Censorship By Twitter & Facebook Is Stunning

By Royal Alexander/Opinion

Only days before the election, these tech giants block access to damaging news about the candidate they support

The censorship we have witnessed this week is a perfect example of why millions of Americans trust neither the national media nor social media. This is the behavior of totalitarian regimes and dictatorships. Not America.
The New York Post, one of the oldest and largest newspapers in the world, broke a story regarding the discovery of credible evidence in the form of emails revealing that Hunter Biden, the son of presidential candidate, Joe Biden, clearly leveraged his dad’s then-position as Vice President by gaining favors from his dad that benefited the Ukrainian energy company, Burisma. One 2015 email indicates that Vadym Pozharskyi, a Burma adviser, thanked Hunter Biden for “giving an opportunity” to meet former VP Joe Biden.
This new, independent revelation regarding influence-peddling by Hunter Biden is obviously newsworthy given that the former VP has repeatedly said he had “never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings.” The new emails strongly suggest that former VP Biden was not only aware of his son’s business dealings but actually participated in meetings to benefit him.

Regardless, Facebook immediately stated that it “was reducing [the New York Post article’s] distribution on our platform.” What this really means is Facebook would tweak and alter its algorithms to limit the ability of users to view, discuss or share the article.

Twitter’s effort to suppress the Post article went well beyond Facebook’s. Twitter entirely banned all users’ ability to share the article on both its public timeline and private Direct Message function. Twitter first responded to attempts to link to the article with the “error” response. It later changed its response by telling users who tried to post and circulate the article that it judged its contents to be “potentially harmful.”

Twitter then continued its censorship efforts by locking the account of the New York Post itself! The next day, the Post published a similar article highlighting likely influence-peddling by Hunter Biden with, this time, a Chinese energy company for which he was apparently to be paid $10 million a year for “introductions alone.” Twitter banned that article as well. (Imagine the screaming we’d see if even a whiff of this kind of corruption could be attributed to Don, Jr., or Eric Trump regarding Pres Trump. On behalf of Joe Biden, though, there is media blackout).

It’s simply insufficient to say that no duty of fairness and evenhandedness is owed by Facebook and Twitter because the First Amendment only applies to government, not private, actors. Government censorship of speech is not the only kind. Private sector suppression of speech is equally threatening, chilling and damaging. Democracy can only function with a free exchange of information. Facebook and Twitter may not be government actors, but they are quasi-public entities, and they are behemoths. They are essentially monopolies and possess enormous leverage as a result.

They owe a duty of fairness for many reasons, not least because Twitter and Facebook directly benefit from a valuable legal advantage contained in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. This law protects them from any legal liability for content published on their sites, much of which may be defamatory. These two giants should not be allowed to receive valuable federal benefits on the one hand then also take the position that “we are private companies so we can suppress speech whenever we like.”

These two companies are no longer, if they ever were, neutral arbiters simply operating information exchange platforms. They have become the equivalent of media companies who regularly make editorial decisions in the composition of their news feeds and in so doing, reflect a distinctly Leftist bent. They remain legally unaccountable for damage done by the content on their platform and they have broad discretion to censor 3rd party speech. This is too much. I am hopeful changes to Section 230 will be made to limit the legal protections of social media companies.

Given the special status they enjoy, Twitter and Facebook have an obligation to act in the public interest and they are not doing so. I would support the DOJ either breaking them up on grounds of antitrust and monopoly or Congress removing their Section 230 advantage and regulating them as public utilities.

 

The views and opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Natchitoches Parish Journal.  If you have an article or story of interest for publishing consideration by the NPJ, please send it to NPJNatLa@gmail.com.


37 thoughts on “Censorship By Twitter & Facebook Is Stunning

  1. Your folks still dont want to talk about covid. It is on the rise again in most states. Pr*sident Trump has no idea what to do. Herd immunity does not work. I guess if you want to consider killing off millions of people in the process, then yeah, it might eventually work. What’s up with the Chinese bank acct now? I mean, really? And these threatening emails going to Dem voters. Where’s all the money you took from FEMA and the NYFD 9-11 fund? What are you hiding in your tax returns? Why wont you show them? To whom do you owe over $400M? Why do you always side with autocrats and dictators? Look up the 10 signs of an autocrat. Perfect match for Pr*sident Trump . We keep putting up facts. Truth and facts seem to elude these people that used to be Republicans. Wear your mask. Stay well.

  2. Ms Armstrong, how do explain the unemployment numbers going down, meaning that more people were working after President Trump took office. And please don’t feed me the line that Obama did that and it was in the works. Obama had 8 years in office, the percentage gain in jobs is not as large as most other administrations since the end of WWII. Even Jimmy Carter had a larger gain in jobs, even though his administration lasted only 4 years and he was not noted as one of the more successful presidents. You say the nation was great before 2016. You want to tell me what happened to make it bad. I have a few ideas, though I know you won’t agree with me. Nancy Pelosi spent all her time trying to get the President impeached and not taking care of the Nation’s needs, and she continues to do so. During President Trump’s first three years in office, information on minorities only are that median household incomes grew, inequality diminished, and the poverty level fell below 20% for the first time in post-World War II records. The unemployment rate among people of color went below 6% for the first time in records going back to 1972. And you say that in 2016, it became a hell hole. WoW, lady, you have a strange way of looking at things.

    President Trump brought jobs back to this country. No matter what you feel about him personally, he has been the most effective president in years. I have to admire him for standing and taking all the trash talk the TrumpHaters have thrown at him, in spite of the jobs he has created by bringing jobs back to the US from other countries. He know how to get things done and help the people. Yes at times he is rough around the edges, but at least he works to better the USA, to help the people do better. He has done so much, but I realize some people have tunnel vision and refuse to give him credit for the good he has done. I just pray that some people come to their senses and vote for him instead of the Biden/Harris ticket. We will end up without old Joe. Nancy is already planning to oust Biden from the White House should he win the election. Harris will be the slept her way to the top president, and she is a socialist. How will you feel when things you have worked for all you life are taken away to give to someone who hasn’t worked as hard and doesn’t have the things you have.

    We are treading on very thin ice in this election. Do you want this country to become a socialist country. You do know why all the Cuban immigrants are for President Trump, don’t you? They have lived under socialism and they don’t like it. They risked their lives in small boats to leave that hell-hole of an island to come to a country that offered freedom. Now they fear they have jumped from the frying pan into the fire if Biden wins. They see it as it really is. We are in danger and it is real. Think about it.

  3. My comments about the article and video that Randy Stelly thought was soooooo important to send to NPJ for publication and I was equally unimpressed that it was published. I know why Stelly did it because it excites him to talk negatively about people if color because when he had a news pamphlet, that’s all be did. I didn’t see him weigh in on when the Parish President was Involved in an altercation at his place of business, but he couldn’t wait to weigh in on this matter. If you don’t live here anymore, why does it matter to you???? You also threw some shade at the newly elected mayor about how he used his social media doing the hurricane to keep people Informed of condition. If you remember at that time there was no other way for the city to know what was happening and I think he did a darn good job by doing that.

  4. How easily things are passed online… still, I wonder about this one..convenient? Maybe we should look for a water logged computer.

  5. Seems as if the lawsuit had been won by Royal or dismissed, we would have certainly heard about that. I wonder if we can find out what happened to that suit. And yes, it seems something did happen back then and it just went away. Hmmm…

    • Vicki, you are only on here to stir up trouble. If he had been found guilty, he would have been in prison. Maybe it was a false accusation and has just disappeared. Undoubtedly if you heard of it, but can find nothing on it, it was what this town is famous for, GOSSIP. Now if you don’t have facts, don’t post.

    • Typical left BS. Nothing to do with nothing. Lol same they they do in washington. They’ve done it 4 year’s trying to bring down the president,just distractions with nothing to show. All it has done has hurt the nation! This BS distraction this nut is trying is also nothing because that’s all the she has to counter the truth.

  6. Some people don’t give a damn if information comes straight from Russia! It’s okay as long as it fits their narrative! TRUTH be damn!

    • Mr, Stelly, The Director of National Intelligence said the information on Hunter Biden’s computer was not Russian disinformation. People named in the emails are confirming they did in fact come from Hunter Biden. The FBI has the computer now, so we will see.

    • Randy Stelly, guess what they found out today. Russia and Iran have been interfering with the election, AND IT IS ALL AGAINST TRUMP AND TO BENEFIT THE DEMS, YOU KNOW BIDEN/HARRIS TICKET.
      Dang, man, how did you know that Russia was involved. Are you in cahoots with them? After all, you were a big newspaper publisher. How long have you known? Tell us more please.

  7. You you don’t think twitter and facebook are not bias against the right then you’re not on twitter or Facebook much. There’s been a drawing of a hooded black man cutting Trump’s floating around fb for months. Report it and they tell you it’s not against community standards! Tell the truth about Hitlery or king obama and you get a couple weeks in fb jail. Twitter is even worse,been banned there proudly a number of times!! You see their records,you hear them first hand so if you let social media decided who you are voting for,them in my opinion you don’t need to be voting on anything that can effect others in anyway.

  8. Since Royal loves news stories, maybe we should ask him about the sexual lawsuit brought against him in 2006. What became of that? I’m sure he wouldnt mind answering .

    • 2006? Something happened back then and it went away. I would venture to say it was thrown out if you can’t find it. Some things just didn’t happen, even if you really wish they had. Not everything you hear out of liberals are true, or read in liberal newspapers, so get used to it. You need to learn to recognize the truth from fiction. It really would do you good.

  9. Written by a true right wing, attempting to garner votes, by playing the knowledgeable. In fact the NY Post has been and is a yellow rag that has always come up with untruths and out right lies. The computer ended up in a repair shop, where the e-mails were “discovered”?? Are you kidding? You take this as truth?? No votes here.

    • What makes you think Hunter is bright enough to think of not taking an incriminating laptop into a repair shop to be repaired and even thinking of the things it had on it. After all he was probably high as a kite. What do you think he does in his spare time and other times. Uh, didn’t he get kicked out of the Navy for doing that back then too. Do you really think he has stopped. Come on, man, as old Joe would say. I’m not saying it is true, I’m saying it is entirely possible.

  10. He says that Facebook and Twitter are behaving like “totalitarian regimes and dictatorships,” which is an odd thing to say, since they are are private companies, but he then calls for these media outlets to be regulated like public utilities, which sounds exactly like the behavior of a totalitarian regime.

      • No, sir. That makes them privately help companies. Stocks sold through an stock exchange are sold to the public, yes, but the public having access does not mean that the public owns it. It is when the government owns something that it becomes public. Our city owns Parc Natchitoches, the land and structures. It is, therefore, publicly owned. A number of local individuals own stock in Walmart through publicly accessible stock exchange. That, however, does not mean it is a publicly held company. Each of those stock owners are individuals, and not a government. This is why those shares are referred to as privately held.

          • Your home has aspects that are regulated by the government, e.g., plumbing, electrical, and construction, MEWHP, yet your home is still NOT publicly owned. Regulating as an aspect of something does not change the technical and legal definition of publicly owned or privately owned.

  11. Media companies have no obligation to spread false or dubious stories. We have learned this was another attempt at Russian inference, complete with forged documents that was spread by Rudy Giuliani. Even FOX news wouldn’t repeat the story

  12. Richard “Royal” Alexander is clearly planning on running for either the Senate or Congressional Seat in our region. He has just appeared in the past months with these frequent op-eds in favor of Trump and very right leaning viewpoints. Clearly this is an appeal to the conservative leaning people of Natchitoches and our area. It is very frustrating to have a person who lives in Shreveport, and has no involvement in our community other than this column, telling us that anything against his viewpoint is wrong. Just either run for office or be quiet…I am so tired of seeing this in the NPJ nearly every issue.

    • I know you won’t agree with me, but I believe Royal Alexander writes a great article every week. He explains things that are happening in our nation so very well. It’s a shame that you can’t look at the other side of an issue without getting frustrated. I don’t believe that anything that he has said is a lie, so you just need to understand that both side of an argument needs to be exposed, talked about, and maybe even understood completely by some people.

      You do know that conservatives everywhere rarely get to see the conservative side of things. Most so called reporters are so liberal, and that is all we see, and we do get a little tired of it, so we are thankful that there is someone will write about what is happening in politics that we don’t get any other place.

      So, thank you Royal for the wonderful article for those of us with more conservative way of thinking.

      • If your using Rudy Giuliani as a source of truth!! and you think this article has any truth in it, and all reporters are liberal, I would like to smoke the stuff you have.

      • “You do know that conservatives everywhere rarely get to see the conservative side of things. Most so called reporters are so liberal, and that is all we see, and we do get a little tired of it, so we are thankful that there is someone will write about what is happening in politics that we don’t get any other place.”

        It’d called Fox News, New York Post, Breibart…I could go on. Conservatives have more media than anyone else. Also, most markets try to be as fair as possible…saying that most reporters are liberal is a republican talking point. I could point out Sean Hannity alone standing up for every single act of Donald Trump…thats bias.

        • I think you guys are forgetting ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC and others. Most of the printed material in newspapers, New York Times, Washington Post, Huffington Post, USAA Today, & LA Times. Even NPR. And all you can give me is Fox, NYPost, Breitbart. Did you know you can’t Google Joe Biden or Kamala Harris and get any information from Breitbart? You have to Google Breitbart to even know they are on the internet. Sean Hannity is a commentator and is allowed to give his thoughts on politics. Why did you not mention Shepherd Smith, Jim Acosta, Rachel Maddow, Joe Scarborough and Mika, & Anderson Cooper, they do the same thing. Though Jim Acosta is really supposed to be a journalist.

          Surly you watched the town hall meetings on tv that they had because Biden was afraid to get on the same stage with Trump. I watched both of them. What I saw was a belligerent news person rudely asking questions that the President had answered before, and I have heard him answer the questions. She rudely interrupted him over and over and over. It was a sad commentary on the rudeness of people and how they think others can be treated, and it doesn’t matter if you agree with them or not. Ask a question and get on with it. I watched the first town hall question and answer program the president agreed to with George Stephanopoulos. The questions were tough, but the rudeness was uncalled for. Biden rarely gets the hardball questions, and when he does, he gets flustered and can’t answer. His standard “if you don’t vote for me, you ain’t black” or “come on man”. Harris is a different story, she tells a fake story about Abraham Lincoln to avoid answering or she giggles and gives you that look. I wonder if that is the same look she gave Willie Brown when he gave her two great jobs that helped get her started on her political journey. I wonder how Mrs. Brown felt about her husband dating a political climber. Ask people from CA what they think about her. Her “Excuse me, I’m speaking,” has already worn real thin with me.

          So, please tell don’t me your BS about truth and untruth. I see the difference. BTW, Phil, I don’t smoke anything, period. You, though, need to stop drinking the poison kool-aid the Sociocrats are serving. You do know that should Joe win, he will be out soon after. What do you think Nancy was talking about when she said they should be there tomorrow to talk about #25, and it wasn’t about Trump. It was about Biden, so they can prove he is not mentally fit to be president if he is elected. He will be gone, not long after moving into the White House. Harris will be president, a socialist president who will change this country, and Nancy will finally achieve her dream. She will be the Vice President of the USA. Except it won’t be the USA any longer. We will be a socialist country, poor, what you earn will be divided among all the illegals they let across the border. When they let them across the border, basically your vote won’t count any longer, because they will outnumber you. Oh wait, you voted for the Biden/Harris ticket, so you will get just what you wanted, or thought you wanted. You should really know what this election means. Bernie and his gang want to change this country, and they will do their best to do exactly that if Biden is elected. But then, of course you don’t believe it. I pity you and those like you and what y’all are going to do to this great nation.

          • It was a great Nation before 2016 but it is a lost hell hole. Everybody got opinions about liberals, conservatives and independents and nobody can actually see what is really going on. The one thing I will leave you with, 2020 will go down in the history books and none of us with all our bias opinions will matter because we will never be satisfied.

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