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Bitter Over Twitter

01/09/2021

Posted by Dave

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No, Twitter, just, no.

Same message to Facebook, and same for Google Play Store.

These "President Trump is being censored in social media" milestones always put me in the awkward position of having to explain how I can concurrently reject Trump's presidency while going nuts whenever social media platforms take measures to curb him.  As per the current action of Twitter suspending his account.

The answer of course is that the actions taken against Trump really have nothing to do with Trump.  It has more to do with my advocacy of an open web, and, a basic understanding that Facebook and Twitter are really just capitalism's answer to China's Great Firewall.  No government, no corporation lobby, and certainly no government comprised of corporation lobbies, is ever going to give the power of worldwide broadcast to any wahoo that wants to operate a broadcast station unless there was absolute control over them first.  One of the only ways to do that effectively is to create a chokepoint.

China freely turned its entire internet infrastructure into a chokepoint.  Every internet user in China is easily surveilled, and content from elsewhere around the world is easily blocked, all from a (relatively) central control position.  A percentage of Chinese citizens that go the extra distance to beat those controls through proxies and the like is small so the censorship effort is still effective.  

In our culture, the same control is absolutely necessary (speaking as a hypothetical stakeholder of the status quo I mean) but the tact, as not to offend democratic narratives, is more delicate and far more decentralized. 

To achieve this, a few simple ingredients along with a few simple rules about how they interact, are required.  Left to their own devices these ingredients and rules self-evolve into (a superpower's requirement of) censorship and chill.  Aside from the possibility that a few stupidhead 'socialists' can always complain about lack of regulation, there is no-body to blame.

One ingredient, and I can probably cite quite a few, is the commodification of curiosity and a taxing of human being's thirst for knowledge and understanding. In other words, search.  The original search engines assumed that the point of their existence was to facilitate a breathlessly curious world -- not to monetize. 

It didn't take long for Google and Google's early competition to realize that every search action was a goldmine and capitalist rules and zero ideas of counterweight regulations allowed it to grow into the behemoth it is now. 

As Google proved it can dominate (as Microsoft proved it can dominate, as Twitter proved it can dominate, as Facebook proved it can dominate), the "government" of course forged its internal "off-book" relationships with each.  Government regulation, action or inaction, came to exclusively favor these icons of what we now deem "Big Tech".  For these big tech companies they reign supreme and get to keep making money.  For the government, they get their chokepoints.

It doesn't take too much imagination to figure the sort of alliance this makes for, but if you need the picture, Snowden seems to have dumped them for you.

Twitter's decision acts specifically in response to what happened at the nation's Capitol.  What happened there is a topic in its own right and I have ways of seeing how an out-of-control right-wing engineered it, and I have theories of how the left-wing engineered it.  But I promise you this my dear reader, Trump was more part the mob than its leader.

You can read Twitter's blog posting on its reasoning for banning Trump's account, but as far as I'm concerned it's just a rationalization of tampering with something as sacred as free speech by stretching out the impact of a lot of subjective conclusions.  

The real arguments have nothing to do with Trump's application of a social media platform, so Twitter and Facebook are truly creating their own relevance.  Note how the debate itself solidifies themselves as "the internet" while the "real internet" is thus dissipated further without notice.

Trump, an apolitical sentient some time ago, simply picked up his inclination to run for president.  Seeking the easiest path, he tuned into AM-right-wing radio, discovered an easy herd ripe for exploitation, and set out to do just that.  It's that simple people.  The mass media mediums that beget Trump were traditional radio and television.  FCC stuff.

Point of fact, open expression to the widest gulf prevented this demigod from being re-elected.  Can you even begin to imagine what a president like this one, traditionally bound to mere press releases and press conferences, might have done in the "usually" invisible political plane where backdeals and shady dynamics lurch?  Fuck that.  We needed to see this man's tweets.

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