Internet censorship is accelerating

Zoom, Patreon and YouTube are joining the fun as Silicon Valley increasingly strives to control the public square.

BuzzFeed reports that video conferencing giant Zoom has taken to censoring events due to be take place on its platform. As if to emphasis the contradictions inherent in a communications platform acting in an editorial capacity, the latest event to be deemed undesirable by Zoom was, of course, once focused on discussing Zoom censorship.

Zoom gave BuzzFeed the now-familiar boilerplate response, stressing how into freedom of speech it is but that it reserves the right to censor anyone it unilaterally decides has violated one of its unspecified policies. In other words, Zoom is into free speech unless it doesn’t like what is being said, then it’s not.

Meanwhile crowdfunding platform has done its usual thing of hanging onto the censorship coat-tails of larger silicon valley players by banning any accounts that publish content promoting the conservative QAnon narrative, on the grounds that it’s ‘disinformation’. Since Patreon reckons disinformation can cause harm, QAnon therefore violates its rules on that sort of thing. This does, of course, set the precedent for Patreon banning whoever else it wants on the same basis.

Lastly YouTube has been busy, as ever, striving to expose the contradictions presented by arbitrary censorship. After having set the QAnon precedent recently, YouTube has erased the 8-year-old channel of an anti-corruption activist for intending to sell regulated products, when in fact it appears to be a critique of Operation Warp Speed.

While much of the criticism of internet platform censorship has come from the US political right, YouTube seems determined to prove it’s nothing personal by doing the same to leftists every now and then. The latest victim is socialist publication Jacobin, as ever for unspecified reasons.

All these serva as examples of one of the greatest perils of the internet era. Nearly everything we do now, from video conferencing to fund raising to social media, is now mediated by a Silicon Valley platform. Our activities are therefore subject to the approval of unaccountable companies that are becoming increasingly more active in policing their platforms. It’s time to not just clarify, but expand the remit of Section 230.

One comment

  1. Avatar Jim Strunk 27/10/2020 @ 2:10 pm

    This censorship is much like what was seen throughout history in Russia, PRC, Germany, Venezuela, etc. This is a precursor to the politically correct; words mean what I say they mean. Controlling the meaning erasing the past to control the present and thus the outcome of the future. George Orwell got one thing wrong; the year. Winston Smith is now the controlled AI set up by the PARTY’s committees to control the message in the news. Orwell wrote his book from what was happening and did happen during the Bolshevik Revolution….. hide and watch, this is gonna get wild.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.