Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit has a new article up on internet freedom and digital platform censorship by leftwing gatekeepers in The Wall Street Journal:
“Call 2018 the “Year of Deplatforming.” The internet was once celebrated for allowing fresh new voices to escape the control of gatekeepers. But this year, the internet giants decided to slam the gates on a number of people and ideas they don’t like. If you rely on someone else’s platform to express unpopular ideas, especially ideas on the right, you’re now at risk. This raises troubling questions, not only for free speech but for the future of American politics and media. …
If internet megaplatforms like YouTube and Facebook were publishers, none of this would be especially problematic. One of the essential duties of a publisher is deciding what to publish and what not to publish. The Supreme Court has even held, in Miami Herald v. Tornillo (1974), that the law can’t compel newspapers to print replies to their articles, because it would interfere with their choice of what to publish.
But internet platforms don’t want to be treated as publishers, because publishers are also responsible for their decisions. If a newspaper publishes a libelous story, it can be sued. If it infringes someone’s copyright, it can be held liable for damages. And everything it chooses to publish or not to publish is a reflection on its reputation.
Today, the big internet companies are treated not as publishers but as conduits—tools that other people use to spread their own ideas. That’s why the “safe harbor provision” of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, a landmark in internet regulation, states that platforms aren’t legally responsible for what other people publish on their sites. The law was originally intended to protect things like newspaper comment sections, but its application has become very broad, encompassing virtually all of the content on social media and sharing sites. …”
The notion that Silicon Valley megabillionaires are actively limiting what ordinary Americans can talk and write about is likely to produce a backlash. The tech industry’s image has already suffered over revelations about Facebook’s experiments aimed at manipulating users’ newsfeeds to test their emotional states, as well as various cases of invasion of privacy and data mishandling. Twenty years ago, most Americans saw Silicon Valley as liberating; now it seems to have gone from the hammer-wielding woman in that famous “1984” Apple commercial to the Big Brother figure up on the screen.
The Alt-Right was a canary in the coalmine.
The Antifa tactic of “deplatforming” has now gone far beyond targeting marginal Neo-Nazi groups. It has been adopted by “journalists” at CNN and Newsweek who are pressuring Big Tech to silence their conservative and libertarian enemies. Some of these journalists work so closely with Antifa now that we are unable to tell the difference betweeen them.
In today’s news:
– The ADL is celebrating PayPal deplatforming former Republican Senate candidate Patrick Little.
– Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch was interviewed about being deplatformed by Patreon at the request of Mastercard.
– PragerU, which is a sort of neocon educational group that makes videos, has been wiped out by shadow banning on YouTube and Facebook.
We just discovered that we are being heavily censored and shadow banned on @facebook. At least two of our video posts were removed last night for “hate speech” and our last 10 posts have reached 0 of our 3 million followers. More info and screenshots coming soon. STAY TUNED!
— PragerU (@prageru) August 17, 2018
– Facebook and Twitter are censoring political ads of another Republican congressional candidate in California.
– Caitlin Johnstone, an antiwar activist, has been purged from Twitter for calling John McCain a warmonger and rejoicing over his imminent death.
Twitter just suspended @caitoz.
We warned, and we warned, that after #Assange the rest of us would be next. I hate seeing that come to fruition so damn quickly.
Also, @shareblue: go to hell.
— Elizabeth Lea Vos (@ElizabethleaVos) August 17, 2018
Halsey English, who is known for arguing with the Alt-Right, has been purged from Twitter:
Are a handful of unaccountable multinational corporations in San Francisco going to get away with censoring the internet on behalf of the ADL and SPLC? We will see.