The world’s tech giants like Google, Apple, Twitter, Facebook, Amazon have now become enemies of the people with their censorship that poses great dangers to the world’s civilization.
Today, before leaving for the southern borders in Texas, at Air Force One Departure, President Donald Trump took on these tech giants in his strongest words of condemnation.
The President said, “I think that big tech is doing a horrible thing for our country and to our country. And I believe it’s going to be a catastrophic mistake for them. They’re dividing and divisive, and they’re showing something that I’ve been predicting for a long time. I’ve been predicting it for a long time, and people didn’t act on it.”
Last week, Twitter has announced the permanent suspension of Donald Trump’s account following a number of temporary locks on his account this week. Facebook also suspended the President’s account.
“After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them — specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter — we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence,” Twitter said in a statement.
Referring to the Capitol riots, the President said, “We have support probably like nobody has ever seen before. Always have to avoid violence.”
“But I think big tech has made a terrible mistake, and very, very bad for our country. And that’s leading others to do the same thing, and it causes a lot of problems and a lot of danger. Big mistake. They shouldn’t be doing it. But there’s always a counter move when they do that. I’ve never seen such anger as I see right now, and that’s a terrible thing. Terrible thing,” Trump said before Air Force One departure.
Last week, soon after his account was blocked from Twitter, Donald Trump tried to post a tweet from the official presidential account.
“As I have been saying for a long time, Twitter has gone further and further in banning free speech, and tonight, Twitter employees have coordinated with the Democrats and the Radical Left in removing my account from their platform, to silence me – and YOU, the 75,000,000 great patriots who voted for me,” he wrote. “We will not be SILENCED!”
Secretary of State Michael Pompeo on Monday criticized censorship by media and Big Tech, calling for “wokeism” to be put to sleep, during a speech he gave at a Voice of America-hosted event.
“I read that some VOA employees didn’t want me to speak here today. I’m sure it was only a handful. They didn’t want the voice of American diplomacy to be broadcast on the Voice of America. Think about that for just a moment,” he said.
“This kind of censorial instinct is dangerous. It’s morally wrong. Indeed, it’s against your statutory mandate here at VOA. Censorship, wokeness, political correctness. It all points in one direction — authoritarianism cloaked as moral righteousness,” Pompeo said.
He then compared it to censorship by Big Tech. “Similar to what we’re seeing at Twitter and Facebook and Apple and on too many university campuses today. It’s not who we are. It’s not who we are as Americans. And it’s not what the Voice of America should be. It’s time that we simply put woke-ism to sleep,” Pompeo said.
But censorship does not end here. Amazon struck another blow to the social media platform Parler. On Saturday, Amazon Web Services suspended Parler from its web hosting services effective 11:59 p.m.
In another serious case, YouTube banned Steve Bannon’s podcast channel hours after Rudy Giuliani appeared on an episode and blamed the Capitol siege on Democrats.
Besides, tens of thousands of Trump supporters’ accounts have been suspended on Facebook and Twitter. The fight goes on.
Yesterday President Trump declared that an emergency exists in the District of Columbia and ordered Federal assistance to supplement the District’s response efforts due to the emergency conditions resulting from the 59th Presidential Inauguration from January 11 to January 24, 2021.
By Winnie Troppie
Big Tech is creating a dangerous censorship precedent
This week’s social media ban of President Trump and other conservatives isn’t a violation of the First Amendment. It is a violation of common sense — and the precedent it sets is no less scary.
The First Amendment prohibits government censorship of speech, rather than decisions by private companies. But the censorship of certain users by powerful tech companies — companies aligned with one political party — still set off alarm bells across the ideological spectrum. The ACLU warned of the “unchecked power” of Big Tech after Twitter’s ban of President Trump; even German Chancellor Angela Merkel, no fan of the president, said the move was concerning.
Not only are these tech platforms banning individual users for their views, but have now moved to ban Parler — a competing social media platform they don’t own. Apple and Google have removed the app from their online stores, effectively making it impossible for users to access this service.
Amazon put the final nail in Parler’s coffin by kicking it off their cloud servers. After Amazon made the move, Parler’s website became unreachable. Millions of people were silenced, no matter what they were discussing. (Not everyone on Parler was ranting about the election—there were still cat memes, food pics and complaints about the kids being home from school.)
Within a matter of days, Parler went from being the number one app on Apple’s App Store to being unreachable.
The justification for banning Parler? Apple, Google, and Amazon claim that Parler doesn’t police its users’ comments enough. This is rich coming from the companies fighting tooth and nail to keep Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act that offers tech companies legal protection from their users’ false claims.
Are Apple, Google and Amazon applying the same standard for other apps on their platforms? Twitter currently allows violent foreign leaders access to their platform, including Iran’s Ayatollah, Venezuela’s Maduro and Turkey’s Erdogan. Allowing Twitter to host these people is an unbelievable hypocrisy.
Parler CEO John Matze said that the situation was a “coordinated attack by the tech giants to kill competition in the marketplace.” He raises a good point: Could it be coincidence that within 48 hours the three giants all elected action that would kill a private company? I expect litigation will be considered regarding possible breach of contract, tortuous interference of business, anti-trust and conceivably RICO given the close timing of the 3 tech companies action to suffocate the smaller Parler.
Historically, when conservatives got frustrated with the biased reporting of the mainstream media, competitors emerged to fill the gap. But imagine if CNN and Comcast were able to strangle a fledgling Fox News in its infancy — denying it access to viewers. (Or if The Washington Post could pressure suppliers to keep The Washington Times from buying a printing press.)
While Mr. Trump is a unique and often inaccurate social media presence, tech platforms are using him to set a disturbing censorship precedent. Their justification for banning him is that Mr. Trump made an unsupported claim that the election was stolen, thus creating a potential for violence. To be clear, Mr. Trump has not specifically called for violence using social media platforms — he riled up his base with false claims. Using this logic, any number of people could be banned from social media. For instance, some activists who claim all police are racists are repeating a falsehood that can and did lead to violence last summer.
If Twitter existed in 2000 during the Bush-Gore election, millions of Democrats would have used the platform to falsely claim that the election was stolen from Mr. Gore — just as Republicans now falsely say it was stolen from Mr. Trump. Sunlight on these inaccurate claims, rather than censorship, is the best disinfectant. The misinformation, frustration, and hatred that drove rioters to enter the Capitol will not disappear because some executive at Amazon wants it to go away. If anything, it will only cause these sentiments to fester.
The attack on the Capitol — and our democracy — was bad enough on its own. Big Tech should not be allowed to use the attack as an opportunity to stifle the speech of millions.
Idaho company to block Facebook and Twitter for censorship
An internet provider based in northern Idaho, says it will block Facebook and Twitter from its WIFI service for some customers due to claims of censorship.
KREM-TV reports that the decision by Your T1 WIFI came after Twitter and Facebook banned President Trump from their platforms due to incitement of violence and undermining the transition of power to President-elect Joe Biden.
Your T1 WIFI, based in Priest River, Idaho, provides internet service in parts of northern Idaho and Spokane, Washington.
The company said Monday it decided to block Facebook and Twitter for customers who request that starting next Wednesday after the company received several calls from customers about both websites.
The internet company posted a note to customers saying it does not believe a website or social networking site has the authority to censor what you see and post and hide information from you. It also said it would block Facebook and Twitter on its internet service only for customers who asked.
World Leaders Denounce Big Tech Censorship of President Donald Trump
Political elites worldwide have criticized big tech companies for banning President Donald Trump from their social media platforms.
At present, the president has been banned from Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat, Reddit, and Instagram.
Twitter permanently removed Trump’s account, saying that his recent posts were in violation of the “Glorification of Violence Policy.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel called Twitter’s ban on Trump “problematic,” and said that freedom of opinion is an essential right of “elementary significance,” her spokesperson, Steffen Siebert, said on Jan 11.
“This fundamental right can be intervened in, but according to the law and within the framework defined by legislators—not according to a decision by the management of social media platforms,” Siebert said.
“Seen from this angle, the chancellor considers it problematic that the accounts of the U.S. president have now been permanently blocked,” he said.
Members of the French government agreed.
Clement Beaune, the junior minister for European Union affairs, said he was “shocked” a private company made this kind of decision.
“This should be decided by citizens, not by a CEO,” he told Bloomberg TV on Monday. “There needs to be public regulation of big online platforms.”
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire also condemned the move and said that tech giants were part of a digital oligarchy that was a threat to democracy.
Manfred Weber, the leader of the European People’s Party—a centre-right political party—echoed Beaune and called for Big Tech firms to be regulated.
“We cannot leave it to American Big Tech to decide how we can or cannot discuss online. Today’s mechanisms destroy the compromise searching and consensus-building that are crucial in free and democratic societies. We need a stricter regulatory approach,” he wrote on Twitter on Jan. 11.
Meanwhile, Norway’s left-wing Labor Party leader Jonas Gahr Støre said that Big Tech censorship threatens political freedom around the world.
He said Twitter needs to apply the same standard globally that it did to Trump.
“This is a line where freedom of expression is also at stake,” said Støre. “If Twitter starts with this sort of thing, it means that they have to go around the world and look at other people completely astray, and shut them out.”
The Australian government has also called the ban on Trump an act of “censorship.”
Acting Prime Minister Michael McCormack said, “There’s been a lot of people who have said and done a lot of things on Twitter previously that haven’t received that sort of condemnation or indeed censorship. I’m not one who believes in that sort of censorship.”
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said he was uncomfortable with Twitter’s ban on Trump. “Those decisions were taken by commercial companies, but personally, I felt uncomfortable with what they did,” he said.
Quoting Voltaire’s famous line: “I may not agree with what you say, but I defend the right to say it,” Frydenberg said that freedom of speech is fundamental to a democratic society.
Fellow Liberal Party member and senator, Alex Antic, said he will push for a Senate Select Committee into Big Tech’s influence and censorship of political ideas when the Australian Parliament resumes next month.
Antic told The Epoch Times on Jan. 12 that he is concerned that Big Tech can so easily censor one side of the debate.
“Our democratic process is founded on our ability to share ideas freely and to be exposed to challenging and opposing viewpoints. It is crucial to the integrity of that process that Big Tech companies do not censor one side of the debate,” Antic said.
Mexican President Manuel López Obrador also echoed his global counterparts, with Reuters reporting that he said it was a bad sign when private companies try to censor opinion.
Obrador said a “court of censorship like an inquisition to manage public opinion.”
“I don’t like anybody being censored or taking away from the right to post a message on Twitter or Face(book),” he said.
In Russia, the opposition leader, Alexey Navalny, who is an outspoken anti-corruption campaigner, said he believed the ban was an unacceptable form of censorship and was based not on a genuine need but rather Twitter’s political preferences.
In a thread posted on the platform on Jan. 10, Navalny said: “Don’t tell me he was banned for violating Twitter rules. I get death threats here every day for many years, and Twitter doesn’t ban anyone.”
He noted that this pattern had been seen before in both Russian and China when big companies utilise their position to become a government best friend and enabler when it comes to state-based censorship laws.
“This precedent will be exploited by the enemies of freedom of speech around the world. In Russia as well. Every time when they need to silence someone, they will say: ‘this is just common practice, even Trump got blocked on Twitter,’” he wrote on Twitter.