American Politics

Trump Vows To End Social Media’s Gestapo-Level Censorship #Trump #socialmedia #censorship #1A

President Trump on Saturday issued a tweet-storm following the removal of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his InfoWars shows from most major social media platforms earlier this month.

“Social Media is totally discriminating against Republican/Conservative voices,” the president wrote in the first of several tweets. “Speaking loudly and clearly for the Trump Administration, we won’t let that happen.”

The president did not indicate what steps his administration might take to prevent private companies from setting up and enforcing terms of service that have allowed them to discipline or shut down accounts for reported abuses.

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“Too many voices are being destroyed, some good & some bad, and that cannot be allowed to happen,” he wrote, without naming any specific accounts.

“Censorship is a very dangerous thing & absolutely impossible to police,” the president wrote, suggesting that social media companies may be politically motivated in enforcing their rules about hate speech and direct calls for violence.

He also seemed to equate the recent moves to remove content from InfoWars, with his own attacks on mainstream media outlets over what he has called “fake news.”

“If you are weeding out Fake News, there is nothing so Fake as CNN & MSNBC, & yet I do not ask that their sick behavior be removed,” he wrote.

The president’s Twitter storm comes a week after Facebook, Apple, Spotify and YouTube removed from their services most of the content posted by Jones and his InfoWars network, citing what they said were violations of their terms of service.

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Earlier this week, Twitter followed suit with a seven-day suspension of Jones’ personal account.

Last week, Twitter also suspended accounts associated with former Vice co-founder Gavin McInnes and the far-right Proud Boys group; the latter had participated in last summer’s deadly Unite the Right rally of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Meanwhile, in a sign that Americans are fed up with censorship, Facebook has been dealing with the fact that Facebook is losing market share.

According to a new study shared with CNBC by market research firm SimilarWeb, shows Facebook has seen a severe decline in monthly page visits, from 8.5 billion to 4.7 billion in the last two years,

Facebook’s traffic hasn’t just fallen by about half since 2016, according to the study.

Ironically, it’s also the same length of time that Facebook began censoring conservatives as a regular part of their policy, while leaving leftists free to have bot armies to attack pages with, allowing the left to post clearly violent content, when not even allowing conservatives to post a parody of Elmer Fudd and Barack Obama, because it’s “a credible threat of violence” to the former President.

Of course it is, because Elmer Fudd is infamous for becoming real, and assassinating former presidents, right?

Among the consequences of such a precipitous drop is the opening it’s given to YouTube, which the study’s data shows is about to overtake Facebook to become the second biggest site, traffic-wise, in the U.S.

That gives Google ownership of the top two spots, pushing Facebook down to number three.

Unfortunately, Google is one of the worst offenders when it comes to inhibiting the exercise of free speech with regular censorship and shadow banning of YouTube channels they don’t like, going so far as to completely blacklist a website domain, so they never show in in search results. So don’t expect things to get better on the censorship end of things.

CNBC describes the drop at Facebook as “severe” and goes on to round out its list this way: “The five websites receiving the most traffic in the U.S. in the last several years have been Google, Facebook, YouTube, Yahoo and Amazon, in that order.

However, Facebook has seen a severe decline in monthly page visits, from 8.5 billion to 4.7 billion in the last two years, according to the study. Although Facebook’s app traffic has grown, it is not enough to make up for that loss, the study said.”

Google trouncing Facebook is a bit ironic, considering it was Google’s attempt at a feed-based social network (Google+) that ended up falling flat, when it turned out Google already owned a social winner this whole time in the form of YouTube.

It’s also one more suggestion that maybe, finally we’re hitting “peak social.” (We can only hope, for the good of mankind.)

Snapchat’s parent, of course, reported earnings this week and acknowledged a drop in daily active users for the second quarter compared to the year-ago period. Facebook and Twitter also posted declines during their most recent earnings presentations.

Snap, for its part, blamed shedding users on a much-maligned redesign of the ephemeral messaging app. Facebook and Twitter also blamed the European Union’s new privacy law as part of the reason their numbers are down.

Facebook losing such a large amount of traffic over the last few years is part of a broad realignment in the social media landscape that’s only going to continue, likely with surprising outcomes. It’s also apparently creating buying opportunities.

In a blog post earlier this year, BTIG speculated that Twitter is going to be acquired at some point this year.

“Twitter’s 2017 comeback has been fueled by refocusing the company on its core product (iterating features faster than ever before and breaking its own legacy product rules such as #140), creating robust video advertising opportunities for brands and most importantly, making sure users have a better experience every time they visit (by showing them tweets they are interested in and reducing the visibility of trolling), which increases the desire to come back to Twitter more often,” BTIG notes.

“With Twitter still in the early stages of its recovery, the time is ripe for an acquisition in 2018 and there is no controlling shareholder that could prevent a transaction.”

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James E Windsor, Overpasses News Desk
August 19th, 2018

 

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