There have been murmurs about it all along.
Someday, they simply wouldn’t allow certain things to remain on the Internet any longer. The potential to reach a global audience with important information, and the idea that it could be in the hands of anyone is just too big.
So it is no surprise that many corporate giants from Silicon Valley are now putting forward a unified front to silence free speech on social media.
Hashtags, keywords and flagged accounts, logged in various databases, will be shared and enforced across the web. Shutting down content identified as unacceptable will now be streamlined, and leave unpopular posters with fewer places to peddle their extremist, outside views.
According to Yahoo! News:
Web giants YouTube , Facebook , Twitter and Microsoft will step up efforts to remove extremist content from their websites by creating a common database.
The companies will share ‘hashes’ – unique digital fingerprints they automatically assign to videos or photos – of extremist content they have removed from their websites to enable their peers to identify the same content on their platforms.
“We hope this collaboration will lead to greater efficiency as we continue to enforce our policies to help curb the pressing global issue of terrorist content online,” the companies said in a statement on Tuesday.
The European Union set up an EU Internet Forum last year bringing together the internet companies, interior ministers and the EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator to find ways of removing extremist content.
Many current incidents are being used to push the idea that a new online policing – and a pulling of the weeds – is now necessary.
The “fake news” purging campaign has reached across the blogosphere and alternative media and punished websites that have dared to report on such taboo topics as Pizzagate, Wikileaks email dumps, any controversial aspects of the Syrian war and many other serious topics which these agenda-driven companies have opted to suppress.
While these platforms offer the opportunity to reach a wide audience, the centrality of ubiquitous platforms like Facebook, Google and Twitter is, obviously, that they have the power to delete accounts and drive down audience response by tweaking the algorithm.
They can make you invisible.
That is the state of free speech in 2016. It can be eradicated at a moment’s notice, and perhaps for reasons you aren’t even aware of.