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Opinion

Under Biden, Big Tech’s censorship goons will make conservatives nostalgic for the days of relatively free speech in Obama era

It’s looking more and more like the Obama era will go down as the good old days of relatively free speech on the internet, when conservatives could usually get away with making controversial statements and posting unpopular facts.

Sure, there were censorship concerns and anti-conservative bias back then, such as when writer Milo Yiannopoulos was permanently banned by Twitter in 2016. But the abuses really picked up speed after President Donald Trump took office in 2017, leading to the non-personing of conservative provocateurs such as Alex Jones and Laura Loomer by social-media platforms in 2018 and 2019.

Trump’s shocking victory was a watershed moment not only for US politicians, but also for Silicon Valley. Big Tech took Hillary Clinton’s loss hard and wasn’t going to let a rogue candidate win again. Google co-founder Sergey Brin, speaking at a meeting of executives after the 2016 election, called on the company to find ways to ensure a better quality of governance and decision-making.”

Fast-forward to the 2020 election, and the social-media censors are working hard to deliver their kind of governance. News that made Democrat candidate Joe Biden look bad, such as the New York Post’s scoops last month about his family’s alleged influence-peddling in Ukraine and China, was blocked by Twitter and Facebook.

Deviation from mainstream orthodoxy on certain topics had been outlawed. For instance, saying anything contrary to the establishment’s version of Covid-19 facts was banned. And any suggestion that mass mail-in voting could lead to election fraud was slapped with a misinformation label on Twitter.

Even Trump himself wasn’t allowed to speak freely. His tweets about mail-in voting were preempted with a warning saying the content was “disputed and might be misleading.” A notice under his message said, “Learn how voting by mail is safe and secure.”

Social media kept its thumb on the scale after the November 3 election, too, censoring or labeling unwanted material, such as Trump’s tweets about voting fraud. 

Harvard law professor Adrian Vermeule tweeted what he called a “visual guide” on Friday to show “who may speak and how.” The attached illustration showed warning-labeled messages from the president and his son Eric Trump on one side and an unfettered tweet from leftist comedian Kathy Griffin holding up a bloodied head of Donald Trump in effigy. Vermeule’s Twitter account has since disappeared. 

Griffin’s message somehow wasn’t deemed in violation of Twitter’s policy against wishing someone physical harm, but one woman’s account was suspended last month when she posted an anti-censorship tweet metaphorically telling people to “kill the Joseph McCarthy that’s still alive in your head.” Despite the fact that McCarthy has been dead since 1957, proving no actual violence was suggested, her appeal was rejected.

If Biden’s declared election victory withstands Trump’s legal challenges, the social-media walls will finish closing in on dissenting views. As podcaster Matt Walsh pointed out, there will be “very few avenues for criticizing and holding accountable an administration run by a man in mental decline.”

The ship sailed long ago on legacy media. The same reporters who fawned over President Barack Obama spent four years trying to help remove Trump from office. Conservatives know the press will resume their role of protector if Biden is in the White House. But it’s the combination of traditional media and social media control that is so dangerous to a supposedly free society.

The New York Post articles were a taste of what’s to come. Big Tech did its best to block the reports from being distributed on social media, including suspending the Post’s Twitter account. Mainstream-media outlets declined to follow up and report on the information, which was clearly in the public interest to know. Those same outlets then inoculated their audiences from having to consider the allegations against Biden, dismissing the reports as Russian propaganda. For good measure, the Deep State provided cover, as more than 50 former US intelligence officials put out a statement opining – without any evidence – that the Kremlin was behind the Biden reports.

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Trump repeatedly threatened to do something about social-media censorship. His failure to act may aid in his undoing, helping Biden to secure the presidency. Once the transfer of power is complete, there will be no hope of addressing the crisis. The Democrats, the permanent Washington bureaucracy, the media and Big Tech will consolidate their power and pull up the ladders on dissident voices.

Some of the earlier victims tried to warn us. Jones pointed out that he was merely a test case, and that his banishment would lead to more censorship, but he was dismissed by many as an odious loudmouth. For the most part, neither conservative voices nor Republican politicians took the threat seriously enough.

Yiannopoulos said his ban would be “the end for Twitter. Anyone who cares about free speech has been sent a clear message: You’re not welcome on Twitter.” Comedian Steven Crowder agreed, saying “Twitter will never get it. An anti-free-speech communication platform will lose its value.” Three years later, the censorship police came for Crowder, demonetizing his videos on YouTube. Twitter and the other Big Tech platforms are alive and financially well. 

Social media is supposed to be a virtual public square for the free exchange of ideas. That’s the justification for the tech companies’ protection from legal liability for the content on their platforms. But in terms of free expression, this public square has become more like Tiananmen Square, circa 1989, and conservative voices are like the lone Chinese man standing in front of a column of tanks. If Biden becomes president, there will be no need for the tanks to stop rolling.

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