coordinated censorship by Silicon Valley tech giants could be a slippery slope
UPDATED Jan 11, 2021
Woke up this morning to news of the Twitter alternative Parler favored by many conservatives and far-right Trump supporters now also being blocked by Amazon Web Services (AWS) starting today at Midnight. This comes after Google and Apple already removed the Parler App from their app stores. Facebook and Twitter had previously banned Donald Trump from their platforms. While the content being shared on the Parler platform is certainly distasteful for my standards, probably even illegal in a lot of cases, I find this coordinated censoring effort by the Silicon Valley tech giants to be chilling. Similar concerns have been raised by Edward Snowden and journalists Glenn Greenwald and Aaron Mate. Mainstream media on the other hand cheered the silencing of Trump and his followers as “long overdue”. Illegal content like those posting addresses and private contact information of left leaning activists etc. should of course be promptly removed and this should be enforced by courts. But when private companies start deciding by decree what constitutes free speech, then it’s only a matter of time until we see investigative journalists critical of Silicon Valley or the Democratic Party, a beneficiary of their campaign donations, branded and banned as “ conspiracy theorists”. I hope I am wrong.
UPDATE: after reading an article in German mainstream media (again presenting the censoring efforts of Silicon Valley in a positive light), I have a further point to make. People who believe that “censoring” the internet is possible are clearly mistaken. You take one site down, people will just move to a new one. These sites and services can also be hosted in other countries than the US. Wouldn’t it be easier for law enforcement to infiltrate and monitor already established “safe havens” (Parler, 8chan and the sort) for radical activity, than having to always adapt and figure out where they are off to next? Just a thought. I would be interested to read some knowledgeable commentary on this.