Yesterday, InfoWars was banned from multiple platforms, including YouTube, Facebook, and Apple, among others, during a coordinated effort by the aforementioned companies. While Alex and his company still have access to the web at his flagship website, losing these channels of promotion to fans and followers will be a massive hit to traffic and revenue. There’s nothing else to call it but social media oppression.
It’s easy to turn a blind eye and shrug this blatant act of censorship off. “Alex Jones had it coming,” the critics espouse. After all, some of the things InfoWars and Jones’ publish are absolutely unfounded and ridiculous, including conspiracies surrounding the Sandy Hook tragedy and extraterrestrials, among others. What isn’t so easy is standing up for key democratic principles when staying silent gets us something we want. In this case, critics and ideologues want Alex Jones’ to lose his ability to reach his audience. They say the true character of a person is tested when things are hardest; do people who claim to love liberty, freedom, and the open exchange of ideas stay quiet or do they speak up in defense of someone they may or may not like? Their actions say a lot about them, sometimes more than the people in the spotlight.
Take Republican Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas). He and his family have been the repeated target of Jones’ theories. Jones’ once alleged that Ted Cruz was the Zodiac killer, an infamous American serial killer, and that his dad, Rafael Cruz, killed John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Despite this, Cruz stood by his convictions and took to the airways to defend Alex Jones and InfoWars when Facebook gave them a 30 day suspension last month.
Am no fan of Jones — among other things he has a habit of repeatedly slandering my Dad by falsely and absurdly accusing him of killing JFK — but who the hell made Facebook the arbiter of political speech? Free speech includes views you disagree with. #1A https://t.co/RC5v4SHaiI
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) July 28, 2018
“It’s not social media oppression. Private companies can do what they wish!”
That’s one of the most ironic statements ever made by extreme left-wing progressives, who, on a good day, don’t believe in the right of individuals to own property – let alone for massive corporations to control public speech and discord. Would they react the same if it was someone on “their team” being censored? For example, former president Obama, former vice president Joe Biden, or any one of the excessive number of far left-wing “news” outlets? In many of the recent cases of censorship against conservatives, including the isolation and virtual Warsaw-ghettofication of one of Reddit’s most popular subreddits, the_donald, Twitter “shadow banning” (hiding from searches and news feeds) prominent conservatives like Candace Owens and Diamond and Silk (The Verge was sickeningly delighted about this one), YouTube demonetizing many conservatives across the board, Google hiding and artificially rearranging search results based on political ideology, and Facebook mass removing groups, pages, and shadow banning the opposition, there were absolutely no citable violations of any of the platforms’ Terms of Service. These poor sods simply had too much to think.
It’s clear whose team these companies are on. Instead of being a neutral domain for discussion and allowing the public to form their own opinions, they are actively engaged in political social media oppression for the sake of having views they see as correct and worthy featured in what is arguably the modern “public square.”
No, this purge isn’t about “fake news.” If it was, companies that publish daily libelous slander and outright invented stories like Vox, Jezebel, The Verge, CNN, parts of Vice, and Buzzfeed among a garbage dump full of others would also have their social media footprints thrown into content jail and their ability to reach audiences restricted. But social media oppression exclusively targeting conservatives isn’t about fairness. It isn’t about what’s real or what’s not real. It’s about controlling the narrative – deciding what people see and what they think about it before they get to see it and decide themselves.
In today’s world, these platforms make the difference between having a voice and being silenced. There simply is no existing on the internet without them. They hold the monopoly on who sees what, and because of that, they should be held to a standard of objectivity. Notwithstanding illegal content, it should be up to users to form their own opinions – not corporate monopolies.