After Alex Jones, Paul Joseph Watson, Milo Yiannopoulos, and Laura Loomer were named “hate figures” and considered dangerous by Instagram and Facebook, Big League Politics was informed that users could still express their support for these individuals so long as they did not post videos featuring them or links to their broadcast.
Instagram user Alxthelord tested the extent of Instagram’s decision to unperson Watson, Yiannopoulos, and Loomer by posting an image featuring three photos he took with the conservative stars on his account after the ban. Within a day, his post featuring the “hate figures” was removed by Instagram, despite the platform’s statement to Big League Politics making clear this would not happen.
Big League Politics reached out to Facebook, the parent company of Instagram, for comment on Saturday night and the post was reinstated on Sunday morning. An Instagram spokesperson replied to our inquiry, stating that that the post did not violate their policies and would be restored.
View this post on Instagram
Will Facebook ban me too for posting a picture with “Dangerous” people? . #StopTheBias . 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸 #Conservative #MAGA #TrumpTrain #MakeAmericaGreatAgain #Republican #DonaldTrump #Censorship #Zuck #RegulateBigTech #Milo #FreeMilo
“But it shouldn’t have taken that much trouble to get it restored,” said Alxthelord to Big League Politics on Twitter, “Also is if it does not violate their policies then why was it deleted?”
The user had voiced his frustration and disgust with Instagram’s decision to remove his post on Twitter, where it was eventually picked up by Infowars during one of its broadcasts, and came to Big League Politics’ attention.
I posted this picture of me with PJW, Milo Yiannopoulos, and Laura Loomer on Instagram yesterday.
Instagram took it down.
It is now against their “Community Guidelines” to post pictures with people who they have labeled “Dangerous”
This is terrifying. pic.twitter.com/XYZOKKUFxH
— ALX 🇺🇸 (@alx) May 3, 2019
This would appear to be yet another case of accidental content removal that seems to exclusively impact the right.
Last week we reported that Facebook and Instagram may now ban the account of any user who posts a link or video featuring Infowars or Alex Jones, and it would seem logical that this would apply to the other banned individuals as well.
However, the Instagram post only contained images of Alxthelord posing beside the new media celebrities.
Big League Politics contacted Facebook in an attempt to gain clarification after two different media outlets published conflicting reports about the future of Infowars’ content on the big tech platform. The Verge reported that users could continue to post content and commentary complimentary toward Infowars, while The Atlantic reported that any users posting Infowars content would see it removed and possibly face a ban.
In an attempt to clarify its stance, Facebook told Big League Politics that the platform will let users make posts complimentary about Infowars or reflecting them in a positive nature, but will not allow users to post links to Infowars videos, unless they are doing so to condemn the content.
This would seem to mean that simply linking to the Infowars website is now prohibited, as virtually every article includes videos featuring Jones, and a live stream or replay of the most recent episode of “The Alex Jones Show” is featured on the sidebar of the Infowars website.
It seems as though even Facebook and Instagram employees are grappling with the intricacies of this next level of big tech censorship.
Twitter Posts Job Posting for Developing Paid Subscription Service; Will Platform Become Pay-to-Use?
Will it lead to the downfall of the platform?
Shares for Twitter’s stock surged more than 8% on Wednesday as the company posted an online job listing for a developer who would work on a new system designed as a pay-to-use platform.
The job listing advertises the opening for a project team termed “Gryphon.” The company describes the team as creating a “subscription platform” that “can be reused by other teams in the future.”
In a statement to CNN on the job listing, Twitter underplayed the announcement, stating that it was only a job listing, not a product announcement.
“We’re conducting this survey to assess the interest in a new, more enhanced version of Tweetdeck. We regularly conduct user research to gather feedback about people’s Twitter experience and to better inform our product investment decisions, and we’re exploring several ways to make Tweetdeck even more valuable for professionals.”
CEO Jack Dorsey has resisted shareholder demands to reorganize Twitter to prioritize profitability, most recently fending off a buyout attempt staged by oligarch Paul Singer challenging his leadership of the company. Dorsey kept his position of power over the company after reaching an agreement with profit-hungry shareholders, and the new development of paid subscription software could signal he intends to further satisfy them.
The company’s major investors will likely be pleased by any sign the company intends to convert its service into a pay-to-use model, evolving away from the tradition business model of micro-targeted ads towards its user base. However, a change to a subscription model could prove to be a threat to Twitter’s appeal, especially when newer free speech platforms are gunning for the platform’s user base and the company caves to the demands of censorious liberal journalists in suspending a variety of public figures deemed inconvenient to the neoliberal societal model.
Ultimately, the greed and thirst for power of the privileged elites of Silicon Valley could possibly bring about an end to their era of domination over online political speech, heralding a renaissance of the internet.
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