Western Governments Keep Assigning Themselves The Authority To Regulate Online Speech

Depending on what political echo chamber you’ve been viewing it from, the ongoing release of information about the inner workings of pre-Musk Twitter known as “the Twitter Files” might look like the bombshell news story of the century, or it might look like a complete nothingburger whose importance is being wildly exaggerated by the far right.

From where I’m sitting, the Twitter Files look like entirely newsworthy revelations which add new detail to information that had already been spilling out about the way government agencies have been inserting themselves into Silicon Valley’s processes of regulating online speech. Right wing punditry has of course been exaggerating the significance of the releases and spinning them in all kinds of disingenuous ways, and Musk himself plainly has a partisan agenda in releasing the information in the way that he has been, but it’s not actually difficult to separate that from the value of the information being released.

Many liberals and leftists have struggled to grasp this (in my view simple and obvious) distinction, but we’re now seeing articles coming out in publications like The Guardian and Jacobin explaining to their respective audiences that it should actually concern anyone who opposes government tyranny to see secretive agencies taking it upon themselves to control the way people talk to each other on the internet.

“Make no mistake: while some criticisms of the project coming from left of center certainly have merit, that doesn’t mean the disclosures aren’t important, or that the accuracy of the information contained in the files is somehow undermined by the political slant of some of those reporting on it,” writes Jacobin’s Branko Marcetic. “The Twitter Files give us an unprecedented peek behind the curtain at the workings of Twitter’s opaque censorship regime, and expose in greater detail the secret and ongoing merger of social media companies and the US national security state.”

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Author: HP McLovincraft

Seeker of rabbit holes. Pessimist. Libertine. Contrarian. Your huckleberry. Possibly true tales of sanity-blasting horror also known as abject reality. Prepare yourself. Veteran of a thousand psychic wars. I have seen the fnords. Deplatformed on Tumblr and Twitter.

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