FreeSpeech and Censorship: Thread

grarpamp grarpamp at
Sun Apr 25 19:58:19 PDT 2021

Twitter Admits To Censoring Criticism Of The Indian Government
After Wholly Censoring Criticism of the US Government
and the US Right and myriad other things...

Twitter Admits To Censoring Criticism Of The Indian Government
Authored by Jonathan Turley,

On Saturday, Twitter admitted that it is actively working with the
Indian government to censor criticism of its handling of the pandemic
as the number of cases and deaths continues to skyrocket.

There are widespread reports that the Indian government has
misrepresented the number of deaths and the true rate of cases could
be as much as 30 times higher than reported.  The country has a
shortage of beds, oxygen, and other essentials due to a failure to
adequately prepare for a new surge. Not surprisingly, the Indian
government has moved to crackdown on criticism. This included a call
to Twitter to censor such information and Twitter has, of course,

With the support of many Democratic leaders in the United States,
Twitter now regularly censors viewpoints in the United States and
India had no trouble in enlisting it to crackdown on those raising the
alarm over false government reporting.

Buried in an Associated Press story on the raging pandemic and
failures of the Indian government are these two lines:

    “On Saturday, Twitter complied with the government’s request and
prevented people in India from viewing more than 50 tweets that
appeared to criticize the administration’s handling of the pandemic.
The targeted posts include tweets from opposition ministers critical
of Modi, journalists and ordinary Indians.”

The article quotes Twitter as saying that it had powers to “withhold
access to the content in India only” if the company determined the
content to be “illegal in a particular jurisdiction.” Thus, criticism
of the government in this context is illegal so Twitter has agreed to
become an arm of the government in censoring information.

Keep in mind that this information could protect lives. It is not
“fake news” but efforts by journalists and others to disclose failures
by the government that could cost hundreds of thousands of lives.

This is the face of the new censors.  The future in speech control is
not in the classic state media model but the alliance of states with
corporate giants like Twitter. Twitter now actively engages in what
Democratic leaders approvingly call “robust content modification” to
control viewpoints and political dissent.

When Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey came before the Senate to apologize for
blocking the Hunter Biden story before the election as a mistake,
senators pressed him and other Big Tech executive for more censorship.

In that hearing, members like Sen. Mazie Hirono (D., HI) pressed
witnesses like Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey for assurance that
Trump would remain barred from speaking on their platforms: “What are
both of you prepared to do regarding Donald Trump’s use of your
platforms after he stops being president, will be still be deemed
newsworthy and will he still be able to use your platforms to spread

Rather than addressing the dangers of such censoring of news accounts,
Senator Chris Coons pressed Dorsey to expand the categories of
censored material to prevent people from sharing any views that he
considers “climate denialism.” Likewise, Senator Richard Blumenthal
seemed to take the opposite meaning from Twitter, admitting that it
was wrong to censor the Biden story. Blumenthal said that he was
“concerned that both of your companies are, in fact, backsliding or
retrenching, that you are failing to take action against dangerous
disinformation.” Accordingly, he demanded an answer to this question:

    “Will you commit to the same kind of robust content modification
playbook in this coming election, including fact checking, labeling,
reducing the spread of misinformation, and other steps, even for
politicians in the runoff elections ahead?”

“Robust content modification” has a certain appeal, like a type of
software upgrade. It is not content modification. It is censorship. If
our representatives are going to crackdown on free speech, they should
admit to being advocates for censorship.

What is fascinating is how social media companies have privatized
censorship. These companies now carry out directives to censor
material deemed unlawful or fake or misleading by those in power.  The
company also shows no compulsion to protect free speech. When India
calls for censorship, it just shrugs and say that the dissenting views
are now illegal.

In the meantime, liberals now support crackdowns on free speech and
corporate power over viewpoint expression.

We have have been discussing how writers, editors, commentators, and
academics have embraced rising calls for censorship and speech
controls, including President-elect Joe Biden and his key advisers.
Even journalists are leading attacks on free speech and the free
press.  This includes academics rejecting the very concept of
objectivity in journalism in favor of open advocacy. Columbia
Journalism Dean and New Yorker writer Steve Coll has denounced how the
First Amendment right to freedom of speech was being “weaponized” to
protect disinformation.

Liberals now embrace censorship and even declared that “China was
right” on Internet controls. Many Democrats have fallen back on the
false narrative that the First Amendment does not regulate private
companies so this is not an attack on free speech. Free speech is a
human right that is not solely based or exclusively defined by the
First Amendment.  Censorship by Internet companies is a “Little
Brother” threat long discussed by free speech advocates.  Some may
willingly embrace corporate speech controls but it is still a denial
of free speech.

This is why I recently described myself as an Internet Originalist.
Twitter is now unabashedly and unapologetically a corporate censor.
The question is whether the public will remain silent or, as some,
actually embrace the new Orwellian order of “robust content

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