Twitter rang in the new year with one of the most prolific political purges in the young history of the digital age, leapfrogging Facebook and YouTube to claim the top spot in the censorship sweepstakes.
The festivities began in earnest in 2018 with the coordinated banning of right-wing nutbag Alex Jones and his conspiracy program Infowars. This was done under the guise of protecting innocent people from “fake news.” How good of Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey to act as our nannies. Without their paternal oversight our small little minds might be corrupted by unsavory views. Sarcasm aside, I happen to think that grown-ups should be allowed to decide for themselves what is true and what is false. In order to do so they have to have access to all the available perspectives, including those deemed “dangerous” by tech monopolies. If a small percentage end up adopting the wrong opinions, well, that’s part of living in a free society. If you want total conformity of thought, enforced by powerful people, move to Saudi Arabia.
Evidently, many people slept through Orwell Day in high school. How else can we explain all the positive reactions to blatant political censorship?
It began with Alex Jones; now it has expanded to social media accounts belonging to governments at odds with the United States; alternative media outlets countering official US narratives; and even individual people with no connection to any government or media outlet, but who raise inconvenient questions and look at things from a different perspective than the one espoused by, say, the Washington Post.
Twitter’s most recent censorship spree was reported on in detail by The Grayzone:
“In this latest purge, Twitter suspended the official accounts of Venezuela’s National Guard, Navy, Air Force, Strategic Command, Petroleum Ministry, Penitentiary Services Ministry, National Commission of Information Technology, and Foundation Engineering Institute.
Alternative news outlets in Venezuela were also unplugged, as was the account of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (it was later reinstated).
Washington is targeting Maduro’s government; therefore, so is Twitter.
Who else is being targeted by Washington? Iran is. Therefore:
“In the wake of the Trump administration’s execution of Iran’s top general Soleimani, a clear act of war, Twitter moved to restrict the account of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.” Moreover:
“Many individual Iranians have been targeted as well. Users posted lists of dozens of Iranians who had their accounts taken down. These included prominent activists, journalists, and researchers who challenged Western propaganda and disinformation against their country.”
“On January 4, Twitter temporarily suspended the official Twitter account of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. A few days later, amid backlash, it restored the account.
“Twitter has repeatedly suspended and restricted the profile of Syria’s president, forcing the country’s presidential office to create multiple accounts (neither of which has verified by the company).”
Is that clear enough? As we move deeper into the darkness of the digital age, I think it’s time we retired the term “Stalinist Purge” (most young’uns probably don’t know who Stalin was) and replaced it with Dorsey-esque Purge.” Or “Zuckerbergian Purge.” Either will do.