Realist, not conformist analysis of the latest financial, business and political news

If This Doesn’t Scare The Hell Out Of You Then Nothing Will

Ms. Ursula Von Der Layen is making a pitch for the European Union to be the censor of social media.

No, really, she is:

Echoing the concerns of the British government, Von der Leyen, a former German defence minister, said Twitter’s decision to prohibit Trump from its platform following the invasion of Capitol Hill had also highlighted the need to rein in the power of the most powerful actors on the internet.

She said: “This point is also important to me: no matter how right it may have been for Twitter to switch off Donald Trump’s account five minutes after midnight, such serious interference with freedom of expression should be based on laws and not on company rules. It should be based on decisions of politicians and parliaments and not of Silicon Valley managers.”

Politics and politicians get to decide what you may say and where.

Yep, that is censorship, isn’t it? We’ve entirely done an end run around that point that private actors may do as they wish, being private actors. We’re now well into that world of freedom and liberty. Even, of constitutions. The point of those constitution things being what they, the powers that be, may not do to us, the people.

Now look again at what she is saying. That politics and politicians should decide what may be said upon the internet. Which people may say what even.

This from an organisation which makes even the pensions of its former employees dependent upon their continuing to publicly support the aims of the organisation. Lots of freedom of speech we’re going to have now, eh?

Ah, sorry, lots of freedom of speech they’re going to have in the remnant EU for of course we’ve dodged this by leaving.

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Spike
Spike
9 months ago

Twitter’s decision to muzzle not just Trump but #WalkAway (that black Americans should stop waiting for Democrats to deliver them results) and “QAnon” and hydrochloroquine was indeed a private decision by an executive tasked to maximize value (though he has done the opposite, in the short term). Google and Amazon conspiring to ensure an alternative cannot emerge, not so much.

Is it really safer that such decisions be made not by individuals seeking to maximize their own stash, but by careerists and gadflies seeking to boss strangers around? Even if the victim this time was “correct”?

John B
John B
9 months ago

Translation: I am a jealous god; I shall not tolerate my power being usurped.

Quentin Vole
Quentin Vole
9 months ago

So a few hundred cosplay enthusiasts breaking a couple of windows and entering the Capitol is now an ‘invasion’ in Guardian-speak. It was only an ‘insurrection’ on the Beeb this morning. No doubt it will be the Second Civil War this time tomorrow.

I wonder what they’d have called it if they’d trashed the place and then set fire to it? Oh, I know, ‘largely peaceful’.

Spike
Spike
9 months ago
Reply to  Quentin Vole

It has already been the Second Civil War; that is the basis for the push to unseat Sens. Hawley and Cruz, using a Constitutional amendment written to disqualify pre-war representatives from the Confederate States.

The individuals will be charged with trespassing and not insurrection, because insurrection means something, and there is no chance that being on the wrong side of the rope line threatened to unseat the U.S. government.

Leo Savantt
Leo Savantt
9 months ago

There genuinely is no limit to the power that the European Commission would invest in itself. Censoring social media is the least of it and not the most worrying by far, the executive control of the military capacity of member states won’t just put people at risk of having their Twitter silenced, but will raises the truly terrifying prospect of conflict on a scale never before experienced. The threat posed by von der Leyen and her fellows is painful to grasp, which is perhaps why broadly it hasn’t been.

jgh
jgh
9 months ago

I say: Bring It On! Come on EU, stop pussy-footing around, come down strong and hardon your people’s liberty and freedoms.

Esteban
Esteban
9 months ago

The people living in the EU voted for Progressivism, they should get it good and hard.

TD
TD
8 months ago

Is anyone surprised that a politician seeing someone’s microphone being taken away from them would think that “damn, I should have that power”? Next up, a woke update to mideaval heresy laws.

Boganboy
Boganboy
8 months ago
Reply to  TD

Back to burning at the stake?

Wheels
Wheels
8 months ago

I used to agree with this opinion but not any longer. These companies are large and influential enough that left unregulated they can determine who gets elected, what news you will hear and who can be on the internet at all. When Amazon took down Parler there was no other place to go. They will find a host but it will not have the bandwidth, the features, the security and it takes time. Being off the app stores prevents your site from being used. There is no recourse. At least with politicians, you get to vote them out of office… Read more »

Spike
Spike
8 months ago
Reply to  Wheels

Your free speech doesn’t entitle you to speak it in my house, no matter how big my house is; nor Twitter’s. It has not gotten “monopoly power” through coercion, except perhaps people’s desire to all be on the same service.

But there are other things going on here: Massive electioneering, muting one candidate and all his prominent supporters, in an era in which everyone vowed to eliminate untoward influences; then conspiring to wreck a potential competitor.

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