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    Mayacaman's Avatar
    Mayacaman
     

    The Pendulum Of Internet Censorship Swings Leftward Again


    The Pendulum Of Internet Censorship Swings Leftward Again

    Caitlin Johnstone
    January 25

    There has been a purge of left-wing accounts from social media, with socialist organizations being targeted on Facebook and multiple Antifa-associated accounts suspended from Twitter.

    "We have just confirmed that Facebook has disabled the page of the International Youth and Students for Social Equality at the University of Michigan, as well as the accounts of all admins," World Socialist Website editor tweeted today. "This is an unprecedented attack on the speech rights of an official campus student group."

    World Socialist Website also reports the following:

    On Friday, Facebook carried out a purge of left-wing, antiwar and progressive pages and accounts, including leading members of the Socialist Equality Party. Facebook gave no explanation why the accounts were disabled or even a public acknowledgement that the deletions had occurred.

    At least a half dozen leading members of the Socialist Equality Party had their Facebook accounts permanently disabled. This included the public account of Genevieve Leigh, the national secretary of the International Youth and Students for Social Equality, and the personal account of Niles Niemuth, the US managing editor of the World Socialist Web Site. In 2016, Niemuth was the Socialist Equality Party’s candidate for US Vice President.

    Facebook also disabled the London Bus Drivers Rank-and-File Committee Facebook page, which was set up with the support of the Socialist Equality Party (UK) to organize opposition among bus drivers. This follows a widely discussed call for a walkout by bus drivers to demand elementary protections against the COVID-19 pandemic.

    None of the individuals whose accounts were disabled had violated Facebook’s policies. Upon attempting to appeal the deletion of their account, they received an error message stating, “We cannot review the decision to disable your account.”


    The New York Post reports the following:

    Twitter has suspended several popular accounts with alleged ties to Antifa — which have more than 71,000 followers combined — following the Inauguration Day riots.

    At least four accounts tied with the militant group have been yanked offline — including @TheBaseBK, the account for the anarchist center in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

    Archived web pages of the accounts show they shared more than 71,000 followers and dated as far back as 2012.

    This follows a mass purge of right-wing accounts in the wake of the Capitol riot earlier this month, a swing-back of the censorship pendulum that surprises nobody who knows anything about anything. That purge was broadly supported by shitlibs and a surprisingly large percentage of the true left, despite the overwhelming and growing pile of evidence that it is impossible to consent to internet censorship for other ideologies without consenting to censorship for your own.

    I encountered many arguments in support of the right-wing purge from the online left while it was happening, and none of them were good.

    "They're only banning fascists," they told me. "Why are you defending fascists?"

    Well first of all there was never any evidence that these social media corporations were only purging fascists. We know for example that included in the sweep were tens of thousands of basic QAnon posters, who while ignorant and wrong would not in most cases meet most people's definition of "fascist". We don't know who else was eliminated in the purge, but believing on blind faith that Facebook and Twitter were only targeting fascists who want to violently overthrow the US government is silly.

    In reality these social media giants have never claimed to be "banning fascists", and there's no reason to believe that's their policy; white nationalists like Richard Spencer are still there. And even if these outlets did have a policy of "banning fascists", what definition of "fascist" are they using? Do proponents of Silicon Valley censorship believe they'll be using their personal definition of fascism to determine whose political speech is off limits? Do you think they'll be calling you personally to consult you on whom to ban? How do you imagine this works exactly?

    And of course opposing the normalization of government-tied monopolistic Silicon Valley oligarchs controlling worldwide political speech on the platforms an increasing number of people use to communicate important ideas is not "defending fascists". Opposing oligarchic authoritarian control is the exact opposite of defending fascism.

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