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The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity welcomes you to Five Minutes Five Issues.
Starting in five four three two one.
Hello, I am Adam Dick, a Ron Paul Institute senior fellow.
On Sunday, Twitter took action against three individuals with whom many people who follow Ron Paul Institute activities are familiar. Twitter took down the Twitter page of writer and United States State Department whistle-blower Peter Van Buren. Twitter also barred Scott Horton Show host Scott Horton and Ron Paul Institute Executive Director Daniel McAdams from accessing their Twitter pages to make new posts or to do anything else. Twitter restored McAdams’ access to his Twitter account on Wednesday.
McAdams, Horton, and Van Buren seem to be “too dangerous” for Twitter. But, you will be able to continue to find their commentary at the Ron Paul Institute website. Indeed, on Tuesday at RPI’s Ron Paul Liberty Report, McAdams, Horton, and Van Buren discussed Twitter’s actions against them.
This week, several major internet companies, including Facebook, Google’s YouTube, Apple’s iTunes, and Spotify, shut down much or all the content that popular talk show host Alex Jones had at the companies’ websites. Even MailChimp cut off Jones from using its email service.
In a video monologue, Luke Rudowski says what happened to Jones “sets a very dangerous precedent with severe repercussions for both people on the left and the right.” Rudowski further explains: “Now, in short, what ultimately happened today was that a handful of government-connected, powerful, monopoly tech companies decided to purge Alex Jones from their websites — removing them from their platform and deleting all the work that they have done before.”
Rudowski is right. If this can be done to Jones, we should be concerned it will be done to plenty more people.
Powerful people, including in the US government, want things to go much further than major internet companies purging Infowars and other Alex Jones media outlets. For example, consider this Monday Twitter post by US Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT):
Infowars is the tip of a giant iceberg of hate and lies that uses sites like Facebook and YouTube to tear our nation apart. These companies must do more than take down one website. The survival of our democracy depends on it.
A July 30 Axios article by David McCabe suggests the kind of governmental pressure that can be applied to help bring about purges by internet companies. McCabe discusses a 23-page draft “white paper” being circulated by US Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA) proclaiming the need for “increased scrutiny” of “tech giants,” including social media companies. The white paper proposes imposing liability on social media companies for users’ posts that the companies do not remove. It also threatens further regulating of social media companies.
The first particular concern discussed in detail in the white paper is “the capacity for communications technologies to promote disinformation that undermines trust in our institutions, democracy, free press and markets.” What Warner’s white paper is really saying here is that dissent that threatens to disrupt the ruling order must be suppressed.
The current internet giants can fall just like Goliath, just like MySpace.
Kim Dotcom challenged the big internet and media companies with his website Megaupload until government action shut it down and turned his life upside-down, including with an ongoing effort to extradite him from New Zealand to America for prosecution and punishment. On Tuesday, Dotcom posted at Twitter a message to some of the big internet companies:
Twitter, Facebook, Google, you betray your users by helping the Deep State to spy on all, you politicize your platforms to manipulate public opinion, you shadowban, censor and attack free speech. Your tech is easy to replace and your users will leave you. Your days are numbered.
I hope Dotcom is right about that.
That’s a wrap.
Transcripts of Five Minutes Five Issues episodes, including links to related information, are at the Ron Paul Institute blog.
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