By Matt Taibbi
Rolling Stone (8/13/18)
Silicon Valley is changing its mind about censorship.
Two weeks ago, we learned about a new campaign against “inauthentic” content, conducted by Facebook in consultation with Congress and the secretive think tank Atlantic Council — whose board includes an array of ex-CIA and Homeland Security officials — in the name of cracking down on alleged Russian disinformation efforts. As part of the bizarre alliance of Internet news distributors and quasi-government censors, the social network zapped 32 accounts and pages, including an ad for a real “No Unite the Right 2” anti-racist counter-rally in D.C. this past weekend.
“This is a real protest in Washington, D.C. It is not George Soros. It is not Russia. It is just us,” said the event’s organizers, a coalition of easily located Americans, in a statement.
Last week, we saw another flurry of censorship news. Facebook apparently suspended VenezuelaAnalysis.com, a site critical of U.S. policy toward Venezuela. (It was reinstated Thursday.) Twitter suspended a pair of libertarians, including @DanielLMcAdams of the Ron Paul Institute and @ScottHortonShow of Antiwar.com, for using the word “bitch” (directed toward a man) in a silly political argument. They, too, were later re-instated.
How America learned to stop worrying and put Mark Zuckerberg in charge of everything.
More significantly: Google’s former head of free expression issues in Asia, Lokman Tsui, blasted the tech giant’s plan to develop a search engine that would help the Chinese government censor content.
First reported by The Intercept, the plan was called “a stupid, stupid move” by Tsui, who added: “I can’t see a way to operate Google search in China without violating widely held international human rights standards.” This came on the heels of news that the Israeli Knesset passed a second reading of a “Facebook bill,” authorizing courts to delete content on security grounds.
Few Americans heard these stories, because the big “censorship” news last week surrounded the widely hated Alex Jones. After surviving halting actions by Facebook and YouTube the week before, the screeching InfoWars lunatic was hit decisively, removed from Apple, Facebook, Google and Spotify.
Jones is the media equivalent of a trench-coated stalker who jumps out from from behind a mailbox and starts whacking it in an intersection. His “speech” is on that level: less an idea than a gross physical provocation. InfoWars defines everything reporters are taught not to do.
Were I Alex Jones, I would think Alex Jones was a false-flag operation, cooked up to discredit the idea of a free press. …
- FCC Shuts Down Alex Jones’ Flagship Pirate Radio Station In Austin, Texas — The Federal Communications Commission has forced a pirate radio station off the air that had served as far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ flagship in Austin, Texas. The station, Liberty Radio, was also slapped with a $15,000 fine after operating from an apartment complex without federal approval since at least 2013, according to the Austin American-Statesman. The owners of the building have refused to pay the penalty, saying they are “not subject to the jurisdiction of the FCC,” according to court filings obtained by the newspaper. It’s unclear if the shutdown is permanent. … Read the Rest and 4-Minute Video
- Tech Companies Promised To Stop Helping Neo-Nazis Raise Money. They Haven’t — Payment processors including PayPal and Stripe have repeatedly promised to stop helping white nationalists and other racist groups raise money online. But a year after the deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, a bevy of openly racist individuals and groups still use mainstream payment providers to process credit card payments and crowdfund their efforts, HuffPost has found. Over the past several months, Charlottesville headliners, such as Richard Spencer, Chris Cantwell and Jason Kessler, have lost access to several mainstream financial platforms. But white nationalist websites that publish Spencer’s racist rants, including VDARE and American Renaissance, still use Stripe to process credit card payments … Read the Rest
‘Deeply Disturbing’: For Second Time This Year, Facebook Suspends Left-Leaning teleSUR English Without Explanation
By Jessica Corbett
Common Dreams (8/14/18)
For the second time this year, Facebook has suspended teleSUR English’s page, claiming the left-leaning Latin American news network violated the social media platform’s terms of service without any further explanation—a move that provoked outrage and concern among journalists, free speech advocates, and Big Tech critics.
In a short article posted on teleSUR’s website on Monday, the regional news network—which is based in Venezuela but also has received funding from Argentina, Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, and Nicaragua—explained:
teleSUR English’s page has been removed from Facebook for the second time this year without any specific reason being provided. It should be noted that the first time this occurred back in January 2018, Facebook did NOT provide any explanation in spite of our best efforts to understand their rationale. This is an alarming development in light of the recent shutting down of pages that don’t fit a mainstream narrative.
According to the outlet, “the only communication” teleSUR has received from Facebook is the following message:
The network has turned to Twitter to raise awareness about Facebook’s move, tweeting with the hashtag #BringBackteleSUREnglish: