What is freedom of expression?
“What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist.” – Salman Rushdie
Wise words and very relevant this week as Twitter banned outgoing US President, Donald Trump on Friday night after holding him responsible for inciting the crowd who stormed Capitol Hill, despite Trump himself calling on those responsible to “go home.” Facebook has also blocked Mr Trump, who has also been de-platformed by quite a few other media sites.
Then, in an upturned crazy world, free speech found an unlikely ally. While the vast bulk of the left were celebrating the Trump sidelining, enter Angela Merkel. The German Chancellor said the ban was “problematic” because a freedom of opinion is a basic right of “elementary significance.”
“This fundamental right can be intervened in, but according to the law and within the framework defined by legislators — not according to a decision by the management of social media platforms,” said a spokesman on behalf of Mrs Merkel. Who amongst us had this fanatical pro-EU and socialist enigma down as a defender of free speech?
Big tech have eliminated Parler, who relied on Amazon’s servers and it leaves Gab.com, who invested in their own, struggling to absorb a huge increase in numbers as people flee to a social media site that is not heavily policed by the likes of Nick Clegg.
How the West has sleepwalked into a situation where a few multi-billionnaires control what we are allowed to think and do is unbelievable. Were we warned about this? Yes – at least 1984 times! The thought police are here with us now. It’s an incredible situation where social media is controlling governments, rather than the other way round. All they have to do is bombard their users with propaganda, setting the popular opinion polls in front of Special Advisors and Hey presto! The governments do what they want.
Big tech want this lockdown. If people are stuck at home they are limited to online purchases and the already super-rich get even richer. At least with governments there is a vague semblance of democracy. Whilst not leaving here yet, I shall be following the road to freedom of expression, to gab.com. Douglas Adams fans will know why my monicker on there is lizard_hater. See you on the other side.
Martin Day – Party Secretary