Announcing Winston84: A Directory to Suppressed Content
“And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed—if all records told the same tale—then the lie passed into history and became truth.”
— Winston Smith in Nineteen Eighty-Four
This week the Center for American Greatness is pleased to announce a new resource for lovers of the First Amendment. A searchable directory—Winston84—to online content that has been censored.
The phenomenon of online censorship, which has steadily increased over the past few years, hardly requires explanation. Beginning in earnest in 2016, the censorship disproportionately impacts conservatives and nationalists, who find their social media content “shadowbanned,” “deboosted,” “throttled down,” “demonetized,” or, in the ultimate (and very common) sanction, “deplatformed.” All too often, these content providers even have their websites taken down by their ISP providers, and their online fundraising accounts terminated.
For those of us paying attention, these attacks by online communications monopolies have been unrelenting, but the censorship has reached new extremes. Last week, Twitter made it impossible to post a link to an article about content potentially embarrassing to candidate Joe Biden, published by one of the oldest newspapers in America. Meanwhile, Facebook and Twitter have now censored social media accounts belonging to the Trump reelection campaign 65 times.
The recent wave of censorship goes well beyond presidential politics.
In just the last two weeks, YouTube, following similar actions by Facebook and Twitter, deleted more than 30 channels with significant audiences which they identified as posting “Qanon conspiracy theories,” along with countless smaller channels. But the real threat posed by the Q collective is not just its most sensational and controversial topics, but rather the relentless uncovering of government corruption by thousands of online sleuths. The suppression of Q is one of the most ominous displays of censorship in our time.
Over the summer, we saw blatant censorship of doctors who merely advocated more research and access to hydroxychloroquine as a preventive and early-stage treatment for COVID-19. Does HCQ work in certain cases? We still don’t know. But censoring public debate on this question is wrong.
For example, a video featuring emergency room doctors who offered a dissident opinion from mainstream media and big pharma got over 17 million views within a matter of hours, before Facebook pulled it from its platform. President Trump’s retweet of this video was taken down by Twitter, along with those of other high-profile Americans, including Donald Trump, Jr.
Describing these events, one of America’s last remaining unmuzzled mainstream dissidents, Tucker Carlson, had this to say on July 29: “While the rest of us were sleeping, or in the case of so many of our senators, taking money from Google, a tiny number of left-wing corporations took virtually complete control of all news and information in this country.”
Carlson is right, and this is a problem of historic scope. In America today, when content disappears from the major social media platforms—Facebook, Twitter, YouTube—a huge percentage of Americans, 50 percent or more, will never see it.
This is information warfare, and First Amendment advocates are in a race against evolving AI programs wielded by communications monopolies. People can share links to suppressed content. If the links are blocked, they can put the links into a different article, and share the link to that article. If deep links are banned, they can cut and paste the text into a new article. If text strings are banned, they can avoid using keywords. The truth is like water, and the internet is a river.
Very encouraging is that while alternative platforms have not yet found the audience that the monopoly platforms offer, they are growing in number and popularity. BitChute. Gab. Telegram. Minds. Parler. DLive. ThinkSpot. These and many others provide an alternative for content producers driven off of YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.
The mission of Winston84 is to collect and catalog online voices that have been deplatformed, demonetized, shadow banned, or otherwise suppressed and provide links to their platforms. We may or may not share their opinions, but we support their right to be heard. If someone is thrown off of YouTube, we track their migration. If you search for their record in Winston84, you will see links to all the known platforms where they are active. If you know of platforms where someone is listed that we have not included, let us know. If you want to recommend someone to be added to the Winston84 directory, let us know.
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