Actions by Twitter and other giant tech monopolists to block a sitting president along with a fledgling competitor from their platforms put us all on notice that they answer to no higher power, warning that we better not dare to disagree.
Twitter and Facebook first temporarily blocked President Trump from posting on their sites after a lunatic mob among several hundred thousand peaceful demonstrators egregiously stormed the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday. Tragic violence that ensued interrupted Joe Biden’s official certification as president-elect and led to the death of a Capitol policeman and fatal shooting of an unarmed intruder.
On Friday, Twitter permanently banned Trump’s personal account with more than 88 million followers, nearly half of Twitter’s average daily users and the nation’s voters. Twitter even suspended use of his official government account as President of the United States “@POTUS.”
In addition, the standing president has also been banned from Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat, Reddit and Instagram.
Multiple tech barons then moved against Parler, Twitter’s free-speech competitor that has been emerging in recent months as a refuge to shield exchanges of conservative views from politically biased censorship overreach by mainstream platform regulators. The presidential ban had prompted a 14-fold increase of Parler users — 182,000 app downloads — across Apple and Google stores over the previous Friday number.
Big tech retaliated in unison. Both Google and Apple indefinitely booted Parler from their app stores over the weekend, crippling its visibility on mobile phones. On Sunday, Amazon went in for the kill shot, withdrawing its cloud service that Parler relies on to store data.
Parler CEO John Matze said in a Saturday Parler post, “This was a coordinated attack by the tech giants to kill competition in the marketplace. We were too successful too fast. You can expect a war on competition and free speech to continue, but don’t count us out.”
These, after all, are enormously powerful entities. Google, Apple and Amazon, are collectively worth nearly $5 trillion, compared with Parler, valued prior to their destruction at less than $1 billion.
There is no ambiguity regarding where all major Silicon Valley companies lean politically. With most campaign donations coming from employees, vastly larger contributions go to Democratic candidates.
According to latest available data collected by OpenSecrets.org., Facebook and Twitter employees donated 10 times more to Democratic political campaigns and PACS this year ($2.7 million) than to Republicans ($222,000).
The actions against Trump and Parler showcase a stark display of raw economic and censorship influence over the national electorate and online conversation by a handful of tech oligarchs that should chill Americans of all political and apolitical stripes who value our First Amendment.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla, accurately told Fox News on Sunday, “We are now living in a country where four or five companies, unelected, unaccountable, have the monopoly power to decide, we’re gonna wipe people out, we’re going to erase them, from any digital platform, whether it’s selling things and the like.”
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, asked Twitter Inc. CEO Jack Dorsey during Oct. 28 Senate Commerce Committee meetings, “Who the h**l elected you and put you in charge of what media are allowed to report?”
Cruz was referring specifically to Twitter’s action blocking platform users from linking to New York Post revelations regarding alleged murky Biden family Ukrainian, Chinese and other foreign business dealings just before the 2020 election.
Purportedly, then-Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter was knowingly being paid for a no-show board position of a questionable Ukrainian gas company while he intimated he would cut off a billion dollars of U.S. military aid to the country unless the prosecutor looking into the matter was fired.
The same Twitter that took extraordinary measures to black out legitimate reporting on Hunter Biden on the run-up to the election has righteously pontificated about the Ugandan government exercising the same practices.
A recent Twitter Public Policy announcement states: “Ahead of the Ugandan election, we’re hearing reports that internet service providers are being ordered to block social media and messaging apps. We strongly condemn internet shutdowns — they are hugely harmful, violate human rights and principles of the #OpenInternet.”
Many charges that Parler hosts individuals and materials that encourage violence are little more than a confederation of web gatekeepers that is methodically set upon censoring countervailing viewpoints. Parler had doubled its team of volunteer moderators (called “jurors”) against potentially violent speech to more than a thousand in recent weeks.
Parler LLC has filed a lawsuit against Amazon.com Inc. in an effort to reverse the company’s decision, stating that “AWS has confirmed that none of the arrested participants in that unconscionable [Capitol] attack (who had been publicly identified as of the filing of this action) even had a Parler account, much less used it to incite, organize or coordinate’ the attack.”
Facebook, meanwhile, is removing all content that contains the phrase “stop the steal” ahead of President-elect Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration, a move they say is intended to avoid content. that “could incite further violence.”
And it’s certainly not as if offensive content hasn’t been posted on their own platforms. Alexi Navalny, the Russian democracy advocate who was poisoned last year, tweeted, “Don’t tell me [President Trump] was banned for violating Twitter rules. I get death threats here every day for many years, and Twitter doesn’t ban anyone.”
The Ayatollah Khamenei tweeted in November, “. . . Palestine will be free, while the fake Zionist regime will perish. There’s no doubt about this.”
One Twitter account calls itself “Pigs In A Blanket, Fry Em Like Bacon,” and calls for police killings are also found in myriad tweets.
Nevertheless, Twitter’s ban of our nation’s president by unelected and unaccountable tech tycoons claimed that his recent posts were somehow ambiguously in violation of their “Glorification of Violence Policy,” whereas his messaging has explicitly called for peaceful protest.
This, after all, is a man who has accomplished more to enforce law and order, curb global terrorism, negotiate Middle East peace, and end foreign wars than any other president in modern history.
But don’t imagine for a moment that Silicon Valley’s corporate cancel culture cartel’s achievement to ban Donald Trump from the digital world is an end goal. Those ambitions will continue so long as half of the country that voted him into office — and who may one day do so again — remain a threat to limit their unbounded power and influence.