Last week, the Free Thought Project predicted that Big Tech and mainstream media would work together to usher in a new level of Orwellian censorship. This week, that happened.
After Donald Trump, the sitting president of the largest government in the world, was completely wiped from Facebook and Twitter by the censors at big tech, he moved to the largely conservative social media site Parler. Parler has been a haven for those who have been banned, deleted, or otherwise algorithmed into the memory hole by establishment media.
Users moved to Parler because the platform claimed not to censor their users and it was safe space for MAGA folks. For over a year, Parler has remained an open network that largely did not censor its pro-Trump users. However, all that has changed as censorship has gone to the extreme.
Earlier Monday morning, Amazon took down Parler from its web-hosting service. Amazon Web Services, or AWS said Parler had violated its terms of service given its inadequate content-moderation practices for failing to remove posts glorifying the recent riot at the U.S. Capitol.
“We’ve seen a steady increase in this violent content on your website, all of which violates our terms,” AWS wrote. “It’s clear that Parler does not have an effective process to comply with the AWS terms of service.”
The letter continued: “AWS provides technology and services to customers across the political spectrum, and we continue to respect Parler’s right to determine for itself what content it will allow on its site. However, we cannot provide services to a customer that is unable to effectively identify and remove content that encourages or incites violence against others. Because Parler cannot comply with our terms of service and poses a very real risk to public safety, we plan to suspend Parler’s account.”
Though Parler did have a system in place to remove calls for violence and content deemed inappropriate by the community, it is all but impossible to remove everything, which allowed AWS to simply come in and shut them down. It is indeed likely that similar posts exist all across Twitter and Facebook who never face any consequences.
Parler’s chief executive, John Matze, warned on Sunday on the site that the social network could be “unavailable on the Internet for up to a week as we rebuild from scratch.”
Amazon did not act alone in their move to silence those lambasted by the neoliberal establishment on Parler. Even if Parler is able to get back up and running on a server that will allow it, Apple and Google both joined in the censorship as well, booting the app entirely from their platforms.
This reaction by big tech was predictable as millions of people have been fleeing Facebook and Twitter and flocking to social media networks who do not censor them. But now, the “move to another platform” step has been taken away.
Silicon Valley defenders: If you don't like Big Tech's censorship, just start your own social media platform with rules you want.
Parler: OK, we did. We're the country's most popular app!
Amazon/Apple/Google: We're uniting to take you off the internet with our monopoly power. pic.twitter.com/LCaQIvovF0
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) January 11, 2021
Also, on Friday, Twitter and Facebook cracked down, wiping millions of users from their platforms and issuing 30-day bans to thousands of others.
Though many on the left and right are cheering for this most heinous censorship, rest assured that silencing tens of millions of people for their political views is not a good idea — no matter how woke you are.
No, non-violent dissent is not the same as “screaming fire in a crowded movie theater.” It is necessary for a free and prosperous society.
I hope you can now see that the virtual Reichstag building has been burned down. pic.twitter.com/K1LsDLLdgl
— Rob Schneider (@RobSchneider) January 9, 2021
Had the establishment actually wished to cause less harm and de-escalate away from the potential civil war brewing in the United States, they would have taken very different steps. Had they wished to ease the doubts of a large portion of the population who disputed the election results, they would have answered with more transparency. Instead, their answer was silencing those who questioned it, declaring all talk of election fraud ‘fake news’ and sending them into a frantic paranoid flurry that ended with the storming of the US Capitol on Wednesday.
Make no mistake, those forcing these Orwellian tactics know that by silencing these folks, they are not stopping these ideas or paranoid fears. They are justifying them, stoking paranoia and radicalizing those who may be on the verge of breaking.
Do you think that Joe Sixpack, who has been unemployed for the last 9 months, who thinks the election was stolen from him, and who was just censored into oblivion in the last few days — removing any public outlet of expression — is simply going to throw his arms up and say, “oh well, I guess that’s it, I’ll stop now” and it will be over?
The fact is that the leadership behind this censorship knows exactly what is going to happen by pushing these people into the fringes. They are fomenting radicalization and extremism.
When thousands of Joe Sixpacks who are already on the verge of snapping, actually snap, big tech and mainstream media will be largely responsible. If the ideas of the censors are so grand, why not allow them to compete with other ideas? Censoring ideas doesn’t stop them, it only allows very bad ideas to go unchallenged in the public arena, thereby granting them credence. This is extremely dangerous.
As Caitlan Johnstone Tweeted over the weekend, they are trying to make things worse, not better.
The censorship of a political faction at the hands of a few liberal Silicon Valley billionaires will do the exact opposite of eliminating right-wing paranoia and conspiracy theories, and everyone knows it. You're not trying to make things better, you're trying to make them worse. pic.twitter.com/uf6iojwjiR
— Caitlin Johnstone ⏳ (@caitoz) January 9, 2021
Supporting this censorship is wrong. Free speech does not come with terms and conditions and those who claim it does will eventually be silenced by the very monster they helped to create. They will also be complicit in fomenting extremism that will usher in new levels of domestic terrorism and a police state like we’ve never seen.