Robin Smith / Jan. 18, 2021

Censorship of Conservatives Easier Than Blocking Smut

The quick and thorough crushing of political discourse shows how protecting children could be done.

As the boiling pot of politics in the U.S. roils, Americans have been shown one more massive example of selective application of standards in the area of Big Tech and free speech. Parler, a social media app, was completely canceled based on its content and audience. Amazon, the multinational tech company known for online shopping and the “world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud platform,” announced on January 10 that Parler’s access to the AWS Internet server would be discontinued. Billed as “unbiased social media,” where users are able to “speak freely and express yourself openly without fear of being deplatformed for your views,” Parler was booted from the Internet entirely because Amazon, Apple, and Google colluded to kill a competitor.

Since the November 2020 federal election, Twitter and Facebook have fact-checked certain content, blocking any post they chose on the basis of the platforms’ terms of use. Because of this, the more engaged on the Right sought an outlet for free speech and turned to Parler, which first launched in 2018 but was the most-sought download at the Android and Apple stores post-election.

Speech calling for violence is clearly and absolutely unacceptable, but it must be treated as universally unacceptable.

As recently as May 2020, the Israeli government petitioned Twitter to have posts removed from Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that called for the death of all Jews and the elimination of Israel. The social media giant’s response was to deem the activity as “comments on current affairs.” Khamenei has free speech in America while conservative Americans don’t. Posts by a known enemy calling Israel a “cancerous growth to be uprooted and destroyed” and bellowing “death to America” did not offend the standard that prohibits violence based on “race, ethnicity, national origin or national affiliation” or “calls for mass murder.” Yet Americans trying to understand an already chaotic election cycle and asking questions around the integrity of the voting process were openly censored.

It’s also worth noticing the actions of these tech behemoths in their treatment of the protected “speech” of pornography. Five years ago, the pornography industry was monetized at $97 billion globally, and up to $12 billion of that was in the U.S. Permitted as sexual expression and protected under the First Amendment as artistic free expression, pornography is a guaranteed and guarded speech. Morally objectionable to many, there is evidence that the industry also feeds other crimes like human trafficking and child pornography. Nevertheless, in 2019, just one major pornographic website measured more than 5,824,699,200 viewed hours of content, or 655 centuries logged into one year. Simply put, online access to pornography is unhindered and sheltered despite its destructiveness and influences. In the case of child pornography, The Guardian openly criticized the length of time to complete child abuse cases, saying that even after such material and content had been discovered, some websites still published the illegal content as long as a year after being identified.

In the Communications Decency Act of 1996, the first attempt in the U.S. to regulate Internet pornography for both indecency and obscenity, Section 230 offers immunity through interpretation that operators of Internet services — Twitter, Facebook, Google, Amazon, etc. — are not publishers. This very law is all that regulates online pornography while protecting the current practices of Big Tech.

The tools and technology that should provide more freedom of speech to each American are being used to apply selective partisan and cultural standards. Those acting as the moral screeners of speech, thought, and intent silence Americans who won’t parrot leftist party lines while refusing to condemn nations that harbor terrorists and fund heinous activity or entities that sexually exploit and abuse women and children.

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