So now it has finally happened: Donald Trump’s favorite toys, his channels in social networks, are a thing of the past. Twitter finally deleted the US President’s account after an initial temporary suspension because the “risk of further inciting violence” was too great. Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat have blocked the 74-year-old’s channels until further notice.
Some people from his environs also fell victim to the deletions. These include security advisor General Michael Flynn and former Trump attorney Sidney Powell. Many conservative opinion leaders also report thousands of Twitter followers who were lost overnight.
At the same time, Google blocked the Parler news platform app in its Play Store, which is currently being hailed as a Twitter alternative by right-wing parties and conservatives. Apple is also threatening to ban the provider from the App Store; this should only be a matter of time.
It is now clear who has power
The video service Dlive blocked several right-wing channels on Saturday, including that of the right-wing “America First” activist Nick Fuentes, who was the largest content creator on the streaming site with almost 60,000 subscribers. Youtube had already deleted Fuentes in February 2020.
First of all, it should be noted that Trump is certainly not innocent in the current situation. For years he watched as dozens of libertarians, conservatives and right-wingers were gradually forced into the digital underground. Despite promises to the contrary at the beginning of his presidency, he put the tech companies under pressure, albeit too late and without sustainability.
It is now obvious who is really in power in the United States. As a consequence, one can watch how the left, after the grotesque clown show around the Capitol in Washington, calls on the digital corporations ever more vehemently to tighten the thumbscrews. Numerous media houses – from the Bloomberg news channel to the New York Times – but also Democratic politicians could hardly hold back their authoritarian desires and welcomed the deletions.
And the phrase “protecting democracy” means, as always: We need more censorship!
These steps, however, will inevitably drive the division of society in both the US and Canada. Extremism always increases when unpleasant opinions are sidelined. And the deletions are only likely to be the beginning of something deeper. What is currently happening is sometimes reminiscent of the situation after September 11, 2001.
The fears, emotions and strangeness in the population triggered by the storming of the Capitol are mercilessly and deliberately exploited to enforce authoritarian measures. A new “war on terror” has broken out, said the journalist Gleen Greenwald on friday, who in 2013, together with Edward Snowden, uncovered the mass surveillance by the NSA.
If Donald Trump leaves office, Greenwald told Fox-News that, thanks to its data sovereignty, Silicon Valley and the executive arm of the Biden government would intensify the fight against “White Supremacists”, which now includes virtually every Trump supporter, and treat them as one treats terrorists: “You monitor these people, you watch them, you arrest them.” Millions of Trump voters are therefore under general suspicion.
But is the establishment going a step too far in its zeal? Or to put it another way: is it even strategically clever? In the conservative US camp in particular, the events in Washington sometimes sparked heated debates. Trump supporters and Trump opponents threw violent accusations at each other, some made fictitious rumors about a split in the Republican Party.
Trump himself put himself on the sidelines by his no longer explainable behavior. But now both camps will inevitably close ranks in the fight against freedom of expression. The external threat ensures internal unity.
Because at no point in time has it been clearer where the real enemy, not only of freedom of expression, but of the free West itself, is to be located. The tech oligarchs are now more powerful than any nation state. A handful of billionaires determine what we can hear, what we can speak, what is true and what is false.
Alternatives are needed
There is no accountability, and transparency is sought in vain. It is hardly surprising that the system-stabilizing left is busily applauding, given that they share the same values and views as the tech industry. The “Woke” dictate where to go, and a right that insists on nation, family and actual freedom of expression only stands in the way.
The bans of the President on all relevant channels now finally prove that surely no one is inviolable any more. Creating alternatives is therefore more necessary than ever.
But even here other problems arise. Because as it turns out, alternatives like Parler are by no means protected from the large corporations Apple and Google. In a world where even domain name registration and digital but also analog financial institutions are politicized, conservatives have to rebuild in a much more fundamental way. And that’s difficult enough. In any case, the waves of cleansing in the once free Internet have now begun in earnest.