It is easy to celebrate Trump’s ouster from Twitter. What is hard for many, including the ACLU, is understanding the future implications for the vast majority of free speech being under the unchecked control of a handful of people in Silicon Valley.
By King Lars
To say that the signs of social fissure have been on the horizon would be a gross understatement. The grandiose division of the American public has been a slow-rolling meteor hurling toward the planet, nearly impossible to miss. All of the sudden, we have popped our domestic ‘political violence cherry.’
With the complete disruption of daily life in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, combined with the political turbulence in the Trump era, the fringes of both the left and right have taken to violent means to convey their dissatisfaction with the status quo. The most recent incarnation of this political violence, put on grand display with the ongoing protests over the summer, has taken a distinct turn to the right with the siege on the capitol in D.C.
The response to this act has been lock-step by Silicon Valley. In an unprecedented move, Twitter has permanently banned the personal Twitter account of President Trump, effectively severing him from his chosen outlet with the American public. However, Trump is not the only one to be axed from the platform. Other co-conspirators who supported Trump’s claim of a stolen election were also banned from the platform, including Sidney Powell and Michael Flynn, and many convervative groups have conspicuously been removed mere days following the siege on the capitol.
Twitter states that this decisive ban was in response to the president’s alleged incitement to violence and future plans of a “secondary attack.” While this has been met with applause on many on the left, the ensuing conservative purge on social media should be cause for alarm for everyone, regardless of political affiliation.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which has filed multiple legal actions against the Trump administration, has come out against the ban, claiming that Twitter’s move was proof of “unchecked power” on part of the social media platform.
Twitter, however, is not the only internet juggernaut to take moves against conservative voices. Google has already made moves to block the right-leaning social media platform Parler from its app store, and Apple has made similar threats if the company does not make changes on its platform. Other conservative groups, including the Walk Away campaign, have been purged from Facebook, and others are sure to follow under the guise of reconciliation.
Immediately, there are glaring discrepancies with the move to ban the sitting president of the United States and other conservative organizations on the platform. A cursory search will find that known human rights violators, such as the Chinese Communist Party, and literal terrorist organizations are still allowed to use the platform unabated. The facts just don’t add up.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which has filed multiple legal actions against the Trump administration, has come out against the ban, claiming that Twitter’s move was proof of “unchecked power” on part of the social media platform. The argument is that if Twitter is able to silence the most powerful man in the world, they would have carte blanche in silencing smaller, less powerful voices on the platform and further jeopardize the concept of freedom of speech online.
While this would surely seem to be against the fiber of American freedoms, many on the left are championing the move. The modus operandi of society is the willful and mutual misrepresentation of those who do not hold their same convictions, and this has resulted in turning a blind eye to serious violations of freedoms. Certainly, while things are in your favor, it seems natural to welcome increasing authoritarianism in the name of political victory.
As anyone familiar with history can attest, this hard clamp down of dissent will likely not end well. A dangerous sentiment has taken root on the American psyche. Complaining about rights has become essentially pointless. Opposing sides are seemingly unable to come to a consensus and merely want their own riots to be supported by the state while the other side is crushed into oblivion. Trump and Biden have merely become two wrinkled avatars that embody the warring factions of American life. As the great political pendulum swings, the more powers that are granted, the more that can be potentially used against you.
If Trump supporters thought they were unheard before, banning them from the web will only exacerbate the problem.
The inconsistency from the left on this one is nothing short of spectacular and wondrous. Can they not imagine a short chain of events that would put one of their talking heads on the chopping block of Big Tech? Public sentiments in the U.S. are known to ebb and flow and the past 9 months has proven the left is not innocent of political violence. A couple incidents with a few accidentally dead cops/kids could flip the script in moments. Never mind the fact that leftist political ideology would mandate that Big tech be nationalized hence making it subject to 1st Amendment protections.
If Trump supporters thought they were unheard before, banning them from the web will only exacerbate the problem. We are going toward a future with politicized services. Twitter for the left, and Parler for the right. With growing polarization, there will likely be more conflict. Silencing perspectives will not eradicate them. Instead, they grow stronger in their respective echo chambers, clamoring into their segregated areas of the internet to rant and rave. These purges will only increase the division in America, delaying true reconciliation in favor of moral, public displays.