Censorship is Complicated

Parler, the worlds fastest growing social media app, was shut down this week after a violent insurrection at the Capitol. Critics claim the insurrection was openly planned on Parler and called on Apple, Google, and Amazon to do all they could to shut down Parler. Apple withdrew it from its App Store, GooglePlay did the same, and Amazon decided it would no longer host Parler's app. Because of the collusion of the world's largest tech giants, the same tech giants that for all intents and purposes own, operate, and control our lives, Parler was shut down.

There seems to be a misconception that this insurrection was planned exclusively on Parler. I've come to this conclusion because every liberal I know is celebrating wildly on Twitter and Facebook. Of course, Twitter and Facebook were hosts to their own insurrection planning posts. The seedlings that served as the foundation of the insurrection were planted, watered, and fertilized on Facebook and Twitter and then were transplanted to Parler, yet the outcry about the power of the former two tech giants is all but silent. You'll find in-depth analyses that shows proof Parler users stormed the Capitol. These reports fail to mention the Facebook live-streams from the Capitol.

The real tragedy here is that a social media app was created that didn't aggregate user data in order to sell to advertisers, had a reasonable terms and conditions policy (despite popular belief), didn't sort and show us only posts artificial intelligence thought we'd enjoy, and we didn't migrate over to that social media network en masse.

For many, Facebook is the only platform in life for which they get their news. There is no newspaper. The TV is on YouTube or Netflix or Hulu, not the local news. The echo chamber of our social media lives now dictates who we are as humans. The average user spends an hour on Facebook everyday. Facebook is now a necessity in promoting small businesses. If your business fails but you didn't use Facebook to promote, well, you're just a victim of a robust free market. When you view the censorship of Parler through a lens that correctly paints you as forced to use the products of their competitors, things start to become clear. We all seem to be up in arms when Facebook buys up the newest, hottest social media platform, a clear show of their monopolistic force on the market. Yet we revel in the silencing of voices we don't agree with because, well, we're in power now. The whole thing is a shitshow of a sporting event. Leftists endorse extreme corporate sympathizer centrist President-elect Biden while disenfranchised rural conservatives vote against their own interests because China, emails, socialism, or whatever boogey-words the GOP has megaphoned this week because we're on team red or team blue. All of this can be directly tied back to Facebook and Twitter's manipulation of the masses, lack of acknowledgment of their manipulation of the masses, and monopolistic actions to continue manipulating the masses. If this is all too "tinfoil hat" for the reader, I apologize, but it doesn't seem to be a controversial take.

The reactions of other world leaders to the big-tech censorship of President Trump's channels underscore the hypocrisy of American politics. What would the American political reaction be to a violent uprising in Saudi Arabia over the extreme censorship of their lives?

Of course, there are other issues at play. This is my biggest criticism of social libertarians like Glenn Greenwald, who are never hesitant to point out the hypocrisy of the liberals but fail to acknowledge other issues or analyze possible solutions. Parler did become dangerous. Perhaps not anymore dangerous than Facebook or Twitter but it did become dangerous. But make no mistake, Parler shutting down benefits Facebook and Twitter greatly. And it's ok to analyze it from that lens, too.

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