On Sunday, I wrote about Glenn Greenwald’s insightful discussion at his System Update news show last week about how American politicians’ threats to ban TikTok are part of the effort to gain greater government control over the social media platform that has already, Greenwald stated, “had to agree more and more” to implement United States government censorship demands.
Here is an update. TikTok has since banned Greenwald’s System Update from its social media platform.
Greenwald discussed the details in a segment from a new episode of System Update:
While Greenwald says TikTok has not disclosed the reason for the permanent ban of the page used just to post clips from System Update, the two previous times the page had been called out by TikTok for purported violations, with a video removed each time, were for content critical of the US government. Greenwald further noted, “our show is overwhelmingly a critique of the US government and the US security state and US foreign policy.”
The threat of the US government exercising censorship power through TikTok and other social media platforms is huge as Greenwald explains:
Look at how arbitrary and capricious this is. If your livelihood, if your ability to be heard, rests on big tech, you’re just in the palm of their hands. They can squeeze it at any time and it’s so Kafkaesque they don’t even give you a reason. They give you no explanation at all, let alone an opportunity to appeal and be heard. They just send you a form letter saying no you’re permanently banned and that’s going to remain that way forever.
This is why platforms like Rumble are so important, because if we had to rely on this imagine how nervous we would have to be about what YouTube allows, what Google will say we can say, what we can’t say. Every time you get a strike against you on a video you are petrified that the next one might result in the destruction of your show, the destruction of your ability to be heard. The range of views they allow is extremely narrow. And that’s why I think this fight for free speech is the most important.
The censorship is not just about limiting the reach of Greenwald’s communication. It is also about stomping on the communication of newcomers to prevent them from ever achieving a big audience or pressuring them to refrain from saying things that may draw the censor’s ire.