A 16 year old Canadian girl, who’s privacy was respected by the left wing Vox website admitted that she went out of her way to get Milo Yiannopoulos deplatformed.
Milo was really the first test case, the canary in the coal mine if you will, as to whether deplatforming could be a valid and legal tactic for silencing conservative voices. The courts offered no protection to Milo, as social media is a “private enterprise” despite the same court systems upholding the 1st Amendment Rights of journalists to have unfettered access to Donald Trump’s twitter feed, and directing him to unblock those journalists he blocked (because in this case the courts decided that as a public figure Donald Trump turned Twitter into a forum for public discourse).
Of course Twitter eventually deplatformed Trump for what it claimed was a Terms of Service violation, which used the wording “we interpret this as” many times in their explanation. Since the words themselves did not incite a riot, or inspire violence, Twitter had to interpret those words as some sort of conspiratorial conservative code to Trumps followers…
Now even Ron Paul has been suspended, without ever receiving a warning or previous suspension. https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2021/jan/11/ron-paul-baffled-facebook-suspension-conservative-/
This was all done with in concert with Apple, Google, and Amazon removing the Parler app from official distribution and then terminating services from Amazon Web Services. https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/09/tech/parler-suspended-apple-app-store/index.html
But hey, at least there’s Gab, right? Well not so much. Even Microsoft used it’s position as the Azure web services provider to compel Gab to limit free speech, and that was over two years ago now. https://www.neowin.net/news/microsoft-moderates-gab-content-with-site-takedown-threat/
Now, the “Section 230” protections are what keep WordPress from being sued if my words here on this blog incite a riot or inspire crime anywhere in the world. Overall Section 230 is a good thing, https://www.eff.org/issues/cda230 But the justification that Apple used to remove Parler from the app store was that it didn’t moderate content enough, despite having no legal requirement to do so, and despite Apple spending a tidy sum on their legal defense of Section 230 protections for themselves.
And yes, Antifa International is still approved and coordinating protests and deliberate confrontations with conservatives on Twitter. Inciting a riot is ok if you are one of the acceptable leftist persuasion.
I don’t have a solution, the courts have inconsistently addressed this issue, sidestepping the issue of whether you can refuse service for religious with “Masterpiece Cakes” (long story short, the baker won in court, but lost his business due to his religious principles). The courts also extended 1st Amendment “Freedom of the Press” protections to journalists on Twitter forcing Trump to unblock their accounts. So we live in this weird world where denying someone the right to express themselves on a platform is legal, but denying someone the ability to heckle you on the same platform is illegal.
I disagreed with Trump’s desire to get rid of Section 230 protections for social media, but since they are acting in a capricious manner, and causing harm to American citizens through their one sided enforcement of their terms of service, I can see his point. And don’t get me wrong, I am not a fan of Trump (not really a fan of anyone in politics) but he is the scoundrel who pushes the envelope that is going to get us the case law that either protects free speech, or kills it. This is a “People Vs. Larry Flint” level of importance, and I’m quite sure that the traditional defenders of free speech hate Trump so much that they’ll cut out their tongue to spite their face, believing that since they are on the right side of history and none of the rules are going to apply to them. After all, when the Leftists rioted at Trumps inauguration 4 years ago, the government eventually just gave up on prosecution because they all refused to rat on each other, and other leftists kept paying their legal fees. I wonder when the right will copy that tactic.