It’s been a tough few weeks for anyone worried about the political discourse in the United States.
After YouTube, Spotify, and Facebook all blocked the controversial commentator Alex Jones, and Twitter blocked Antiwar.com’s Scott Horton and Ron Paul Institute’s Daniel McAdams, the micro-blogging website is at it again, destroying accounts belonging to common Americans who are huge supporters of President Donald Trump.
In its fight against “fake news,” Twitter is trying to purge the website from “bots” by deleting fake or suspicious accounts that tweet regularly in defense of the president.
By deleting one million of accounts per day, however, Twitter is not just deleting fake users. It’s also deleting legit accounts whose owners happen to be very much in favor of the president.
One of these users is Nina Tomasieski, who’s passionate about Trump and who regularly tweets and retweets on behalf of the current administration. Because of her devotion, Twitter has flagged her account several times in the past.
“Almost all of us are considered a bot,” Tomasieski said.
Another user, Cynthia Smith, goes through the same.
She told reporters her account was “shadow banned,” making her tweets become less visible than others’. Yet, she told reporters, she’s a real person in Southern California, “I am no bot.”
Freedom Of Speech And Mob Rule
As Mises Institute President Jeff Deist explained in a recent article, the social media purge of certain loud political voices is not just the product of a handful of private companies acting on their beliefs peacefully.
With politicians pushing companies like Facebook to delete accounts associated with Jones such as Sen. Chris Murphy, Deist explained, what private entities see is the threat of government using its arsenal against them if they don’t comply.
“What exactly does Mr. Murphy imply for noncompliance?” Deist asks. “Harsh new regulations? Antitrust inquiries? Tax audits?”
In the end, this is nothing but extortion.
With big tech being so deeply involved with the government, both because of its dependence on Washington to keep out competitors and because it could be forced out of existence if it stood against the powers that be, it’s easy to understand how, sometimes, the industry is seen as such a power player. As such, it’s difficult not to see a cohesive movement to censor certain groups on their platforms as a nearly government-led campaign against their message.
Still, Twitter is a private organization and as such, it has the right to set its own guidelines. However, with the company targeting so many users whose politics seem to go against its own, we shouldn’t act surprised when supporters of users impacted complain.