Nevertheless, it is a bit disconcerting to see National politicians Simon Bridges and former Northland MP Matt King join a tiresome katzenjammer choir complaining that right-wing views are somehow "cancelled" by tech companies.
Their irony-free, contorted thinking is painful to behold. Here we have two right-wingers expressing their views on social media because… umm, they weren't cancelled or suppressed?
They're popular opinions though. While King for example has just over 1200 followers, his tweet lamenting the censorship of right-wing views has received over 160 likes; Bridges with over 22,000 followers has had almost 700 like-clicks for a tweet expressing a similar opinion.
It's not clear what benefit being exposed to "views'' setting out that the American presidential election was stolen by a globalist cabal of Satanic paedophiles who keep children in underground tunnels to drink their blood, and which Trump will arrest and execute en masse, brings to anyone. That could be because they're simply not true.
So we are now living in a country where right wing views are being censored and cancelled, where money printing is rampant and every social and economic indicator is going in the wrong direction I think we are in for some very troubled times ahead.— Matt King (@MattKingMP) January 18, 2021
On the contrary, Trump getting muted everywhere, ditto the local and very aggressive QAnon et al accounts being suspended, has been a bliss on social media.
No more incoherent craziness and untruths from Trump that's echoed by thousands of other accounts - some of which are run by humans and not bots - really cleaned the air on social media. Long in coming, it's censorship by private companies which, in the spirit of capitalism, are free to decide what goes on their sites. And, it has worked beautifully, for now at least.
A recent US study by research company Zignal Labs reckons there's much less disinformation being peddled on multiple social media sites after Trump was permanently muted on Twitter. Election fraud mentions dropped by three-quarters, and the #hashtags used to amplify the bogus messages are down by 95 per cent.
The suspension of NZ Twitter accounts is an overreaction. This isn’t about whether anyone agrees with what any user was saying. It’s about freedom of speech. And pushing views underground is more dangerous than letting them be out in the open for all to see.— Simon Bridges (@simonjbridges) January 13, 2021
Is there a problem with that then? Pushing the "views" that suspended New Zealand accounts hold underground is more dangerous than letting them out in the open for all to see, Bridges states.
Is it though? Maybe, but not quite the way Bridges imagines. Rather, it's the dim extremists who believe in conspiracy theories and lies and who are so easily led.
Despite their offensive and horrible "views", these are still people who are known by or even related to others who are finding the radicalisation incomprehensible, difficult and worrying to deal with.
Many conspiracy theorists flocked to Parler after being booted off Twitter and Facebook.
Soon after, Parler then got "cancelled" by Apple, Google and Amazon Web Services which did not want to host their app and site anymore.
The site is now coming back online.
Just the website as of yet, but guess where Parler's gone? To a Russian web hosting company called DDoS-Guard.
Russian disinformation actors have been extraordinarily successful on social media run by Western tech companies. They've influenced millions of people to oppose vaccinations, to believe that Covid-19 is a hoax spread by 5G mobile networks, and other insidious and utterly baseless nonsense.
Without that groundwork, it's doubtful that Trump would've been able to incite a mob of his followers to attack the Capitol.
Again without a trace of irony, Parler founder John Matze says on the holding page for the site that "we believe privacy is paramount and free speech essential". Good luck with that in Russia which comes in at 149 of 180 countries for media freedom.
There's also the small matter of joining a site on a network that hosts what security journalist Brian Krebs noted are "a vast number of phishing sites and domains tied to cybercrime services or forums".
DDoS-Guard also hosted the site for Hamas, which the US has declared a "Specially Designated Global Terrorist" organisation that no American person or entity must do business with. Those who do are liable to face criminal prosecution.
Anyone sticking their head into a digital hornets' nest like that needs to understand what they're letting themselves in upon.
What makes the whole thing so utterly tragic is that there is no freedom of speech issue here. Instead it's cynical politicians who have seen the power of social media and don't want that threatened. Nothing new perhaps, but enjoy the peace on social media while it lasts.