Worries surge about next target as social media blacks out Russia

(Image by Christopher Ross from Pixabay)
(Image by Christopher Ross from Pixabay)

Social-media corporations jumped into action when Russia invaded Ukraine, essentially deplatforming Russian interests to restrict their messaging.

The judgment was that Russia information was bad, so it was a good thing to restrict it.

But conservative interests watched the cancellation machinery working its abrupt action and wondered what would stop that same process from being used again against another target, which may not, in fact, deserve such censorship.

“We’re seeing Russia being globally deplatformed across the board, and so it’s impossible not to look at that and think it won’t happen to others in America and elsewhere,” Dan Gainor, vice president at the Media Research Center, a media watchdog that tracks censorship on Big Tech platforms, told the Washington Examiner.

He pointed out the complete absence of a standard for such decisions.

“A group of people, the global mob, have decided to target Russia, but they’re fine with genocides in China. How is that acceptable? There are no rules, and the few that exist keep changing,” Gainor said.

He pointed out further that such censorship wasn’t imposed even when Russia previously invaded other regions, and other nations have inflicted violence on others without similar consequences.

The Examiner explained, “Russia’s attack on Ukraine is one of the first major full-scale military invasions of another country in the age of social media, where online platforms are used by billions — and where a separate war is waged online by governments trying to shape alternative narratives.”

The report said two “anti-Ukrainian disinformation operations” that were cut off were tied to “a Russian propaganda news outfit created to make Ukraine look like a failed state by using fake Facebook profiles.”

Social media business interests are cooperating “in trying to curb Russian disinformation regarding what is happening in Ukraine due to pressure placed on them by users and government officials around the world,” the report said.

But such restrictions – by Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, YouTube and others – alarmed not only conservative observers, but also Republicans in Congress, the Examiner reported.

“In a very limited way, the tech companies should squash Russian disinformation, but they’re now public utilities that are essentially extended realms of the government, which gives me pause,” said Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona.

“I have a dubious, skeptical eye on what the tech companies have chosen to do, which is part of why we need to revisit the laws around tech legal shields,” said Biggs.

He openly wondered why similar responses weren’t created by tech companies to violence in China and Africa.

“The censorship decisions are mostly a business decision. They’re responding to what consumers want or not and trying to hit their bottom line,” explained Ari Cohn, free speech counsel at TechFreedom, a tech think tank.

“Personally, I feel a certain level of discomfort that we’re all collectively saying we don’t want certain content from one place.”

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This article was originally published by the WND News Center.

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