Governments and tech giants enact censorship through laws like Canada's Online News Act, prompting Meta and Google to ban news content. The collaboration between X and the ADL illustrates the intensifying censorship landscape and how it impacts online freedoms.
Canada has enacted a new law called the Online News Act that forces social media companies to compensate domestic news organizations for content shared on their platforms. To comply with the new law, Meta banned all news — both national and international news stories — from appearing in Facebook and Instagram feeds in Canada as of June 1, 2023
Google is also blocking all Canadian news from its search, news and discover products in Canada as of June 29, 2023
According to a citizen journalist, X (formerly Twitter) and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) are working together to censor people on the platform. The ADL has also been influencing crowdfunding platforms like GoFundMe to deplatform certain users
The ADL is using artificial intelligence software to comb through podcasts and video-game streams for “extremist” keywords. This suggests ADL is surveilling the online activities of private citizens even if those activities have nothing to do with the ADL’s political and social causes
While Elon Musk has called himself a “free speech absolutist” and promised X would be a free speech platform, evidence suggests otherwise. X CEO Linda Yaccarino is the chairman of the World Economic Forum’s Taskforce on Future of Work and sits on the WEF’s Media, Entertainment and Culture Industry Governors Steering Committee. She has stated that “lawful but awful” posts will be “deamplified,” and that the company policy is one of “freedom of speech, not reach.” X is also actively recruiting applicants for various censorship positions for the upcoming election in 2024
Censorship is ramping up at a rapid clip, and much of it is clearly directed by the U.S. federal government, despite a federal judge’s order prohibiting federal agencies and officials from communicating with social media companies about content moderation.1
In recent days, several news stories have highlighted governments’ and Big Tech’s intent to increase censorship. There’s even a rumor that Google will ban independent media from its search results altogether.2 I’ve not been able to confirm this, but considering everything else going on, would anyone really be surprised if it were true?
Google, Meta Ban News in Canada
For example, Canada has enacted a new law called the Online News Act that forces social media companies to compensate domestic news organizations for content shared on their platforms. While that may not sound like censorship, it has the same effect, as social media companies are now automatically removing all news links.3
To comply with the new law, Meta banned all news — both national and international news stories — from appearing in Facebook and Instagram feeds in Canada as of June 1, 2023.4 Google is also blocking all Canadian news from its search, news and discover products in Canada as of June 29, 2023.5 In other words, if you live in Canada, you cannot get any news whatsoever unless you subscribe or go to the news source in question directly.
X/Twitter Colludes With Anti-Defamation League to Censor
In other news, X (formerly Twitter) and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) are working together to censor X users, according to citizen journalist Kyle Clifton (his X account is Kyle Undercover).6
In a series of five videos7 (which you can view here), ADL director of development Courtney Kravitz and the ADL community manager for Arizona, Sarah Kader, discuss a variety of tactics the ADL is using to suppress and censor online speech.
In video No. 1, Kravitz explains that outright bans are not ideal, as it forces people to seek out alternative platforms. Hence a "balance" must be struck between preventing them from "run[ning] to this dark place where they are just with like-minded people" and preventing them from "spewing hate and disinformation."
It appears the ADL prefers tactics like shadow-banning instead, where the reach of an account or post is severely limited. "Everyone should have freedom of speech, but not freedom of reach," Kravitz tells Kyle. Interestingly enough, Musk himself used that same line in the summer of 2022.8
In video No. 2, Kravitz admits the ADL has urged Elon Musk to not reverse the ban on certain users, and in video No. 3, Kader explains how the ADL is using novel artificial intelligence software to comb through podcasts and video-game streams for "extremist" keywords.
As noted by Life Site News,9 the admission that ADL is scouring the audio streams of online gamers "suggests ADL has ... interest in combing through the online activities of private citizens not involved in political and social causes ..." Is that really something the ADL should be doing?
In video No. 4, Kravitz admits the ADL has also been influencing crowdfunding platforms like GoFundMe to deplatform certain users, telling them that "extremists" are using their payment processing services to "fund their evil stuff."
And, in video No. 5, Kader explains how the Arizona ADL has set up a Law Enforcement Advisory Council to identify and address online "hate." The Advisory Council is made up of "local police departments and other law enforcement agencies all around the state." Some key questions here, of course, are: What is hateful speech, and who decides what words are considered hateful?
In recent years, we’ve seen how this "anti-hate" narrative has been used to justify the removal of people providing truthful information about COVID and the COVID jabs, for example. Somehow, medical information was deemed "hateful."
X Censorship Squad Are Anything but Free-Speech Minded
While Musk has called himself a "free speech absolutist" and promised X would be a free speech platform, the people he’s hired are not freedom-loving free speech advocates. Quite the contrary.
X CEO Linda Yaccarino is the chairman of the World Economic Forum’s Taskforce on Future of Work. She’s also part of the WEF’s Media, Entertainment and Culture Industry Governors Steering Committee.
Yaccarino has publicly asserted that she has autonomy from Musk.10 A more important question is, does she have autonomy from the WEF, or is she using X to further the WEF’s agenda?
Either way, Yaccarino has stated that "lawful but awful" posts will be "deamplified," read, shadow banned and demonetized.11 And, like Musk, she has stressed that the company policy is one of "freedom of speech, not reach" to protect "brand safety" for advertisers. And, indeed, under Yaccarino’s watch, big advertisers are once again returning to the platform.
X Is Gearing Up for Election Censorship
X is also actively recruiting applicants for various censorship positions,12 including an "Elections Team Lead," which flies in the face of Musk’s statement that "Free speech is essential for a functioning democracy."13
X censorship recruiter Aaron Rodericks is also working against Musk’s stated vision by promoting Kate Starbird,14 a former Twitter employee and chief architect of the 2020 election censorship campaign in which 100% of the top "repeat misinformation spreaders" were Conservatives.15
As noted in Michael Shellenberger’s testimony before the House Select Committee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government in March 2023:16
"Kate Starbird, who runs the University of Washington disinformation lab, has for years been funded primarily by U.S. government agencies to do social media narrative analytics of political groups, or insurgency movements, of interest or concern to U.S. military intelligence or diplomatic equities.
Starbird acknowledged that the censorship focus of CISA and EIP [Election Integrity Partnership] moved from ‘foreign, inauthentic’ social media users to ‘domestic, authentic’ social media users between 2016 to 2020."
Starbird is also one of the 23 members of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s (CISA) Cybersecurity Advisory Committee, launched in December 1, 2021.17
European Union Tightens Censorship Noose
In related news, X has also rolled out a new feature that allows users to report posts that violate the European Union’s new law (the Digital Services Act or DSA) against expression of political dissent, pro-Russian propaganda and other "fake news."18 The new EU law took effect August 25, 2023.19
The new EU Digital Services Act will force all major online platforms to censor medical information and election information.