Twiiter crackdown

Twitter crackdown: May 31, 2020

By silencing Donald Trump and his supporters this week, Twitter, Facebook and Amazon just confirmed what their critics had been saying about Big Tech for some time: More and more, America is controlled by a digital oligarchy.

Twitter got most of the headlines when it permanently banned Trump’s account last week, taking away a platform that allowed the president to effectively communicate directly with his constituents. The social network went on to remove 70,000-plus accounts of people who allegedly trade in conservative conspiracy theories. Facebook joined Twitter in banning Trump from its social media networks, while Apple, Google and Amazon went after Parler, a social media network favored by conservatives.

Many defended the moves, saying Trump has used his Twitter megaphone to lie and stoke hatred, to encourage the criminal invasion we saw on display last week in the halls of Congress. It’s true that Trump has said many things on Twitter that raise eyebrows in Washington and no doubt irritate tech executives in Silicon Valley, but removing his platform was a step too far.

Twitter, as a private company, should get to set the rules about who gets to play in its sandbox. But those rules should be applied equally, and by singling out Trump and his supporters – and not taking the same actions against other public figures who’ve arguably said far worse things -- the company is saying it believes it knows what’s better for the country’s interests than America’s own elected leaders, and it is willing to control what its users are allowed to say.

Whether you agree or disagree with Twitter’s actions this week, it’s easy to see the slippery slope that lies ahead should social media companies continue to clamp down on speech they don’t like. And they’re already sliding.

Amazon’s removal of Parler, a social media site favored by conservatives, is perhaps the most alarming reaction we’ve seen. Amazon provided hosting services for Parler, as it does many websites. In fact, Amazon controls as much as 40 percent of the web’s infrastructure, according to media reports. Now that the company has pulled out the rug from Parler, what’s stopping it from doing the same thing the next time one of its clients publishes something it doesn’t like? What if your favorite sources of news are suddenly subjected to Amazon’s editorial standards simply because Amazon controls all of the infrastructure? That kind of behavior will do more to stifle a free press than a swampy government could ever hope to achieve.

Yes, we have a digital oligarchy. Social media networks are controlled by just a few companies who seem to be working in concert to control speech they don’t like and favor the political outcomes they prefer.

The behavior we saw last week from the rioters at the capitol should concern all Americans. But so should the reactions we’ve seen from Twitter, Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon, among others. Bottom line? Our social media overlords wield too much power and they need to be reined in by Washington.

— Today’s News-Herald

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(7) comments

HavasuGuy

Hey, I have a thought.

Isn't there a press briefing room with cameras in it at the White House? Why don't we use that? You know the cameras will show what you are saying so we all can have a front row view straight from your mouth. The whole world would tune in, there would be no filter, and no absence of viewer participation.

Which of these media moguls are preventing the president from using the Presidential Press Room? If we can find out who they are maybe we can get them to allow it's use...

1502

A private business can and does enforce its rules. If you do no like it leave.

BoneSpurs McPantsLoad

Why is the News Herald printing this garbage? Obviously, some of its staffers are upset that their Parler and Qanon accounts are down. This paper, as a private entity, should know more than anyone that “free” speech through a private entity is subject to capitalistic consequences. Case in point, this paper continually monitors content and comments for material that violates its policies because subscribers and advertisers simply do not have a legal right to use every tool that they want to amplify any violent, obscene and offensive message they want. It’s also shameful that this paper would infer that the likes of Parler and Qanon are in any way, shape or form “conservative” because they certainly are not. Let’s don’t mince any words here, Parler was financed by the Mercers in Nevada with the sole purpose of inciting right wing extremists, violence and sedition against our government. While it’s adherents will certainly keep saying whatever they want, they thankfully won’t be aided and abetted any longer by the likes of Amazon, Twitter, Facebook and others, and I applaud them for that. These subversive entities signed contracts with private companies and they, in turn, violated their terms of service. Parler, Qanon and other conspiracy laden websites are advocating violence against our government and now, no one wants to touch them. That’s because of their behavior and what they have allowed. It is not a first amendment violation, or slippery slope, as you argue. It’s their own fault and businesses are under no obligation to take them on as clients. I will close by asking this self-proclaimed conservative newspaper why it’s not advocating for the rights of these companies to terminate business with clients that violate their contracts? Where’s all that conservative blather about free markets, consequences for one’s actions, limited government, and of course, those good old GOP values?

alloveragain

omg...there are no words for this rant.....

BoneSpurs McPantsLoad

You must have lost your connection to Parler

HavasuGuy

It's no different than a drunk getting kicked out of the bar for trying to start fights. The business owner has a right to not do business with a customer who does not adhere to the rules of that business.

simon1dog

Amen

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