History repeats itself for two reasons: Because the citizenry fails to learn from the past, and because those in power do learn from the past — and happily use the same tactics that served other tyrants so well.
The evening of January 8 was a harrowing moment for Americans of all stripes who are invested in the preservation of our constitutional liberties.
Within a matter of hours, social media giant Twitter permanently suspended the account of the president of the United States, Donald J. Trump, along with the accounts of Michael Flynn and Sidney Powell, allies of the president who have worked to expose the nature of the voter fraud that allowed Joe Biden to win the 2020 election.
Other social platforms, such Twitch, also banned President Trump, while others began heavily censoring him, as in the case of the Chinese-owned TikTok, which declared it will remove videos by the president it believes will “incite” violence.
The indignation among Americans at the blatant partisanship that would drive these companies to censor the leader of the free world prompted many to flock to Parler, a free-speech social media app founded by conservatives such as radio show host Dan Bongino. The high traffic to Parler caused the platform to experience glitches on Friday night.
But The Powers That Be in the world of Tech were already set to pounce on hopes of a viable alternative channel of communication.
Google on Friday suddenly removed Parler from its Google Play store, the primary mechanism by which Android phone users can download new apps onto their devices. The company stated that its ban would remain in effect until and unless Parler implements “robust moderation for egregious content.”
Not one to get left behind, Apple gave Parler a 24-hour ultimatum: Create a full moderation plan within a day or get expelled from the App Store.
“We have received numerous complaints regarding objectionable content in your Parler service, accusations that the Parler app was used to plan, coordinate, and facilitate the illegal activities in Washington D.C. on January 6, 2021 that led (among other things) to loss of life, numerous injuries, and the destruction of property,” Apple wrote to Parler. “The app also appears to continue to be used to plan and facilitate yet further illegal and dangerous activities.”
Of course, how often have Facebook, Twitter, and other mainstream apps not been used to coordinate crimes? ISIS is still using Facebook, yet Apple isn’t threatening to ban it.