Spy Agencies Should Hate Censorship
Censorship on almost every single social media platform is becoming the new normal in America. Twitter, Youtube, Facebook and Google are cutting out voices with dissenting opinions and views on a basis that has become so regular it is barely becoming a topic of discussion anymore. Problems of censorship go further than being a problem for individuals, it should be a problem for America's spy agencies, like the CIA and NSA.
Facebook and Twitter became treasure troves of information for anyone who wanted to know anything about anyone. This happened once they surpassed 500 million users worldwide and became more valuable as they grew. The biggest of them all, Facebook, is worth more than its market valuation in information—with over 2 billion active users worldwide. The information that Mark Zuckerberg has become privy to is amazing. Knowing what people around the world are eating for lunch, where they're vacationing, what they're planning, who they know and what their political views are is a of utmost value and importance to any clinical psychologist, mass psychologist, corporation and international agency tasked with social engineering. More importantly, it is of utmost value to America's national security agencies.
In January of last year, it was reported that CIA director, Mike Pompeo, wanted to track the Facebook usage of Americans:
If your Facebook profile is public, it'll be an open invitation for the CIA.
The Central Intelligence Agency is obligated to follow up on information that's on a public website, including on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages, Mike Pompeo, Trump's pick for the next CIA boss, said during his confirmation hearing Thursday.
"If someone is out there on their Facebook, talking about an attack or plotting an attack against America, I think you would find the director of the CIA grossly negligent if they didn't pursue that information," Pompeo said.
During the hearing, lawmakers hit the Republican congressman from Kansas on privacy issues. In 2015, Pompeo pushed to give mass surveillance tools back to the National Security Agency through the "Liberty Through Strength Act II." The NSA's mass data surveillance program had been defanged after whistle-blower Edward Snowden's revelations.
If you're an employee of the CIA or NSA tasked with protecting national security, this kind of social media data is important and valuable. This obviously did not prove to be the case in the latest Florida school shooting, but otherwise it would be true. The information contained in the Facebook and Twitter matrix can not only stop terror attacks and mass murder, it can give America's agencies insight into what Americans are thinking. This is not something most of us would want, but in the case of censorship, America's spy and national security agencies could be the saving grace for free speech—if they want to be.
Twitter has released a plan to enforce more “constructive conversations” and “civility” on its platform. This is happening while Twitter cracks down on conservative and right-leaning users while evidently ignoring extremist left-wing views that call for violence against Donald Trump and his supporters. Following the Florida school shooting, Twitter was accused of promoting and “bumping up” the Twitter accounts of anti-gun students from Stoneman Douglas High School, whilst suppressing pro-NRA supporters. Within days, David Hogg gained more that 100,000 followers and was given a blue checkmark of validation.
In January, Project Veritas caught footage of Twitter employees admitting to shadow-banning and muting certain users on the platform. The company's tech team boasted about silencing certain users without their knowledge, admitting that many users are having their tweets suppressed without even realizing it. “No one is seeing their tweets,” said one Twitter employee, proudly.
Facebook has been accused of similar tactics, but Facebook has been an evidently more useful and transparent platform for publishers like Poletical.
Youtube, on the other hand, has recently demonetized many users and increased the qualifications for monetization to 4000 hours of views and 1000 subscribers. Before that, Youtube regularly put controversial and right-leaning videos into what it calls “limited status” as well as demonetized them. Infamous Infowars personality, Paul Joseph Watson, claims that 90% of his videos are demonetized or censored, while Canadian professor, Jordan Peterson, and Sargon Of Akkad have both had their Google accounts either suspended or temporarily terminated at some point.
For those who do not know, Google is Youtube's parent company.
When it comes to censorship, the NSA and CIA should be opposed. Shutting down the voices of ordinary Americans means that these spy agencies have less access to the thought processes and intentions of citizens. Letting Americans, and people around the the world, express their thoughts and intentions should be a valuable asset for spy agencies, not just in America, but abroad. Shutting down free expression is not a good strategy for anyone, but the most affected by censorship would be the organizations and corporations which could use the information freely obtained on social platforms as valuable assets.
If America's spy agencies value the information that can be so freely harvested on Twitter, Facebook and Youtube, they could step forward as the saviors of free speech in America and around the world. The rest of us, who have no intention of breaking the law, should have nothing to worry about.