USA (PT) – The issue of censorship is a hot one as of late… Alex Jones accounts going down, as well as others of Independent Media, including Pontiac Tribune. Here is an breakdown of the censorship we actually face, and a way for you to prop up lesser known outlets that aren’t getting banned left and right, and comparison to help you distinguish the actual difference between being literally oppressed, as opposed to simply catching a 30 day ban.
Last year, after I had discovered that our PT Twitter page had been deactivated, I tried hard to find a way to reactivate the account, only to find that my plight was a complete dead end. Twitter accounts policy states; “Accounts that have been deactivated for more than 30 days CANNOT be reactivated – by you OR by our agents.” See below.
Needless to say, it’s a little disheartening and quite upsetting to understand that a large portion of your fans have disappeared with little to offer except ‘screw you’ for an explanation.
For a few weeks I was stewing on this. The first week I just threw my hands in the air. Boycotting a social media giant sounded the best solution. But that only lasted a couple weeks. During that time, I had made a social media page for almost any social media platform you can dream up. And after doing all that, I had calmed down enough to start another Twitter page for PT from scratch.
If you are reading this sentence, and have a Twitter page that you are sure has not had PT articles in your feed? That’s why, and now I’m asking you to kindly click the hyperlink across this entire paragraph to navigate to Twitter, and re-follow our Tweets.
Was that censorship? Not technically… While content was permanently removed, and no reason was given about our deleted page, it was done so by a private company. One that, while it has certainly had closed door meetings with Federal Officials, is not a government entity. Quickly, let’s double back to closed door meetings with Feds. Reports conclude that while;
“The companies at the meeting were a roster of industry power, including Apple, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. Two of them, Facebook and Twitter, have faced particularly strong criticism for failing to limit the spread of misinformation on their platforms during the 2016 presidential election.
What happened: According to the Times story, the meeting was “tense,” the companies did not receive much guidance or information from the government officials, and one company representative felt the industry was being left “on their own to counter election interference.”
So, government appealed to corporations to carry out tasks they are technically responsible to perform? This is my absolute amazement, in sarcasm, about government pawning their work off on a corporation. So we know that while the government has interest in using corporations to censor media available to the public, think the 6 corporations that own all the major news outlets you hear and see day-in-day-out. We also have absolutely no evidence that Government Employees are directing Facebook or Twitter to remove Alex Jones from the platform. I’ll get to Alex Jones in the next segment, but I want to iterate here… To call something censorship mean there must be solid evidence that a government actor has ordered the silence of a group or individual.
I try to think of it like this… A government is an entity that you cannot unsubscribe from on your own. You don’t have a choice, therefore, laws are enacted so you shouldn’t be censored as a citizen. Those same rules have no application to you talking crap to someone drunk in a bar, and getting kicked out. You’re not being censored, you’re being removed and there are other places to be a drunk asshole. Facebook and Twitter, are online brew-houses. It should really go without saying that people are frequently, and sometimes unjustly removed from their platform. But guess what? There’s 5 other social media platforms linked in this article for you to go vent about your Facebook being banned.
For the past week or so, I’ve had to grudgingly scroll past hundreds of these heavily opinionated social media posts regarding the free speech of Alex Jones. It’s seriously baffling to me that people who would not have given this internet troll ‘comedian journalist’ any amount of their time 3 months ago, are all the sudden defending him regarding another one of his conspiracy theories. That’s right, this whole fight Alex has brought is based off one critical word everyone keeps misusing. I’d like to use a metaphor if I could. Calling Alex Jones a journalist, is like calling cardboard a nutritious meal.
But, alas… “Free Speech,” is the clenching factor everyone can jive on because it’s the easier amendment of the Constitution we can remember. (Unless you work at the NRA.) What is Free speech? This History article goes straight to the point;
“The First Amendment doesn’t specify what exactly is meant by freedom of speech. Defining what types of speech should and shouldn’t be protected by law has fallen largely to the courts.
In general, the First Amendment guarantees the right to express ideas and information. On a basic level, it means that people can express an opinion (even an unpopular or unsavory one) without fear of government censorship.”
However, there are always exceptions as such;
“Forms of speech that aren’t protected include:
- Obscene material such as child pornography
- Plagiarism of copyrighted material
- Defamation (libel and slander)
- True threats”
Let’s take another look at that last line of the History definition; ”…people can express an opinion (even an unpopular or unsavory one) without fear of government censorship.” Since we don’t have any evidence at all that Jones is being censored by the directive of any Government Official, or entity. Then Jones is making a scenario up to counter the backlash due to a multi-plaintiff lawsuit against him for Defamation of Character? Again, view above the forms of speech that is not protected in a courtroom. So, while Alex Jones sits in your news feed insisting that his speech is being silenced. While all your friends listen and take it to heart… It’s bogus.
This lawsuit, however, could set a precedent, according to Wired;
“While it’s hard to sympathize with a man who spent years haranguing the parents of a murdered first grader, in a time when the modes and impacts of speech are being redesigned and renegotiated with every software update and platform policy, these are pressing questions. Whether Jones wins or loses, his suit, according to First Amendment lawyers, will be a building block for the way we think of free speech in the age of the internet.”
Whether this story does have an impact or not on the significance of how the first amendment is interpreted, it will likely remain Jones’ biggest crux in trying to rouse his following. I’m seeing a good deal of people that obviously dislike him, all riled up defending him. He’s gonna keep being the loud scapegoat character that’s getting silenced. Even know, that’s not really true, he’s just being punished for bullying a family, and rightly so in my opinion. Want to read more rantings about Alex Jones on my social media page? Click here.
Alex Jones aside. I want to make perfectly clear that Independent Media has been on the radar of major social media platforms for quite some time now. Facebook has been dolling out 30 day bans to individual users, and frequently, as well as removing content from Indie Media outlets for “Publishing Authorizations.” They’ve also been very vocal regarding combating fake news. Which has proven less effective in battling actually deceptive articles and media, then it has at throwing a ban at people that use it earnestly.
This past Monday, Facebook removed the TeleSUR English page for the second time this year, with little explanation to the outlet, and it’s 400,000 followers.
Excerpt from The Daily Haze;
The Facebook Team”
Essentially, companies like Facebook are businesses. They have their own policies and procedures. And while I don’t condone they do this… Technically companies like Facebook and Twitter could shut their business model down, and close every account with little notice, at any moment. It’s hardly wise to champion an ass like Alex Jones, someone that doesn’t even know the definition of the stance he decided to take.
Maybe visit some alternative sites like Steemit, or Tumblr? I mean, If you have a platform that you’re concerned might get messed with by the major sites… There are alternatives springing up, so remember, Facebook is not the only place on the internet you can argue with complete strangers.
P.S. I have read the article published Wed. regarding Texas based Liberty Radio, which was shut down by the FCC (a government entity) for not having renewed their license since as early as 2013. The pirate radio station is a flagship publisher of Jones’ work, which has led people to believe that it is now the Government targeting Jones. While Jones suffers from their shutdown, the FCC has specifically fined the owners of the Radio Station. Alex Jones might have been the motivation, but this is not a clear case of censorship. As such, I will not hear about any seclusion of said information herein.