kids. Watch ur back alt-reichers. No one’s off limits,” read another tweet…
While numerous alt-right Twitter users have been permanently suspended in recent weeks for expressing unpopular opinions or engaging in alleged “harassment,” the tech giant presumably doesn’t think that threatening people’s children constitutes harassment since the Antifa account is still active.
And finally, Twitter has hit on the perfect way to punish those who misbehave online–give them a timeout.
Some users are receiving notices their accounts are limited for 12 hours, meaning only people who follow them can see their tweets or receive notifications. When they are retweeted, people outside their network can’t see those retweets.
Some speculate these limitations are automatic based on keywords, but there is no hard evidence.
This would be fine if this was used uniformly to clamp down on harassment, but it appears to be used on people, simply for using politically incorrect language.
Twitter is not the only social media site carrying out a “purge” of users not on the Left. Facebook, Reddit, GoFundMe, Meetup, and a variety of others have made it perfectly clear that libertarians, conservatives, alt-right, and anyone who supports freedom of speech in general, are simply not welcome there–in the name of inclusion, tolerance, and freedom of expression, of course. Perchance to Scream Check Amazon for Pricing.
In response, the alt-tech movement is continuing to flourish.
Gab (a replacement for Twitter) is growing by leaps and bounds, and is currently testing both an Android app and GabTV, a challenge to Twitter’s Periscope. Twitter is actually borrowing their concepts and advances. Users banned by Reddit and Twitter are flocking to the free-speech alternative. These are amazing accomplishments for a donation-funded, bootstrap beta test that’s barely six months old.
Infogalactic (a replacement “fork” of Wikipedia) is also improving. They’re adding a Drudge Report-style news aggregator page, and using the existing discussion areas to develop a replacement for Reddit.
This bizarre “freedom of speech for me but not for thee” mentality isn’t restricted to the internet–it’s showing up in the real world, as well. A student at Berkeley–who also happens to be an “undocumented immigrant”–praised the “so-called violence” of the protest for stopping the violence of Milo’s speech:
My campus did nothing to stand between my undocumented community and the hateful hands of radicalized white men — the AntiFas did. A peaceful protest was not going to cancel that event, just like numerous letters from faculty, staff, Free Speech Movement veterans and even donors did not cancel the event. Only the destruction of glass and shooting of fireworks did that. The so-called “violence” against private property that the media seems so concerned with stopped white supremacy from organizing itself against my community.
Nesrine Malik, a journalist for the London Guardian, suggests that violence against racists should be condoned, and she’s not the only one. Five op-eds published by The Daily Californian declare that the Berkeley riots were perfectly justified.
“These were not acts of violence. They were acts of self defense,” wrote queer activist and former columnist Neil Lawrence. “And to Yiannopoulos and all your friends who invited you and hosted you and defended your ‘right’ to speak: I recommend you learn your lesson. Our shields are raised against you. No one will protect us? We will protect ourselves.”
A popular image circulating on the internet depicts Captain America and Indiana Jones punching Nazis alongside someone sucker-punching Richard Spencer, declaring that punching Nazis is an American tradition. Obviously, then, it’s perfectly fine to punch someone, provided you call them a Nazi first. Whether or not that person actually is an Aryan supremacist, nationalist, and socialist may not even be relevant.
Einstein defined insanity as repeating the same actions over and over while expecting a different result. What then should we call the practice of repeating the same action in the name of reaching a goal that is, by definition, the opposite of the one stated?