We discussed how writers, editors, commentators, and scholars have embraced the increasing demands for censorship and language control, including President-elect Joe Biden and his key advisors. The erosion of free speech has been radically accelerated by the big tech and social media companies. The level of censorship and visual regulation has raised questions about a new type of state media in which corporations with political allies drive an ideological agenda. Criticism from the state media has never been more compelling than in YouTube’s announcement this week to remove videos questioning President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. The election is over, but YouTube will now discard any dissenting views that the election was compromised by fraud.
YouTube (owned by Google) announced, “We will start removing any content uploaded today (or anytime after) that is misleading people by claiming that widespread fraud or error is the result of the 2020 US presidential election have changed. ” The company used the end of the “Safe Harbor” period for the vote count to justify censoring those with persistent doubts or those seeking explanations as to why the count remains suspicious, including what is believed to be a number of Members of Congress who have requested an investigation.
For free speech advocates, the move is a crude example of corporate censorship, but Democrats and many liberals welcomed the move. Indeed, the Dean of Columbia Journalism has complained that these companies are not cracking down on freedom of expression to a greater extent, accusing their own greed of not being major censorship. It seems that Big Brother is now accepted as the protector of the truth.
Like the “false facts” removed by China’s censors, the Biden victory is treated as a state fact that cannot be questioned or questioned. As someone who has declared for weeks that Biden is the president-elect and criticizes conspiracy theories, I disagree with the view that the election was stolen. Millions of votes – both Republicans and Democrats – hold this view. In fact, some polls show that up to 90 percent of Republicans believe that elections were not fair and honest. About half the country voted for President Donald Trump, and many of them hold that view.
The best way to address such views is to subject them to debate and challenge. That is the value of free speech. Otherwise, you will get into a slippery slope of censoring views that you consider harmful or misleading.
This action, in particular, comes just weeks after companies blocked the discussion of the Hunter Biden story. Only after the election did the CEOs say it was a mistake. Biden is currently under federal investigation and the laptop and its intrusive emails now appear to be legitimate. However, the Democratic Senators called for more censorship when the CEOs apologized for posting legitimate news that harmed Biden. Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal said he was “concerned that your two companies are actually falling behind or pulling out, that you are not taking action against dangerous disinformation.” Accordingly, he asks for an answer to this question:
“Will you commit to the same kind of solid game books for changing content, including fact checking, labeling, reducing the spread of misinformation, and other steps in the upcoming election, even for politicians in the upcoming runoff?”
YouTube eagerly accepted the call for censorship from Blumenthal and others. It now protects history, not choice, from what it regards as disinformation. It is the very Chinese model that some American scholars and journalists advocate, directly or indirectly. We watch the freedom of speech decline to the applause of those who want less freedom.