Twitter Suspends Al-Ahed News English Account For No Clear Reason!

Twitter Suspends Al-Ahed News English Account For No Clear Reason!

By Staff

Beirut – Twitter has once again suspended al-Ahed News English account as part of its got-used-to crackdown on the freedom of speech.

Al-Ahed News will keep its job covering news and humanitarian issues and being the voice of the oppressed and the vulnerable, despite all attempts to silence them.

Ahed News English: https://twitter.com/ala_alahed

Kindly follow and help us spread the news!

Poland Coordinates Protests in Minsk. Why Russia Needs Runet as an Information Shield

Video by REDUX, it was then posted by Bornaya Solyanka, a successor channel to PolitRussia which has been deleted from YouTube since shortly before August 20th.

Poland Coordinates Protests in Minsk. Why Russia Needs Runet as an Information Shield

Translated by Sasha and captioned by Leonya.

The events in Belorussia bring on more than thoughts about the brotherly country’s internal and external political problems. The shutting down of the Internet over there and the phenomenon of the Telegram channel ‘Nexta’ (Belorussian word for ‘Someone’) make worth an examination of the informational aspect of such a thing as a street protest, particularly in view of the fact that in the era of Internet it is the information which brings people into the streets.

The rally and street protest as a sable form of the public city protest ritual have been considerably transformed under influence of the Internet and social networks. The methods for political mobilization and protest preparation have also changed with the appearance of the so-called new media. The key issue of these methods is naturally the conversion rate, the transformation of a social network reader and user into an active participant of a protest action in the street. The crux is that users can express their discontent at will and on mass in the social networks. But this does not result in people coming out into the streets. The thing is that joining the protests is practically always an emotionally rather than rationally validated action for an ordinary participant. Initially, according to sociologists, the propaganda is always directed to the young generation. The organizers play on the youths’ need to raise the self evaluation and to experience new emotions.

“The youth in any society is the most protest prone electorate,” explains sociologist, the director of the Enterprise group of the Sociology Institute, Maria Fil. “A generational conflict takes place here because the authorities are associated with a certain domineering of the older generation who allegedly are imposing their rules of play, the order of behaviour. In a wider sense it is the fathers and sons problem. The young want to announce themselves, want to have more opportunities and it seems to them that those opportunities are not as freely available as they would be, should the authorities be replaced. The opposition leaders arm themselves with an image of a modern advanced person.” Additionally it is important to evoke within a protester strong negative emotions. So the principal supporting factor for people’s emotions that make them come out in the streets can be the visuals of dispersing of rallies, when the security forces pound the protestors. After all it is a strong source for outrage. And the more such videos appear, the stronger probabilityfor those people appearing in the square who previously were not sure they needed to act. The advantage that the protest organizers have against their opponents, the authorities, is obvious: in most cases it is impossible to determine whether the attacked were the genuine protesters as opposed to those who attacked the police themselves. Of course you can spend a few hours in order to find out these nuances. But this has no bearing whatsoever on the target audience. So all that is left in the viewer’s mind is the violence of the law enforcement against the civilians.

After the first dispersals and arrests dozens of videos will appear on the Internet, which will trigger the chain reaction. The entire anger stowed withing the society will blaze up from one match strike, whose role will be performed by the right photos and videos. In these conditions the decision to block the Internet does not appear to be so stupid. It becomes rather logical. This way the authorities can kill two birds with one stone. Firstly, the interaction on the Internet has a direct influence on the formulating the rules for behaviour during the protest and at the point of detention. The protests are prepared on the Internet, there the problem is discussed, supporters are recruited. And next, when the protest moves into the street, the crowd’s movements are coordinated through the Internet. This means the demonstrators must be deprived of this possibility to coordinate their actions. But, as I said earlier, it is even more important for the authorities to deprive the protest of the new energy, which can be created by the same videos of protest dispersals and beatings. In this light, the situation in which Belorussia found itself is very interesting, when the country blocked everything it could, even to the detriment of its own economy, but was unable to block the Telegram with Nexta within it. The Belorussian authorities faced a completely new problem here, for whose solution they did not prepare in advance. Possibly they did not even suspect its existence. This problem can be briefly described as a punctured informational shield. In other words, to attempt blocking the social networks and fail at it is more effective than not trying to turn off anything.

According to the preliminary assessments the modest republic’s economy was losing up to $56 million a day. But this is not as bad as the informational vacuum which the authorities created with their own hands and which was filled by the oppositional channel ‘Nexta’, whose creators, the way, live in Poland by the way, and which gained almost 2 million subscribers in a couple of days, having become, in fact, the principle coordinator of the protests and the largest Russian language political Telegram channel. Compare: the popular and quite reputable channel “Nezygar’” has merely 348 thousand subscribers, which used to seem a huge number. Aleksei Navalny has only 176 thousand subscribers to his Telegram channel. I will not analyze the ‘Nexta’ channel in the context of Belorussian protests. I am more interested in something different. Everything points at the fact that a new anti-Russian media giant appeared under our noses, which, in addition to everything else, is practically out of range for the Russian law enforcement system. There should be no doubt in the Russophobic nature of the newly born Russian-language Polish media source. The channel simply gleams with outward Russophobia and a few times it transmitted fakes, one of which was the post about the ‘Russian spetsnaz’ beating up ordinary Belorussians. Have a look.

Besides this channel’s posts are soaked with calls for radicalization of the protest. Interesting are the personalities who created the channel. For instance the chief editor of ‘Nexta’ is Roman Protasevich, who used to work for the American ‘Radio Freedom’ and for the Lithuanian-Polish ‘Euro Radio’. The problem is that if some protests start in the territory of the Russian Federation, that channel will be able to easily tell the protesters what and how they should do all the way from Poland. And if the comrades from ‘Nexta’ calls for throwing Molotov cocktails into the law enforcement forces or shoot at them with fireworks, ‘Nexta’ could not be held into account. They are in Poland. Out of reach. In this hypothetical situation ‘Nexta’, calling for the protest radicalization, will not be acting in the people’s interest. Because this would cause casualties among both the law enforcement forces and among the protesters, and would bring to naught any possible concessions on behalf of the authorities, which would be quite possible in the case of a peaceful protest. As is the case in Khabarovsk, where there have been no dispersals of rallies, nor forceful detentions, nor beatings of citizens. On the contrary, the clerk in the rank of Prime Minister visited the region for the first time in thirteen years. Prior to Mishustin, it was Fratkov who visited the region in the remote year of 2007. All that time the leaders of the country demonstrated their attention to the region’s problems only from a distance. This illustrates perfectly the role of peaceful protests in Khabarovsk in the transformation of the Center’s attitude towards the entire Far East.

Russia should be thinking today how it should behave when the described above situation appears here. Because pinpoint strikes against particular agitators inside the country would be useless. Because the entire coordination of actions and the feeding the ever renewed videos and photos of beaten up teenagers to the undecided will be directed from abroad. Yes, Russia can repeat the mistake of Belorussian authorities and try to cover herself with a punctured informational shield. But here, it seems to me, the real help to Russia could be rendered by the sovereign Runet, of which there was so much talk some time ago. For instance, the Telegram channel ‘On Duty in Iran’ draws the example of the last year’s protests in Iran. This is what it says: “The Belorussian protests reminded me of the demonstrations in Iran back in November which was lucky to witness… the Iranian way of neutralizing the protest threat looks a lot more successful (than the Belorussian one). They didn’t just turn off the Internet within 24 hours, but launched the ‘national internet’, which meant that a widen local service remained: the state media sites continued working, so did banking systems, food deliveries and taxis, ticket sales – practically everything in the .Irzone, but no social networks, no messengers, youtubes or even email. The ‘national internet’ was prepared for almost two years but the result turned out impressive: it was practically impossible to bypass the blocking, while the basic infrastructure kept working. It is an extremely effective short term measure.”

This way, in case of events developing according to earlier described scenario, the sovereign Runet would help to prevent bloodshed and keep the protest within the peaceful framework, without causing damage to the country’s economy. Yes, technical questions arise as well as the danger of misuse of the instrument by the authorities. However the Kremlin and Russian society still have enough time to reach a compromise, having created a powerful shield against the external resources like ‘Nexta’, which, besides its role described above, could be used first and foremost for protection of important infrastructure of the country from cyber attacks during the cyber war, which I covered in my previous video. This is all for today. Write your comments, rate this video, subscribe to the channel and to my group in VKontakte (the link is in the description to this video), and see you soon.

SOUTHFRONT CENSORSHIP ON YOUTUBE – SUPPORT TEAM STRIKES BACK

South Front

SouthFront Censorship On YouTube - Support Team Strikes Back

YouTube continues attempts to justify its illegal decision to censor SouthFront.

More than 1.5 months since the censorship of SouthFront on YouTube, the YouTube staff has been ignoring SouthFront rejecting requests to provide at least some kind of formal reason behind this decision. However, in mid-June, YouTube finally invented some formal explanation for its illegal decision to censor SouthFront.

Now, YouTube claims that SouthFront’s main channel was terminated because of “repeated or severe violations” of YouTube Community Guidelines, including “spam, scams or commercially deceptive content”. The claim that SouthFront content on YouTube somehow promoted spam, scams or deceptive content is a blatant lie.

HINT: On May 1, YouTube terminated all of South Front’s channels, with approximately 170,000 subscribers. The main YouTube channel in English had over 152,000 subscribers, 1,900 uploaded videos and approximately 60 million views. The termination of our channels occurred without any warnings or notifications and regardless of the fact that our YouTube channels had zero active strikes.

We immediately appealed this decision and during the next weeks repeatedly requested YouTube to explain reasons behind it. However, no real answers have been provided until now.

A summary of the recent events:

On June 16, YouTube requested us to provide him links to SouthFront channels, which were terminated (like YouTube Support Team cannot get these links by itself):

Click to see the full-size image

SouthFront provided all the requested information:

Click to see the full-size image

On June 18, YouTube finally invented a formal explantion for its unjustified decision to censor SouthFront by claiming that our main YouTube channel with over 152,000 subscribers was promoting “spam, scams or commercially deceptive content”:

Click to see the full-size image

However, this claim goes contrary to YouTube’s official data itself. There was zero YouTube Community Guidelines strikes or any other strikes on the channel.

On May 3, YouTube Support Team officially confirmed this fact in its own email saying that there were “no reasons” to terminate SouthFront’s channel:

Click to see the full-size image

We emphasized this in our answer to YouTube’s new claims:

Click to see the full-size image

On June 22, YouTube made a one more clumsy attempt to explain its decision to censor SouthFront. This time YouTube Support Team claimed that “multiple Community Guideline strikes” may have become the reason behind the termination of our channel.

Click to see the full-size image

Indeed, few years ago, SouthFront’s YouTube channel received Community Guidelines strikes because of a mass flagging of our videos by ill-wishers. These Community Guidelines strikes were removed after our appeals to YouTube Support Team. Therefore, YouTube officially confirmed that these strikes were unjustified or added by mistake. Therefore, SouthFront’s YouTube channel had ZERO strikes when it was terminated.

Click to see the full-size image

On June 23, YouTube sent us a new reply very similar to those that we received previously on June 11This reply does not deal with the current situation in a direct way. In fact, YouTube cannot confirm its claims about supposed Community Guidelines violations because it has no evidence to do so. Therefore, it just used SouthFront’s readiness to defend its rights as a formal pretext to not provide any facts and evidence behind its decision to terminate SouthFront’s channel.

This situation once again demonstrates the double-faced approach of the service that tries to hide blatant acts of censorship behind baseless claims about supposed Community Guidelines violations.

Click to see the full-size image

We eagerly await the further development of this situation. How would YouTube try to explain this act of illegal censorship next time?

YOUR SUPPORT IS CRITICAL TO KEEP SOUTHFRONT ALIVE:

After Youtube and Facebook, Vimeo bans ‘Sayed Hasan’ & Nasrallah’s videos

After Youtube and Facebook, Vimeo bans ‘Sayed Hasan’ & Nasrallah’s videos

May 16, 2020

Source

‘Sayed Hasan’ channel censored for the umpteenth time

The only sure way to follow my work is to subscribe to the Newsletter.

Please write to Vimeo (legal@vimeo.com) to protest this decision, putting me in bcc if possible (contact@lecridespeuples.fr).

On February 28, 2020, Vimeo arbitrarily deleted my channel ‘Sayed Hasan‘ which, since the deletion of my Youtube channel in December 2017 (followed by my Facebook pages in May 2019), published my French subtitled videos —extracts from speeches from Hassan Nasrallah, Ali Khamenei, Vladimir Putin, Bashar al-Assad, alternative anti-imperialist documentaries, Al-Mayadeen or Russian TV News Bulletins, etc. Thus, two years and two months of work, 400 videos posted and 600,000 views, which is not negligible in view of the fact that Vimeo is marginal vis-a-vis the giants Youtube or Facebook and their quasi-monopoly, went up in smoke.

This is not Vimeo’s first act of censorship. In June 2019, the Project Veritas account was banned following the publication of its exclusive investigation into Google’s ideological censorship, the first part of which I captioned.https://www.dailymotion.com/embed/video/x7eegy3

And most recently, in April 2020, at the heart of the coronavirus pandemic, Vimeo censored a documentary denouncing the influence of lobbies on the World Health Organization (WHO).

The Vimeo platform, for which I had to pay an annual fee of 84$ to post my videos, therefore did not prove to be safer than Big Tech, on the contrary: while Youtube has a system of three warnings, largely biased anyway, Vimeo deleted everything without warning, simply informing me in these terms:

mail-1

The reason invoked was grotesque, as no part of the Vimeo Guidelines mentions such a prohibition. The only rules that applied were the —classic and legitimate— Copyright and Fair Use, so I protested to Vimeo on March 9, pointing this out:

mail-2-1

Vimeo’s response came the same day:

mail-3-1

The absurdity and the contradiction were obvious: on the one hand, it was no longer the Vimeo Guidelines that were invoked, but the Terms of Service (note Vimeo’s hypocritical apologies for this ‘confusion’), which don’t make any mention of content from TV or the internet. On the other hand, the original pretext of theft or plagiarism is completely disconnected from the only questions relevant in this regard, namely respect of Copyright and Fair Use, to which long sections of the Vimeo Guidelines are devoted. But Vimeo manages to affirm that even by respecting these rules, my content could not be published because it would not be a 100% original creation, which is absurd, discriminatory and would empty the sections devoted to Fair Use of any interest. I reacted in these terms on March 23:

mail-4

Vimeo refrained from answering for more than 2 weeks. It was only after Norman Finkelstein intervened on my behalf on April 6 that they deigned to answer him (the same day).

mail-5

Vimeo then responded to the second follow-up email that I sent right away, transcribed below with their April 8 response.

mail-6-3
mail-7

I replied to this email empty of substance on April 8:

mail-8

Of course, launching a lawsuit would require resources that I do not have, unless a lawyer or a Civil Liberties association agrees to do them at little cost. I nevertheless ask all those who can to write to Vimeo (legal@vimeo.com), putting me in Bcc if possible (contact@lecridespeuples.fr) to protest against this decision, and share this article widely. It should be noted that at least one lawsuit is currently underway in the United States against Vimeo for freedom of expression issues, a pastor having had his account deleted for having mentioned his renunciation of homosexuality and his journey to God.

This is neither the first nor the last time that I have to start from scratch after years of hard work, when they were bearing fruit. Faced with incessant censorship, which will increase as we approach the inevitable Liberation of Palestine, the only sure way to follow Resistance News is to subscribe to the Newsletter, which is also an important act of support. Please do so and invite your friends to do it.

Finally, those who can are invited to make a donation to help this volunteer work.

My videos in English are accessible on Dailymotion and are safeguarded in the Unz Review.

Everything having been said in two previous articles (Kafka 2.0: how political censorship is exercised on Youtube & Freedom of expression, Hassan Nasrallah and other victims of censorship on the Internet), I will conclude again with Norman Finkelstein’s statement of support when my Facebook page was deleted:

“It is a scandal that the speeches of Hassan Nasrallah are banned on Youtube. Whatever one thinks of his politics, it cannot be doubted that Nasrallah is among the shrewdest and most serious political observers in the world today. Israeli leaders carefully scrutinize Nasrallah’s every word. Why are the rest of us denied this right? One cannot help but wonder whether Nasrallah’s speeches are censored because he doesn’t fit the stereotype of the degenerate, ignorant, blowhard Arab leader. It appears that Western social media aren’t yet ready for an Arab leader of dignified mind and person.”

The online intifada to which Hassan Nasrallah called continued. As he keeps saying since May 25, 2000, the time for victories has come, and the time for defeats is well and truly over: this is why his word is mercilessly hunted down —ironically, on Youtube, the Israeli channel i24 News is the main source still available for his speeches, all the others having been suppressed: the Zionists will even try to make a buck out of the rope to hang them! Repeated censorship is an eloquent sign of the importance of this work, and, far from discouraging me, it will only motivate me more.

An ominous prediction, especially with the Covid-19 pandemic and its huge toll on the United States

Sayed Hasan

Donate as little as you can to support this work and subscribe to the Newsletter to get around censorship.

“Any amount counts, because a little money here and there, it’s like drops of water that can become rivers, seas or oceans…” Hassan Nasrallah

YOUTUBE RESTORED SOUTHFRONT’S TEMPORARILY CHANNEL BLOCKED ON SATURDAY

South Front

YouTube Restored SouthFront's Temporarily Channel Blocked On Saturday

On May 18, YouTube restored our temporary channel blocked two days ago – on May 16. This was done in respnose to our appeal sent on May 16. (The active link to our temporary channel is here)

The text of the appeal: This channel was created with an informational purpose only and does not violate any YouTube’s Community Guidelines. Every video was carefully inspected by me personally. Today neutral, objective information often causes very false flagging by different political or personal reasons. I ask you to make a detailed investigation of this case and restore my channel.

The answer of YouTube: Hi there,

After a review of your account, we have confirmed that your YouTube account is not in violation of our Terms of Service. As such, we have unsuspended your account. This means your account is once again active and operational.

Sincerely,

The YouTube Team

It seems that objective members of YouTube Team reviewed SouthFront videos and took over responsibility for the decision to restore SouthFront’s temporary channel. There is no doubt that YouTube Team consists of people with various ideology and points of view. At the same time, professionalism and impartiality should be on the first place. The members of YouTube Team that decided to restore the channel demonstrated their commitment to these principles.

The decision to restore SouthFront’s temporary channel demonstrated that our videos do not violate YouTube’s policies and Terms of Service. Therefore, there was no objective reason to terminate our main channel with  over 152,000 subscribers, 1,900 uploaded videos and approximately 60 million views on May 1. (LINK TO MAIN CHANNEL)

We appealed the decision to terminate our main channel “South Front” on the same day (May 1), but have received no official decision on this situation from YouTube so far. SouthFront, with a great interest, is waiting a reaction of those who decided to terminate our channel and YouTube lawyers to this case.

DEAR FRIENDS,

We want to say a “Big Thank You” for your informational support, the assistance in sharing information about the censorship of SouthFront and helping to share SouhFront content with a wider audience. Even this small victory and the restoration of our temporary channel became possible only thanks to your help and your active public position.

Once again, Big Thank You All! SouthFront is proud to have such readers and subscribers.

SouthFront operates thanks to lots of volunteer work and the audience’s donations. Now your support are especially important to keep SouthFront alive:

Zionist Terror in London

 BY GILAD ATZMON

Why I have withdrawn from my commitment to play at the Great 606 Jazz Club this Saturday night.

CAA.jpg

By Gilad Atzmon

They destroyed the Labour Party, now they have launched a campaign against the British arts scene. Will they successfully abuse the moniker of anti-Semitism to destroy any place, person or organization where they sense opposition?

The 606 Jazz Club and its owner, Steve Rubie, have been subjected to a constant barrage of pressure and threats for hosting my concert. In a familiar first act,  a Jewish “member of the public” asked the 606 to explain why the club gives a [music] platform to me, whom he duplicitously  calls ‘an anti-Semite and a Holocaust denier.’  The UK Jewish press avidly repeated the lies about me.  Ludicrous accusations were made. The club was told that I advocate the ‘burning of synagogues.’ I was accused of suggesting that “Hitler was right after all.” The accusations are false and, of course, unsourced as they cannot be found anywhere in my work. If I were a Hitler supporter who urged burning synagogues, certainly these campaigners would have used Britain’s strict hate speech laws to have me spend some time behind bars.. 

I have played in the 606 club for many years and Steve and I have spent many hours discussing Israel and its politics. Steve has no doubts that the accusations against me are unfounded. Yesterday  he wrote a moving  statement explaining why I am invited to play at his club on a regular basis despite the constant pressure he endures. Amazingly, Steve had to point out that The 606 is  “a music venue first and foremost. We are here to promote the best in UK music and Gilad falls in that category…” This is without regard to Steve’s disagreement with most of my political views.  

Steve’s explained the basic core western value that political disagreement is no reason to stop the music. Are we to live in a land where Tories and Labour block each other’s arts events? Ridiculous. But apparently kosher in the case of supporters of Israel and its critics. The Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA)  were not persuaded by the simple truth of Steve’s letter. Last night, the CAA launched its new strategy, to threaten and then harass the Jazz community, the club, that artists and the jazz audience whenever it so decides.  A few hours ago the CAA posted the this Tweet:

“Campaign Against Antisemitism will be selecting a number of future dates on which to picket the

@606Club over its decision to provide notorious antisemite Gilad Atzmon with a platform.”Campaign Against Antisemitism@antisemitism

Campaign Against Antisemitism will be selecting a number of future dates on which to picket the @606Club over its decision to provide notorious antisemite Gilad Atzmon with a platform.

To join us, volunteer at http://antisemitism.uk/act  and when asked, set your city to “London”. https://twitter.com/antisemitism/status/1222960923184254976 …Join the fight against antisemitismantisemitism.ukCampaign Against Antisemitism@antisemitismIconic jazz venue @606club doubles down on disgraceful decision to host #antisemitic saxophonist Gilad Atzmonhttps://antisemitism.uk/iconic-jazz-venue-606-club-doubles-down-on-disgraceful-decision-to-host-antisemitic-saxophonist-gilad-atzmon/ …20Twitter Ads info and privacySee Campaign Against Antisemitism’s other Tweets

This should horrify every Brit, Jew and Gentile, as it horrifies me.  In 2017 a similar CAA campaign ended in a vicious attack on an audience member who suffered a serious eye injury.

This morning I decided that in the light of the CAA’s threats, I am withdrawing from the gig. I do not want to see the art scene obliterated by an insane Zionist pressure group. I certainly don’t want British artists and audiences subjected to violence. I did this despite my concerns about the consequences of bowing to anti-cultural bullies and my obligation to the British artists who have played with me for decades and whose livelihoods depends on such gigs.

Of far larger concern is that a pressure group that tweets its call for volunteers to destroy our art scene enjoys such impunity in Britain. How is it that British tax benefits granted charitable status to the benefit of the CAA that openly threatens to harass the Jazz community, its audience, venues and artists?

I deeply believe that  Britain must reinstate its liberal and universal values of tolerance and diversity, and as a first step, I intend to file a complaint against  the CAA with the Charity Commission. I ask you to examine their rules and decide if you want to do the same. 


My battle for truth and freedom involves  some expensive legal services. I hope that you will consider committing to a monthly donation in whatever amount you can give. Regular contributions will enable me to avoid being pushed against a wall and to stay on top of the endless harassment by Zionist operators attempting to silence me.

Donate

Internet Free Speech All But Dead

By Philip Giraldi
Source

23 24 SS Internet Censored c5933

The Internet was originally promoted as a completely free and uncensored mechanism for people everywhere to exchange views and communicate, but it has been observed by many users that that is not really true anymore. Both governments and the service providers have developed a taste for controlling the product, with President Barack Obama once considering a “kill switch“ that would turn off the Internet completely in the event of a “national emergency.”

President Donald Trump has also had a lot to say about fake news and is reported to be supporting limiting protections relating to the Internet. In May, a “net neutrality” bill that would have prevented service providers from manipulating Internet traffic passed in the House of Representatives, but it is reported to be “dead on arrival” in the Senate, so it will never be enacted.

Social networking sites have voluntarily employed technical fixes that restrict some content and have also hired “reviewers” who look for objectionable material and remove it. Pending European legislation, meanwhile, might require Internet search engines to eliminate access to many unacceptable old posts. YouTube has already been engaged in deleting existing old material and is working with biased “partners” like the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) to set up guidelines to restrict future content. Many users of Facebook will have already undoubtedly noted that some contacts have been blocked temporarily (or even permanently) and denied access to the site.

Google now automatically disables or limits searches for material that it deems to be undesirable. If Google does not approve of something it will either not appear in search results or it will be very low on the list. And what does come up will likely favor content that derives from those who pay Google to promote their products or services. Information that originates with competitors will either be very low in the search results or even blocked. Google is consequently hardly an unbiased source of information.

In May 2017 Facebook announced that it would be hiring 3,000 new censors, and my own experience of social networking censorship soon followed. I had posted an article entitled “Charlottesville Requiem” that I had written for a website. At the end of the first day, the site managers noticed that, while the article had clearly attracted a substantial Facebook readership, the “likes” for the piece were not showing up on the screen counter, i.e., were not being tabulated. It was also impossible to share the piece on Facebook, as the button to do so had been removed.

The “likes” on sites like Facebook, Yahoo! news comments, YouTube, and Google are important because they automatically determine how the piece is distributed throughout the site. If there are a lot of likes, the piece goes to the top when a search is made or when someone opens the page. Articles similarly can be sent to Coventry if they receive a lot of dislikes or negative marks, so the approvals or disapprovals can be very important in determining what kind of audience is reached or what a search will reveal.

In my case, after one day my page reverted to normal, the “likes” reappeared, and readers were again able to share the article. But it was clear that someone had been managing what I had posted, apparently because there had been disapproval of my content based on what must have been a political judgment.

A couple of days later, I learned of another example of a similar incident. The Ron Paul Institute (RPI) website posts much of its material on YouTube (owned by Google) on a site where there had been advertising that kicked back to RPI a small percentage of the money earned. Suddenly, without explanation, both the ads and rebate were eliminated after a “manual review” determined the content to be “unsuitable for all advertisers.” This was a judgment rendered apparently due to disapproval of what the institute does and says. The ability to comment on and link from the pieces was also turned off.

Dissident British former diplomat Craig Murray also noted in April 2018 the secretive manipulation of his articles that are posted on Facebook, observing that his “site’s visitor numbers [were] currently around one-third normal levels, stuck at around 20,000 unique visitors per day. The cause [was] not hard to find. Normally over half of our visitors arrive via Facebook. These last few days, virtually nothing has come from Facebook. What is especially pernicious is that Facebook deliberately imposes this censorship in a secretive way.

The primary mechanism when a block is imposed by Facebook is that my posts to Facebook are simply not sent into the timelines of the large majority of people who are friends or who follow. I am left to believe the post has been shared with them, but in fact it has only been shown to a tiny number. Then, if you are one of the few recipients and do see the post and share it, it will show to you on your timeline as shared, but in fact the vast majority of your own friends will also not receive it. Facebook is not doing what it is telling you it is doing—it shows you it is shared—and Facebook is deliberately concealing that fact from you. Twitter has a similar system known as ‘shadow banning.’ Again, it is secretive and the victim is not informed.”

More recently, pressure to censor Internet social networking and information sites has increased, coming both from government and from various interested constituencies. In late May, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg met with French President Emmanuel Macron to discuss how to eliminate “hate speech” on the Internet. The two men agreed that the United States Internet model, in spite of already being heavily manipulated, is too laissez faire, and expressed an interest in exploring the French system where it is considered acceptable to ban unacceptable points of view. Zuckerberg suggested that it might serve as a good model for the entire European Union. France is reportedly considering legislation that establishes a regulator with power to fine Internet companies up to 4% of their global revenue, which can in some cases be an enormous sum, if they do not curb hateful expressions.

So unelected, unnamed censors are operating all around the Internet to control the content, which I suppose should surprise no one, and the interference will only get worse as both governments and service providers are willing to do what it takes to eliminate views that they find unacceptable—which, curiously enough, leads one to consider how “Russiagate” came about and the current hysteria being generated in the conventional media and also online against both Venezuela and Iran. How much of the anger is essentially fake, being manipulated or even fabricated by large companies that earn mega billions of dollars by offering under false pretenses a heavily managed product that largely does what the government wants? Banning hate speech will be, unfortunately, only the first step in eliminating any and all criticisms of the status quo.

%d bloggers like this: