It was this time last year Silicon Valley rolled out a long-anticipated purge of political dissidents from the 21st-century digital public square, starting all the way at the top with President Donald Trump. In the aftermath of a two-hour riot at the Capitol, the outgoing president became the most canceled man in America. The dynamic later flipped, making him uncancellable as a consequence of social media giants’ dramatic overreach.
Within 48 hours last year, Trump was stripped from Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter. Shopify pulled the president’s online stores from its platform and YouTube escalated its enforcement against claims of voter fraud.
Then came a crackdown on Republican supporters. TikTok blocked the hashtag “patriotparty.” Reddit banned the massive r/DonaldTrump subreddit page, and tech giants Apple, Google, and Amazon colluded to make Parler, the free speech alternative to Twitter, a relic of the past. It’s only a matter of time before they make same example out of Gettr, another social media platform gaining traction.
On Sunday, Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene was permanently suspended from Twitter. Her crime? Sharing statistics from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) maintained by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). According to the New York Times, Greene published a chart from the CDC claiming the data showed “extremely high amounts of COVID vaccine deaths.”
The post earned Greene a fifth and final strike under Twitter’s policy against “misinformation,” which provokes permanent suspension. Greene was given her third strike in July when she claimed the novel Wuhan coronavirus was not dangerous for individuals under 65 and at a healthy weight. Greene’s official Twitter account remains online with nearly 400,000 followers.
Shortly after Greene was kicked from Twitter, the Georgia congresswoman was slapped with a 24-hour suspension on Facebook for a similar alleged violation of the platform’s community standards, i.e., permitted viewpoints. Greene revealed the suspension in a Telegram post Monday morning.
“A post violated our policies and we have removed it; but removing her account for this violation is beyond the scope of our policies,” a spokesperson for Meta, formerly Facebook, told the Wall Street Journal.
Greene, a sitting member of Congress, is not the only one to suffer immediate de-platforming to start off the new year. Dr. Robert Malone, a pioneer in mRNA technology, was also kicked off Twitter for unclear reasons just before his appearance on the “Joe Rogan Podcast.”
A viral clip from the podcast outlining the presence of “mass formation psychosis” gripping the western world over coronavirus hysteria then became the subject of censorship on Google-owned YouTube.
Just as last year introduced a radical escalation of censorship, this year promises to be no different. Trump was at least an outgoing elected official when he was removed from nearly all major online platforms last year, with less than 20 days left in office. Greene is only halfway through her first term with no plans to retire.
The censorship won’t stop. The ideological forces behind it have benefitted too much. It helped land their preferred presidential candidate in the White House. It kept millions of Americans trapped in their homes for months on end to record profits for big business. It’s enabled bad actors to manipulate the public discussion and brand outcasts out of those who fail to follow the predetermined narrative, to detrimental consequences.
There’s another election just 10 months away, and therefore a lot more to censor.