from 21st Century Wire:
The irony is almost too much to bear now.
This week, Silicon Valley giant YouTube has taken a string out of China’s bow by deplatforming some 210 channels for posting content criticizing the recent Hong Kong protests, claiming that channels were somehow “sowing political discord” on behalf of the Chinese government.
The Google subsidiary accused the channels of acting “in a coordinated manner.” Their move was the most recent in a clear pattern of censorship, along with social media giants Facebook and Twitter who recently censored pro-Chinese accounts in a move critics have called ‘arbitrary’ censorship.
In a blog post this past Thursday, Google threat analyst Shane Huntley said,“Channels in this network behaved in a coordinated manner while uploading videos related to the ongoing protests in Hong Kong.”
Huntley added that Google’s supposed “discovery” was somehow “consistent with recent observations and actions related to China announced by Facebook and Twitter.”
The hypocrisy of the Silicon Valley firms is breathtaking nonetheless. Even the Washington Post was forced to point out that in accusing China of disinformation, Twitter and Facebook take on an authoritarian role they’ve always sought to reject:
“The move underscored the awkward and largely uncharted territory the companies have attempted to navigate in the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election in the United States, where Facebook and Twitter faced furious public and political pressure to stem the tide of disinformation on their platforms. Once vehemently opposed to being seen as “arbiters of truth,” both have since built major operations to detect and dismantle forms of online manipulation — even if it means angering important global actors such as the Chinese government.”
Twitter and Facebook are also using the same tactics to selectively shut down established writers who use pen names, including one of the most prolific bloggers specializing in foreign affairs over the last decade, Tony Cartalucci, who was deplatformed for exposing US-backed unrest and ‘color revolutions’ in countries like Thailand, China, Syria and elsewhere. He remarked after the fact:
“Tony Cartalucci is my pen name and a form of anonyminity – it is not a “fictitious persona.” I write in a country where US-backed political agitators – referred to as “democracy activists” in the Reuters article – regularly use deadly violence against their opponents. And if writing under a pen name or anonymously is grounds for expulsion from both Facebook and Twitter, what is The Economist still doing on either platform? The Economist’s articles are all admittedly written anonymously.”
Regarding the Hong Kong controversy, Google claims that it knows the Chinese state was attempting to “influence” public opinion against the protesters because of the “use of VPNs” as well as “other methods of disguise.” In actuality, nearly all Chinese internet users who seek any outside news or international perspectives regularly use some form of VPN masking to bypass various information firewalls. The same in the Middle East, and even in Europe, as US regulators continue to force a gradual balkanization of the internet based on global regions.
The issue of US-based digital monopoly firms attempting to manage online discourse globally – is officially a global problem now. As Chinese officials have rightly pointed out: there is no more ambiguity on the issue, as the US is using its overwhelming ownership of internet platforms to fixmarketplace of ideas in favor of is own policies – including regime change. Even The Post spells it out clearly: