December 6, 2016
The EU Is Warning American Tech Giants to Crack Down on Hate Speech Now … “They will have to act quickly and make a strong effort in the coming months.” U.S. tech giants including Facebook, Twitter, Google’s YouTube and Microsoft will have to act faster to tackle online hate speech or face laws forcing them to do so, the European Commission said on Sunday. -Reuters
Western governments are censoring speech in Europe and the US, an obvious pattern that clearly shows coordination.
In the US, there is a congressional effort to fund intel agencies that will investigate alternative media for ties to Russian propaganda. Such investigations , if they occur, will retard this sector and make further, free-reporting difficult.
In Europe, efforts to control speech and reporting are actually being aimed at American communication enterprises such as Google, YouTube and Microsoft (see excerpt above).
The European Union (EU) executive’s warning comes six months after the companies signed up to a voluntary code of conduct to take action in Europe within 24 hours, following rising concerns triggered by the refugee crisis and terror attacks.
This included removing or disabling access to the content if necessary, better cooperation with civil society organizations and the promotion of “counter-narratives” to hate speech.
The code of conduct is largely a continuation of efforts that the companies already take to counter hate speech on their websites, such as developing tools for people to report hateful content and training staff to handle such requests.
Top powers in the US and Europe will not likely admit coordination to crack down on Internet news and views but this is obviously what’s happening.
It is true that European censorship justifications have a longer history. Complaints about terrorism and hate speech have been voiced for several years. In the US, the sudden emergence of concern over Russian influence on ‘Net-based media is a new phenomenon.
Nonetheless, the House has just passed a bill to fund investigations into Russian influence on American media (see here). Such investigations might involve the tracking of so-called Alt.right “hate speech” as well.
Western efforts to “control” the Internet will no doubt adopt certain Chinese solutions over time. In China the Internet is actively being used as an agency of repression. Citizens are to receive ‘Net-based “grades” based on docility and how well they obey laws and generally fit in.
The larger question as governments crack down on ‘Net-based speech is whether or not people’s awareness of what is actually going on in their societies will transcend censorship.
History seems to show that after the Gutenberg Press launched an explosion of new ideas in printed form it took Western governments (and the controllers behind them) many centuries to regain control – 400 or 500 years as a matter of fact.
Western governments face similar problems now. A whole generation of individuals has absorbed a new way of thinking promulgated by the ‘Net. This is one reason approval of mainstream media is in the single digits while up to 50 percent or more (in the US, anyway) admit to belief in “conspiracy theories” – versions of important events not dictated by government and secret forces operating behind government.
In aggregate these views posit a different society than the current one. Today’s society is an outgrowth of World War II reorganization and depends heavily on the dictates of massive governments and even larger corporate enterprises.
‘Net-based alternative sociopolitical organization tends to criticize such titanic social solutions and is often more libertarian based. The idea is that culture ought to dictate social organization and economic, political and even military control ought to be organized from the ground up instead of top down.
These two models are on a collision course. Despite the intention of elites to wipe out the emergence of alternate thinking regarding social control, the insights that have been re-established via Internet communication are not going to easily or rapidly dissipate. In fact, censorship will likely reinforce their validity and emphasize their credibility.
A whole different world view is now part of people’s consciousness, certainly in the West and likely elsewhere too, even China. Such alternative insights about money, power and politics are extraordinarily difficult to eradicate. Ideas of freedom, local authority and individual responsibility are not easily stamped out once they have gained – or regained – credence.
In this case, the Western intelligentsia has been reawakened en masse to an alternative cultural model that has its roots in thousands of years of practice and application. These cultural solutions stand clearly in opposition to the current sociopolitical formula that emphasizes bigness and technocratic authoritarianism.
Anti-war, pro-individual freedom, private money and private justice, these precepts have found their way into intellectual circulation once more. They are extraordinarily compelling and will continue to have an influence far beyond what is easily apparent.
As this article was being posted, ZeroHedge reported that Naked Capitalism’s Yves Smith threatened The Washington Post with a defamation suit and demanded a retraction for reporting that the website was in league with Russian interests. We’re actually surprised a class action lawsuit hasn’t been launched as numerous websites have been smeared by these accusations. Could such a lawsuit be aimed at Congress as well (despite sovereign immunity)?
Conclusion: History may well repeat in the 21st century, but not necessarily in ways current elites are hoping.