“Just use a different social media app.”
“Build your own social media company.”
“Twitter and Facebook are private companies.”
“It’s not a First Amendment violation if the government isn’t censoring you.”
These are things libertarians, boomer conservatives, and “liberals” have told me after having over 50 Facebook pages removed (one with 112K followers), multiple Twitter accounts suspended (before finally being permanently suspended), and getting banned by Google Adsense and PayPal. As you know if you’ve followed TB, we’ve been getting censored by social media companies since before it was cool. I even wrote a book about the effects that this would have on our elections and democracy in general, since social media has become the de facto town square, the center of political discussion, and the platform on which the media and politicians make announcements.
Nobody cared at the time because people figured it would never happen to them. It only happened to TB because we use bad words.
Now Donald Trump is banned form Twitter and Facebook for allegedly using the platforms to incite the Capitol riots. Classical liberals would cringe after hearing this news, as free speech is one of the fundamental tenets of liberalism. The ACLU, journalist Glenn Greenwald, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are all very liberal and not fans of President Trump, but have spoken out and warned about the dangers of allowing the Tech Gods to decide who can and cannot speak on the Internet.
Angela Merkel calls Trump's permanent Twitter ban 'problematic' and says freedom of opinion is a fundamental right https://t.co/ET8GO3cAx3
— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) January 11, 2021
ACLU on Trump/Twitter:
“it should concern everyone when companies like Facebook and Twitter wield the unchecked power to remove people from platforms that have become indispensable for the speech of billions — especially when political realities make those decisions easier”
— Igor Bobic (@igorbobic) January 9, 2021
Facebook and Twitter never should’ve been allowed to grow to the point where they essentially own the public square and decide who gets to speak in it. The government allowed Facebook to buy Instagram, and clearly recognizes the power these companies have since they’re demanding that they be policed more to their liking.
“It’s not a First Amendment violation if the government isn’t censoring you.”
But what if the government itself forced Twitter and Facebook to silence the President? Oh wait, that happened.
If Twitter is working on behalf of the federal government then they are the federal government. There’s a reason Kamala Harris ran on a platform of kicking Trump off Twitter – they know it’s an effective way for him to reach followers.
When you see “national security” being used as a way to silence people you should be very worried, and it should alarm liberals. This is the same sort of fear-mongering that was used to curtail civil liberties after 9/11 with passage of the Patriot Act, used to imprison Japanese-Americans during World War 2, and used to ban speech that was critical of American involvement in World War 1. It’s OK to spy on you, ban you from flying, and seize your bank accounts if they suspect you’re involved with terrorist groups. They don’t need any proof because it’s better safe than sorry. If you have an issue with that then you’re pro-terrorist. The riot at the Capitol is the new 9/11 and will be used to increase the power of the government and limit the civil liberties of innocent people.
But people like Trump who have been banned by Twitter and Facebook can just use another platform, or build their own social media company, right? Well, up until recently there hasn’t been any competitors, because you cannot compete with a monopoly. However, the rapid growth of Parler has given people hope, as they don’t restrict speech nearly as much, and it has become a sort of ghetto and echo chamber for right wingers.
The problem is they put you in ghettos because they plan on liquidating them. The media has been selectively choosing random posts on Parler from people of no significance, vowing to commit violence. The angle is clear – Parler is a threat to national security. It’s not that they don’t want you to speak on Twitter and Facebook, it’s that they don’t want you to speak at all.
The problem for the Tech Gods is that Parler is growing because people like free speech and they can’t stop people from joining. However, since 99% of downloaded phone apps come from Apple and Google Play, and since 80% of all Internet traffic takes place on phones, it means that Apple and Google can severely hinder the growth of Parler if they removed the apps from their store. Parler was the most downloaded app last week.
This prompted many elected officials, including AOC and her 11 million Twitter followers, to demand that these private monopolies (Google and Apple) remove Parler from their stores.
The next day, fearing her power, both companies agreed to remove the Parler app from their stores.
If the government is compelling private companies to silence speech, then it should be a First Amendment violation. If the private monopolies are banning the competitors of other monopolies from existing, then it’s an anti-trust violation. To the surprise of nobody Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey expressed his glee that a potential competitor was squashed as soon as it began to experience rapid growth.
But Parler still existed if you already had the app. If not you could use a web browser like the old days. My account with 3,700 followers remained up even after the removal. This angers the censorship crowd because they want you to be silenced completely. So the next step was to pressure the monopoly that hosts Parler and allows them to be on the Internet – Amazon.
Now with the click of a button Parler is gone. They did everything libertarians told them to do – start their own platform and build their own app. But what libertarians failed to realize is that the people who make the apps and host the websites are also monopolists, and they all think the same way and have the same goals – get right wingers off the Internet. Use “safety,” “national security,” and “preventing violence,” as reasoning why.
For companies like Parler to exist they must be able to own the hosting companies, own the phones that we all use, and own the payment processing centers. But if they owned all of those things they’d be broken up the government for violating anti-trust law. It’s like Goodyear telling an up and coming car company that they won’t sell them tires because Ford asked them not to.
The Capitol riots were the best thing that ever happened to the Tech Gods. The argument is that Parler is responsible for the Capitol riots because they didn’t kick off enough people, and those people eventually invaded the Capitol.
Wow. This started before treasonous riot. "Over the past several weeks, we’ve reported 98 examples to Parler of posts that clearly encourage and incite violence." https://t.co/qJoQcYlgeJ
— Karon (@karon) January 10, 2021
But Parler is just a platform. They just exist and are used as a way to communicate, much like Gmail and Verizon. Will Gmail or Verizon be shut down if they find out rioters used them to communicate with each other? Parler doesn’t publish or editorialize, even if they occasionally remove content, and they shouldn’t be responsible for what their users post. Facebook and Twitter routinely use this Section 230 protection to keep themselves from getting sued, and are now denying this same sort of protection to Parler.
Nevertheless it’s their fault, or so the media has told us. So I decided to take a look at the 80 or so people arrested thus far for rioting, and not a single one of them posted about it on Parler. Not one. Most of them actually used Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, none of which were pulled from the app store or Google Play, and none of which had their hosting privileged revoked by Amazon. Let’s meet the rioters and look at which platforms they used to plot insurrection.
Richard Barnett, Arkansas.
Paul Davis, Attorney Texas.
This is Paul Davis. Paul is a lawyer. He’s also associate general counsel & director of human resources at Goosehead Insurance. Today he stormed the capitol building in an attempt to stage a coup against the US government and documented it (!) on Instagram. @followgoosehead pic.twitter.com/eTkoK92ujL
— Roger Sollenberger (@SollenbergerRC) January 7, 2021
Rick Saccone, former congressional candidate Pennsylvania.
— Lindsey Williams (@SenWilliamsPA) January 6, 2021
Adam Johnson, Florida.
Doug Jensen, Iowa.
West Virginia State Rep Derrick Evans.
Nick Ochs, Hawaii.
Kristina Malimon, Oregon.
On Wednesday, Malimon posted footage on her Instagram story of President Donald Trump and his family speaking on a stage, including Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump. As the President took the stage, she shared a story with the caption “Our BEST president WILL be in office for four more years!”
Ahead of the riots, Malimon shared encouragement with her more than 25,000 followers on Instagram to join her in protest in the nation’s capitol as the Electoral College gathered to certify Biden’s win.
“We must fight for our BEST President @realdonaldtrump,” Malimon wrote Tuesday on Instagram with a promotional image, along with untrue allegations about the election. “They cheated, but the cheaters were CAUGHT! God is with us, they will NOT have success! Join us in Washington DC Jan 6th!” she continued.
Zandra Sixkiller-Cramer, Maryland.
Twitter and Facebook.
Tim Gionet, AKA Baked Alaska, Alaska.
users on Tim Gionet's, aka Baked Alaska, live stream on DLive are calling to give lawmakers the "rope" and to "hang all the congressmen" on DLive while he's streaming inside the Capitol building. pic.twitter.com/fq9t7KAlfA
— hannah gais (@hannahgais) January 6, 2021
Jenny Cudd, Texas.
“Jenny Cudd posted videos to Facebook. The newspaper also reported Cudd said: “When (Vice President) Pence betrayed us is when we decided to storm the Capitol.”
David Fitzgerald, Illinois.
In a video posted by Fitzgerald to his Facebook page just before his arrest, he and others ask officers clad in riot gear where they could exit a barricaded area. In comments to friends who were watching live, Fitzgerald writes, “I’m under arrest,” and “Tell my wife.”
Cindy Fitchett, Illinois.
Chad Burmeister, Colorado.
But according to Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg, it’s Parler that should be banned for their inability to “stop hate,” and foment insurrection, because they don’t have Facebook’s abilities.
She’s right about one thing – Facebook has way more money to hire people to ban users from the platform. She’s saying that companies that aren’t billion dollar monopolies like her shouldn’t be allowed to exist. It’s a great way to prevent any sort of competitor from ever growing, since they’ll never have the content moderation staff that Facebook has.
But of course we know from experience Facebook’s content moderation is a joke. ProPublica did a study that revealed that nearly half of reported posts that violate Facebook’s community standards are NOT removed from the platform because they make so many mistakes. The Guardian conducted a study and found that 91% of Facebook pages that exploit children were allowed to stay up after being reported. The Chirstchurch shooter was allowed to live stream his massacre for 17 minutes. Most people reading this have been threatened on Twitter or Facebook, reported the comment, and been told that it doesn’t violate their standards. We mass reported a child porn page that Facebook repeatedly refused to remove. Meanwhile we’ve been taken down for these.
So my question is, when will congress demand that Facebook and Twitter be removed from the app store? When will Amazon take away their hosting privileges? Facebook and Twitter are the restaurants that discriminate against you, Google and Apple are the roads you take to get there, and Amazon is the Board of Health that decides when those restaurants must be closed. Together they conspired together to silence the most powerful person in the world, and now they’re gonna do it to millions of other people. When we allow 5 tech monopolies to decide who can say whaat in the public square in the name of “safety,” we are no longer living in a democracy.
P.S. The same leaders pearl clutching about “insurrection” and “undermining democracy,” because 7 Senators pointlessly objected to the electoral college certification, did the same exact thing 4 years ago, including my congressman Jim McGovern. But it’s not insurrection when they do it, even when it prompts crazy people to shoot congressmen.
Hello Turtle Riders. As you know if you follow Turtleboy we are constantly getting censored and banned by Facebook for what are clearly not violations of their terms of service. Twitter has done the same, and trolls mass reported our blog to Google AdSense thousands of times, leading to demonitization. We can get by and survive, but we could really use your help. Please consider donating by hitting the PayPal button above if you’d like support free speech and what we do in the face of Silicon Valley censorship. Or just buy our award winning book about the dangers of censorship and rise of Turtleboy: