Cover image courtesy of TechCrunch
If you follow any major right-wing news and media outlets, odds are you’ve heard some grumbling over Conservatives and Libertarians having their Twitter accounts permanently shut down.
This grumbling isn’t just mere rumours or a right-wing conspiracy to make the Left look bad. The censorship of non-Leftie views is, sadly, a shameless attack on freedom of speech in attempt to shut down anybody who doesn’t agree with the heads of major companies like Twitter and YouTube. With the mid-term elections coming up, the Left’s usual tactics weren’t proving to be strong enough, and so, the banhammer was brought in. And he who swings this hammer is angry. (I imagine a giant toddler; spoiled, whiny, doesn’t know how to take on his political opponents with logic and persuasion, does not try to communicate at all since swinging his big hammer is easier).
The wave of attacks started with Alex Jones, and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down anytime soon. Milo Yiannapolous, Owen Benjamin and Tommy Robinson were already banned from Twitter, otherwise they would have been the next ones hit. Stefan Molyneux received two strikes against his YouTube channel. Dave Rubin, Blaire White, and Steven Crowder among others were demonetized – they stopped receiving ad money, although ads continued to play on their videos.
The pattern here of right-wingers being censored is obvious; one might ask, but is there another pattern that is resulting of the censoring of these individuals? Let’s look at the specific known reasons why these individuals had their accounts shut down or flagged.
- Alex Jones: “Glorifying violence,” “hate speech”
- Milo Yiannapolous: “Inciting abuse” of Leslie Jones. Basically, he made fun of a celebrity’s looks… like nobody else does that commonly.
- Tommy Robinson: Promoting “hate,” the specific tweet that had his account shut down was “Islam promotes killing people” – an objectively true fact.
- Owen Benjamin: Banned from Twitter for making a joke about David Hogg not being old enough to grow pubes, and therefore should not be telling him about guns. Banned from YouTube live streaming for “pornography” – played a video of monkeys having sex that was taken from a David Attenborough video that was also on YouTube, which wasn’t removed from his account.
- Gavin McInnes and the Proud Boys: Banned from Twitter for promoting “violent extremist groups”
- Stefan Molyneux: received two strikes on his YouTube account in mid-August. Luckily for him, the strikes were reviewed and his account was unlocked.
Within 24 hours, my @YouTube channel has received two community guidelines strikes – likely as a result of a mass flagging campaign – and is now on the verge of total deletion.
— Stefan Molyneux (@StefanMolyneux) August 15, 2018
- James Woods: Twitter account is still up, but he’s been locked out of it. He was told he had to delete the Tweet featured down below to be let back into his Twitter account. The tweet, an obvious joke, was banned for “being able to impact an election,” and needs to be seen to be believed. He refuses to comply.
So, using their logic and precedents, let’s look at the other side and what they’ve been guilty of:
- Maxine Waters calls for harassment of members of the Trump administration and praised the LA Riots, in which over sixty people were killed.
— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) September 19, 2018
- Young Lefties love to run around in their Che Guevera t-shirts; Che the violent murderer, racist and misogynist.
- I feel like this one doesn’t need much explanation, because the Internet is just a minefield for anger and mean shots taken at others based on things they cannot control. Like when Bert Kreischer called Owen Benjamin a ‘white power guy,’ Benjamin; who’s married to a Hispanic woman and has two mixed kids, and is now hounded as a racist by the online mob? (Pretty much the worst thing you can be branded as these days). Half of Twitter could be kicked off for saying meaner things than Milo Yiannapolous did. Not to mention this strips individuals of their responsibilities; it is on you for saying inappropriate things, you made the choice to say these things. It is so irresponsible to blame anybody else for influencing you to say those things.
- Hate speech is complicated because it isn’t real. Who gets to define what words are okay to use and which words should be banned? Whose moral code is that based on? And to what extent does context matter? In practise, talking shit about white people online has become so mainstream I don’t even need to include examples down here. I will anyway; Sarah Jeong. We all know how normalized a disdain of the Whites is.
“Violent extremist groups”
- I’m sure you’re thinking exactly what I’m thinking right now: ANTIFA? Alive and well in the Interweb.
- Maajid Nawaz also speaks of Islamic terrorist accounts that are still up and running on Twitter.
Now, I’m not saying any of these people on the Left deserve to be deplatformed. I believe in freedom of speech; in your right to say whatever you want to say, and to choose not to listen to somebody if you don’t like what they have to say. But laws only work if they’re applied to all fairly. If Twitter, YouTube and other sites are going to start holding individuals to certain standards, they have to work hard to ensure these standards are being applied evenly. Or, even better, do away with all of them, and only ban people in extreme cases.
A solution being proposed to this nonsense is to register these sites as publishers and not social media platforms if they wish to dictate what individuals say on them. That way, they would be subject to publishing laws and standards, and would be held legally accountable for content published on their sites.
The time is well overdue for the heads of Twitter to make some proper decisions about what their policies are going to be, and to stand by their own logic when they’re applying it. They’re revealing themselves to be power-hungry tyrants right now, and if it keeps up, they will lose the diversity of voices represented on those platforms that make them worth being on in the first place.
-Senior Editor A.
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