Nice, but what do we call labeling legitimate websites “unsafe” and banning Twitter users from retweeting links to posts on those sites? This is what’s happening to oftwominds.com— Twitter has labeled this site “unsafe” due to unspecified violations of the Twitter User Agreement, which I have reviewed and can categorically state the oftwominds.com site and posts have never violated the terms of the Agreement or the Twitter Rules, except if posting several tweets that contain the URL of my current post somehow violates the Rules. (If bloggers can’t list the URL of their original content more than once a day, then the Twitter Rules are prejudicial and should be amended.)Big Tech claims it isn’t silencing skeptics, dissenters, and critics of the status quo, but it is silencing us. Here’s how it’s done. Let’s start with Twitter. Twitter claims it doesn’t shadow ban (Setting the record straight on shadow banning), which it defines as deliberately making someone’s content undiscoverable to everyone except the person who posted it, unbeknownst to the original poster.
Note that Twitter doesn’t identify or provide the user with evidence of the violation of its User Agreement that justifies the “unsafe/can’t retweet” shadow-banning. The process of contesting such arbitrary and opaque censorship is absurdly unsatisfactory. There is no form for content owners/Twitter users to contest being tossed in the “unsafe/can’t retweet” gulag; users must click through a bunch of “contact us” screens, none of which have an option for contesting being tossed in the “unsafe/can’t retweet” gulag.
When you give up and just send Twitter Support a “report on spam,” i.e. that your own site is wrongly being labeled spam, you get (of course) an automated response in which Twitter promises to do nothing and tell you nothing.
If original content that is obviously not violating the Terms of Service/User Agreement can be arbitrarily banned from being retweeted without any evidence or due process, how is this not censorship? This is straight out of Kafka: an unaccountable, all-powerful, completely opaque bureaucracy arbitrarily bans your Twitter followers from retweeting a link to your original, copyrighted content. How is that not flat-out censorship (by a privately owned and operated entity with extra-legal powers)?
This is exactly like the Soviet Union, where citizens were routinely tossed in the gulag for having “anti-Soviet thoughts.” Twitter, Facebook and Google routinely hold the equivalent of extra-legal administrative “trials” in which those accused of violating open-to-interpretation (“anti-Soviet thoughts”) Terms of Service are not presented with evidence of their “crimes” nor are they are given a chance in a transparent, fairly administered process to contest their “guilty” verdict.
As for Facebook: direct links from Facebook users to oftwominds.com dropped by 90% last year over the course of a few days. What could have caused this sudden collapse? The only possible cause is Facebook limiting the number of people who could see my posts on their feeds. If this isn’t shadow-banning, then what do we call it, other than censorship?
As for Google–who knows how your rankings in search are jiggered? We do know that having “anti-Soviet thoughts” will get you de-platformed from YouTube, which not only silences you but also demonetizes your content, so not only are you thrown into the censorship gulag, you’re stripped of your livelihood as well.
I have long suspected that the root of oftwominds.com being censored by the Big Tech platforms is my “false arrest for sedition” via the scurrilously fabricated PropOrNot list that was gleefully promoted by the odious propaganda organ Washington Post— promoted, we should note, without any journalistic investigation or even rudimentary fact-checking.
Having been put on a list of sites deemed “guilty of anti-Soviet thoughts” by propagandists purporting to reveal propaganda, I’ve been shadow-banned and censored without any recourse or opportunity to contest my sentence in the Big Tech gulag. This is how Big Tech silences us, quietly, without any evidence, without any hearing, without any recourse, in secret extra-legal proceedings where we are refused the opportunity to question our accuser and contest the “evidence,” if any.
Big Tech is a privately owned and operated gulag straight out of Kafka. As I have argued before, the only way to dismantle this privately owned and operated gulag, whose sole purpose is to maximize profits from adverts and selling user data, is to turn their services into public utilities that cannot collect any data and cannot target adverts.
This is how they silence us: your content has been secretly flagged as being “unsafe,” i.e. “guilty of anti-Soviet thoughts;” poof, you’re gone.
This article was originally published by Charles Hugh Smith at Of Two Minds.