The Great Purge

The Great Purge. By Alexandra Marshall.

Tens of thousands of social media users have vanished from the online discussion – snuffed out in the last twenty-four hours without acknowledgement by the platforms involved.

It is the erasure of political opposition to create the illusion of consensus. What was once a playground of ideas has become a digital ‘yes-man’ for those with delusions of power.

Purging is customary at the beginning of a cultural revolution. When emotionally insecure political movements take power, their first course of action is to expunge criticism. Historically, this was achieved through murder and expulsion of populations from a region. In 2020, civilisation’s ideological landscape is digital and the eviction is via an account suspension. …

Whatever the terms of use laid out inside Twitter’s Civic Integrity Policy are, they are not applied equally. The enforcement of the fine print is left to the discretion of an editorial team who remove content and accounts with absolute authority and impunity.

As there is no avenue to contest decisions, once the Twitterati have attached the label of ‘hateful content’ to a user, activists use this branding to tarnish the professional reputations of their ideological opposition, making Twitter a collaborating party in professional defamation. …

The internet — originally envisioned as a shrine to Western liberty — is now a four-by-four cell monitored by a corporate authoritarian regime with a CEO who looks like Osama Bin Laden’s homeless brother.

Then along came our politicians who toddled onto the scene and saw social media as a way to promote their own interests. Instead of recognising this vital piece of intellectual infrastructure, their greed murdered an invention that had revolutionised the world for the better. What’s left is nothing more than a mechanism of social control. In this, conservative and left-wing politicians share equal blame.

This is the third significant online purge since the 2020 US elections.

  • The first was in the days leading up to the election where conservative accounts were put on temporary suspensions, presumably to stop them from using Twitter as a campaign platform. This created a cosy echo chamber for the Democrats and their followers for the duration of the vote.
  • The second removal of users was during the Hunter Biden laptop saga when the anonymous fact-checkers of Twitter went into a frenzy, banishing anyone who dared to talk about the scandal involving Biden’s son. On that occasion, Twitter blocked official media publications, including The New York Post, and was eventually dragged in front of a Senate hearing to explain their actions.
  • The third event started yesterday, and despite how things may look, it was not triggered by protests at Capitol Hill, but rather something far more troubling…

Yesterday Twitter realised that there is no one in power to hold them to the law. Where once they had to hide their political censorship, it has become overt. …

It should be noted that while Twitter is actively suspending conservative accounts for its own reasons, pro-democracy Hong Kong accounts are hidden among the culling. Those who fight for freedom at the edge of Communist China, are being lost without comment. While not the focus of this article, it is a symptom of the same problem.