I didn’t celebrate when Jones was banned. Collectively, all these stories represent a revolutionary moment in media. Jones is an incidental player in a much larger narrative.
Both the Jones situation and the Facebook-Atlantic Council deletions seem an effort to fulfill a request made last year by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Last October, Facebook, Google and Twitter were asked by Hawaii Senator Mazie Hizono to draw up a “mission statement” to “prevent the foment of discord.”
Companies like Facebook might have balked before. They have long taken a position that’s very Star Trek, very Prime-Directive: We do not interfere. Mark Zuckerberg, as late as 2016, was saying, “editing content… that’s not us.”
But now all stops are being pulled out, and all principles overturned, because #RESISTANCE!!!!
The CEO of major online retailing platform Shopify deleted a post detailing the company’s commitment to free speech this week as the company began purging gun-related retailers.
Tobias Lutke, founder and CEO of Shopify, deleted a 2017 post titled “In Support of Free Speech” and republished it with an addendum in a new post, “In Support of Free Speech (Updated).” In the new post, Lutke declared the company’s previous commitment to allowing retailers to use the platform so long as they did not violate any laws because of the brand’s dedication to the principle of free speech “too idealistic and functionally unworkable on the fast moving internet.”
Our woke #Resistance ruling class compares itself to the WWII undergrounds, but lacks the courage, or even the inclination, to resist shaming by its fellows. It’s more like Mean Girls than the Resistance.
There was a time when the cheerful singing of a canary was the only way for coal miners to know that their air supply was safe. Since these birds are extremely sensitive to the effects of carbon monoxide and methane, if one became ill or died it would serve as an early warning of danger to the vulnerable miners trapped deep underground. The practice of using canaries in this way was phased out long ago, but the analogy of the dying canary serving as a warning of a bigger problem has become entrenched in the English language, and is used to refer to an isolated event which on its own may not mean much but which serves as a tangible warning of a much bigger problem busy brewing.
The censorship and attack on Alex Jones of InfoWars is the canary in the coalmine of censorship. True, many do not agree with his beliefs, and some of his theories are outrageous, but that’s not the point. The point is that free speech is protected in the United States, and what social media platforms have done by turning on him as one, deciding for themselves that what he says constitutes “hate speech,” is nothing more than cyber bullying taken to a new level.