The censorship train is leaving the station, and we’re all running out of time to jump off
Fresh from labelling perfectly simple math as “misinformation”, based on complete lies, Facebook is now showing our potential readers another false warning.
This time it’s claiming OffGuardian “may be associated with dangerous content”. Specifically they mean QAnon, which they describe as a “dangerous conspiracy movement” which “inspires violence” according to “experts”:
Regardless of whether or not this is an honest description of QAnon (and it’s not), we are not now, and never have been “associated” with it. In any way. At all. Ever.
In fact QAnon has been mentioned in a grand total of 7 times in the roughly 4000 articles we have published. Four times to say they were mistaken, three times simply saying they exist.
Our criticism of this decision would be the only even faintly positive mention of QAnon we have ever made:
And this – this EXACT situation – is the reason we objected. This is the reason everyone should object. Because censorship spreads. It is subtle, quiet and contagious – and it must be opposed, on principle. Always.
You should oppose censoring the malicious the vulgar or the offensive. The ignorant, the ill-informed and the insane.
Government power thrives on precedent, and once you have ceded “It’s OK to censor X“, the state will simply start changing what words mean until they can claim all their critics said X. Subtle alterations to attitudes and social norms will twitch things around until Y and Z = X.
Bespectacled fascists in inoffensive sweaters will right cloying opinion pieces about how “A, B and C are all just one step from X“. D will be an “X enabler” and E will be “dog whistling to Xs in the comment section”.
And since they can silence people, protests and defenses will never be heard. After all, “we can’t have X sympathisers on social media”.
A lot of what QAnon says is misguided or foolish. But if you let them get banned, then all Facebook has to do is say “A is associated with QAnon” and then A is gone too.
Facebook has wasted no time in illustrating our point for us.
You have to protect all speech, not because everything is worth saying, but because you need to keep the power to silence people out of the hands of those who would abuse it.
First they came for the QAnons.
Then they changed what “QAnon” meant.
And they came for the QAnons again.