In the span of a week, three Twitter accounts have been banned, those being Owen Benjamin, Zeorhedge, and Katie Hopkins [who was also recently unbanned]. I’m not a fan of Zero Hedge because a lot of their coverage falls into the FUD/hype category, but they were given no warnings but simply banned for questioning the prevailing narrative about the coronavirus and purportedly ‘doxing’ a Chinese scientist. It’s obvious Twitter does not enforce its rules with any impartiality or consistency, as liberals were allowed to spread rumors and unsubstantiated statements against the Covingtong kids, for example, with full impunity:
I have been trying to figure out why the Trump administration seem so stultified and ineffective. It has been three years now yet it feels like nothing of importance has happened. Some issues–such as social media and payment processing censorship and deplatforming–have regressed and gotten worse. We know that democracy is ineffective and that Trump has met considerable resistance from the dems. But what is going on behind the scenes to explain why the administration seems so encumbered?
Here are some possibilities:
-the administration is stuck due to inertia. The so-called ‘paralysis of analysis’
-too much resistance by the left
-it is being subverted
-it is willfully acting against the interests of its voters and the dissent-right
I think all of these play a role, including even the last one. We cannot just assume the truthfulness and integrity of any politician or party.
Trump has apparently held private meetings with tech company CEOs, such as with Facebook and Twitter. My guess is Jared Kushner and other staff attended too. Two meetings, one with Mark Zuckerberg and a second with Jack Dorsey, were discovered, so my guess is there were others and involving other companies. What was discussed during these meetings? Who knows. But the fact that the tech censorship and de-platforming issue keeps getting worse (Zero Hedge, Katie Hopkins [she was banned but later reinstated, but the offending tweets removed for violating the TOS], and Owen Benjamin Twitter accounts being suspended in just the past week alone) in spite of Trump’s promise to ‘look into it,’ does not lend much confidence. These are just the cases that have gotten media coverage, owing to the large popularity of the accounts, such as ZeroHedge, which is effectively a media organization at this point. Small accounts are also at risk, but the fact that Zero Hedge was banned without even given a warning or an opportunity to delete the supposed doxing post, shows that Twitter is adopting a zero-strike approach in many cases now. A month ago I was following someone by the handle “@CptBlackPill” for his sardonic commentary on the GOP and Trump, which is the only political account I was following, and then a couple weeks ago I noticed that his tweets were no longer showing up, so I visited his profile and saw he had been suspended. I’m not even sure what he had said or done given that his tweets were more mocking than threatening. His account only had 4k followers. Here is a screenshot taken before he was banned.
Also same for YouTube and Patreon demonetization, paypal terminations. Pre-2016 this was hardly as big of a problem as it is now: there are few stories and instances of people losing their social media accounts merely for political commentary, not death threats and more serious matters. Although such platforms have always had boilerplate rules against hate speech and the like, it was never enforced with such severity as we have seen over the past few years, and hate in such context usually meant threats, not commentary that is perceived as hateful.
If I had to speculate, there is the possibility there was a ‘deal’, that unlike those China deals that are publicized, was made in private in which Trump would promise to leave the tech companies alone in exchange for giving such companies carte blanche to ban whomever they want for whatever reason, provided they leave Trump and Fox News related accounts alone. So that means YouTube has full discretion to demonetize, suppress, and ban dissident content, but must leave Fox News and other specified channels alone or possibly even give such channels extra exposure. As possible evidence of this, on YouTube I keep getting tons of Fox New recommendations even though the last time I watched Fox News on YouTube was a Tucker clip 6 months ago, but my recommendation sidebar sometimes has as many as 10 or more Fox News videos. The usual narrative you hear on the right is, YouTube and other social networks are suppressing right-wing content in order to prevent Trump from being reelected, but then why is YouTube so heavily promoting Fox news, which is very pro-Trump?
It would really be terrible if this was true, but it cannot be dismissed outright. A second possibly is Jared Kushner or someone high up has instructed these companies to suppress certain content. Twitter is not doing that well as a company and its growth has slowed considerably and it is still losing a lot of money, and it does not seem in their best financial interests to ban so many accounts so capriciously, which opens the possibly that someone is telling them to do so. Banning popular accounts means followers of said accounts may lose interest in the site. It is also possible that twitter is being subverted internally and acting against shareholder interests. Shareholders of these companies, not just Twitter, should demand an explanation or some statement about this, and should make a fuss. That is why in spite being a shareholder of tech companies, I am raising this issue. Even if Twitter is a private company and can ban any anyone it wants, they still have a duty to shareholders.