By Bradley Harrington
“Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.” — George Orwell, “1984,” 1948 —
As just about anybody who isn’t living in a cave is by now aware, U.S. social media platforms and other “Big Tech” companies such as Facebook/Instagram, Google/YouTube, Twitter, Snapchat, Amazon and Apple have implemented some severely restrictive policies in the wake of the Jan. 6 Capitol riots.
Restrictions such as:
■ “Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would ban President Donald Trump from its platforms ‘indefinitely’ following a pro-Trump attack on the US Capitol this week …” (“Facebook bans Trump indefinitely,” Msn.com, Jan. 7.)
■ “Google’s YouTube has blocked President Donald Trump’s official channel from uploading new content for at least a week, citing the potential for violence following the deadly Capitol siege …” (“YouTube ban: Google blocks new uploads to Donald Trump’s channel after Capitol riots, citing potential for violence,” “USA Today,” Jan. 12.)
■ “Twitter permanently suspended President Donald Trump’s account on Friday …” (“Twitter permanently suspends President Trump’s account,” “NBC News,” Jan. 10.)
■ “US President Donald Trump has been permanently banned from Snapchat, according to a statement by the platform Wednesday.” (“Snapchat permanently bans President Trump,” “CNN Business,” Jan. 14.)
Nor was Trump the only target in “Big Tech’s” sights, either:
■ As soon as Facebook and Twitter discovered they were losing tens of thousands of Trump followers by the hour to social media competitor Parler, known for its substantially less-restrictive posting policies, “Big Tech” acted quickly there as well:
“Amazon, Apple and Google have banned the Parler social networking app from their services and app stores in the wake of Wednesday’s attack on the US Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters …” (“Parler offline following Amazon, Apple, Google bans over Capitol violence content,” Msn.com, Jan. 12.)
■ And, of course, at that point, it only made sense to Facebook and Twitter to rid their account rolls of Trump supporters as well … Some simply private individuals (such as pro-Trump attorney Lin Wood on Twitter) and some groups (such as “Stop the Steal” on Facebook). And, in a fashion eerily similar to the waves of suppressions suffered by citizens failing to toe the “party line” in Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany, “The Great ‘Big Tech’ Purge” was on.
And the rationale for all of this purging, the “party line” all these people failed to toe? All of the “Big Tech” companies are singing the same chorus on this one: “The risk of further incitement of violence,” as Twitter put it.
But if that were the case, then one would expect that ALL such “incitements to violence” would be disappearing off the social media platforms, would one not? But that’s blatantly false:
■ Iran’s dictator, for instance, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, immersed in the blood of the murders of who knows how many of his own citizens, still has his Twitter account up and running just fine at @Khamenei_ir, despite what he had to say here back in 2014:
“This barbaric, wolflike and infanticidal regime of #Israel which spares no crime has no cure but to be annihilated.”
■ And who could ever forget North Korea’s “rocket-man” Kim Jong-un, another thug soaked in similar pools of blood? Here’s a guy who has repeatedly threatened to blow up the United States, and his Facebook account is still alive and well – and if you think that’s because he’s not “inciting violence,” then how do you explain this comment on his Twitter page:
“If I didn’t think it would hurt my pending application for a @krispykreme franchise, I’d already be at nuclear war with the U.S.”
So, since it’s obviously not the potential for the “incitement to violence” that’s driving “Big Tech’s” purges, what is? What’s the common denominator here, the one essential characteristic that unites all the victims of these actions under one shared heading?
That all those having their accounts and/or post content purged off the social media platforms are conservatives and/or Trump supporters. And it’s really just as simple as that. The “Big Tech” conglomerates, well-known for their heavy tilts to the Left, have no use for such people, so away they go.
So, why don’t these companies just come out and say so? Because they don’t want to run the risk of being considered as “censors” of free speech, despite the fact that millions of people already think so.
Here things get a little tricky, however — because whatever label you might want to apply to “The Great ‘Big Tech’ Purge,” it isn’t censorship!
“Censorship,” strictly speaking, is what the government does to individuals and/or institutions; it is not a term applicable to private people or companies.
“Free speech,” we must remember, is rooted in private property protections; it does not mean that I can say whatever I want! As I discussed in a previous rant back in 2019, after getting fired from the Wyoming Tribune Eagle for being “too controversial”:
“The First Amendment guarantees that we cannot be persecuted by government for our statements or beliefs — it does not mean that we have to be provided with newspaper commentary space, bull-horns or university lecterns by those who disagree with our views, nor does it mean we’re above being challenged on our statements. It means: Freedom from government persecution. PERIOD!! As a privately-owned company, the WTE can run anyone’s opinion as it sees fit … Or not.” (“Getting fired from the WTE — and revving up for another ride,” “Reigniting Liberty’s Torch,” June 24, 2019.)
To which, now, I would only add that “free speech” doesn’t mean we have to be provided with social media platforms, either. He who owns the property, also owns the right, and has the final say as to what takes place in that arena (short of aggressing upon another’s life and/or property, that is).
The “social justice warriors” can froth at the mouth all they want in their living rooms; if they want to try that guff around here, however, they’d best be prepared for a swift and undignified ejection from my premises.
So, as a stern warning to those who would seek to deal with “The Great ‘Big Tech’ Purge” by hollering “censorship” — you’d better be careful, because once your permit the erosion of property rights that would make such an attack possible (not that such rights haven’t been severely eroded already), you simply lay the intellectual and political foundation for future restrictions on your property rights as well.
Having said that, however, there’s also no doubt that the “private property” waters have been severely muddied by just those types of rights erosions.
For instance: Plenty of “Big Tech” firms, such as Google, Facebook and Apple, have been on the receiving end of billions of dollars of tax breaks for years now.
As of 2018, those tax breaks had come to: Google/Alphabet Inc., $766 million since 2000; Facebook, $333 million since 2010; and Apple, $693 million since 2009. (“Google, Tesla, Apple, Facebook rake in massive subsidies: report,” “The Mercury News,” July 3, 2018.)
(SIDEBAR: “Good Jobs First,” the company performing this data-mining, considers a “tax break” to be a “subsidy” — and that is, in my opinion, incorrect. The first is a guarantee of money not to be taken in the event of company performance, whereas the second is a transfer of money already taken to someone not deserving of it; two entirely different things.)
Still, those tax breaks are some of the worst examples out there of corporate “welfare” — a fascistic economic practice, actually, that has nothing to do with free-market capitalism — and they need to end. Compete in the marketplace like everyone else, and pay your own way!
Furthermore, it’s just those kinds of “free market” practices that function as the true solution to “The Great ‘Big Tech’ Purge” … We, as citizens, are perfectly free to use and/or patronize such social media platforms … OR NOT! If you, like me, despise the onerous practices we now see “Big Tech” engaging in … Then quit supporting their enterprises! Boycott them! Tell the Fuhrer Mark Zuckerberg to shove his Facebook garbage where the sun doesn’t shine, and open up a “MeWe” account instead.
I wiped out my Facebook account four years ago, and you couldn’t pay me enough money to ever create one ever again; I did the same thing with my Twitter account back in 2018. I’ve also, within the last two weeks, wiped all Google products such as Google Chrome, Google Maps and Google Earth off my computer systems, changed my web browser’s search engine over to DuckDuckGo, and I finally got around to canceling my Amazon account. No form of exploitation can continue for long without the consent of the exploited, and I will NEVER voluntarily give another dime of my money to any of these idiots ever again!
(For those of you who just can’t live without social media, stand by: The market will provide you with several alternatives soon enough — and they’ll not be run by the Fuhrers over at the “Thought Police Precinct,” either.)
Nor, it appears, am I the only citizen who feels that way since, as of five days ago as of this writing, Facebook and Twitter, combined, have suffered huge financial losses:
“After banning President Donald Trump from their social media platforms, Facebook and Twitter have seen their combined market value plummet by $51.2 billion over the last two trading sessions.” (“Twitter, Facebook lose $51 billion in value after booting Trump,” “Newsmax TV,” Jan. 13.)
We may be well on our way to a dictatorship in the United States, Dear Readers, but we ain’t quite there yet; exercise the free choice mechanisms you still have available to you, and garner your information from journalistic sources that don’t treat you like an ignorant child.
Because, after all, that’s just the American thing to do! Because if there’s ever a police department in the United States that truly needs defunding, the “Thought Police Precinct” is it.
Today’s Destruction of Journalism, Part IV: The Censors, They’re ‘a ‘Flyin’
Bradley Harrington is a computer technician and a writer who lives in Cheyenne and blogs at https://reignitinglibertystorch.com. Email: email@example.com.
Back to top of column
Back to top of blog