MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Alex Jones and the rise of corporate censorship | Free speech | spiked

Posted by M. C. Fox on August 8, 2018

We live in strange times. On one hand it is fashionable to hate capitalism these days… But on the other hand we seem content to trust Silicon Valley, the new frontier in corporate power, to make moral judgements about what kind of content people should be able to see online.

http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/alex-jones-and-the-rise-of-corporate-censorship/21658#.W2npJtIzaUm

So we’re now trusting the capitalist class, massive, unaccountable corporations, to decide on our behalf what we may listen to and talk about? This is the take-home message, the terrible take-home message, of the expulsion of Alex Jones’ Infowars network from Apple, Facebook and Spotify and of the wild whoops of delight that this summary banning generated among so-called liberals: that people are now okay with allowing global capitalism to govern the public sphere and to decree what is sayable and what is unsayable. Corporate censorship, liberals’ new favourite thing – how bizarre.

Over the past 24 hours, Jones and much of his Infowars channel has been ‘summarily banned’ – in the excitable words of Vox – from Apple, Facebook, Spotify and YouTube. Initially, Facebook and YouTube had taken only selective measures against Jones. In response to a Twitterstorm about his presence on these platforms, they took down some of his videos. But then Apple decided to ban Jones entirely – removing all episodes of his podcast from its platform – and the other online giants followed suit. Or as the thrilled liberal commentary put it: ‘The dominoes started to fall.’ Despite having millions of subscribers, despite there being a public interest in what he has to say, Jones has been cast out of the world of social media, which is essentially the public square of the 21st century, on the basis that what he says is wicked.

This is censorship. There will of course be apologists for the corporate control of speech, on both the left and right, who will say, ‘It’s only censorship when the government does it!’. They are so wrong…

In essence, so-called liberals and sections of the political class now want corporations to do their dirty work for them. They want the capitalist elites to do what it has become somewhat unfashionable for the state to do: ban controversial political speech…

People on both the liberal left and the libertarian right argue that what has been done to Jones is acceptable because this is simply a case of businesses deciding freely who they should associate with or provide platforms to. This is disingenuous. This was not a clean, independent business decision – it was a rash act of silencing carried out under pressure from a moralised mob that insisted Jones’ words are too wicked for public life. This isn’t the free market in action – it’s the bending of capitalist power to the end of enforcing moral controls on speech…

Be seeing you

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Twittering each other. Can’t speak polysyllables nor produce thoughts that amount to more than 140 characters.

 

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