Dan Wootton: Social media companies have no right to police the internet based on their own ideology
'On Twitter it’s the despotic Taliban who are allowed a voice and Trump who remains silenced'
I always knew the moment woke San Francisco-based social media companies thought they should dictate what politicians had a voice on their platforms was the start of an epic disaster for democracy.
This week there has been one political organisation and one politician I have wanted to hear from most.
Some would argue both should be silenced forever more online.
The political organisation is the dastardly Taliban, trying to unconvincingly assure the world they’re no longer the barbaric and backward rapists, terrorists and beheaders they once were.
And the politician is Donald Trump, the former US president who made the decision to fully withdraw from Afghanistan but wasn’t given the democratic mandate to see it through and has been highly critical of Joe Biden’s delivery.
The great irony is that on Twitter it’s the despotic Taliban who are allowed that voice and Mr Trump who remains silenced.
If one decision shames the hypocritical censorship of social media titans, it’s this one.
Trump stands accused of encouraging what amounted to a violent protest in Washington DC.
The Taliban routinely murders anyone who opposes Sharia Law, chops the hands off shoplifters and keeps 12-year-old girls as sex slaves.
Twitter has said it will “remain vigilant” when it comes to policing the Taliban.
But what on earth does that mean?
And what right does Twitter have to decide that a democratically elected former president in Donald Trump must be shut down forever more because its leftie staff members don’t agree with his approach, while bad actors like the Taliban can keep on tweeting their propaganda.
At the moment, that’s in the form of Zabihullah Mujahid, who is branded on the platform as the official spokesman of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.
He currently has 320,000 followers and growing.
Meanwhile, Trump has been largely ignored by the US media, being forced to issue his response during interviews on Fox News.
Twitter and other social media companies have no right to police the internet based on their own ideology.
So if they’re going to allow the Taliban a platform to spread what is obvious misinformation, then they have absolutely no excuse not to immediately reinstate Donald Trump.
The calamity in Afghanistan shames the current US President, who has largely remained in his bunker at Camp David on holiday.
Joe Biden’s decision looks even more disastrous, given the advice he was being given in the run-up to the withdrawal.
For example, even the liberal New York Times front page today was: “Contradicting Biden, Reports Warned of Rapid Collapse.”
They reported: “Classified assessments by American spy agencies over the summer painted an increasingly grim picture of the prospect of a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan and warned of the rapid collapse of the Afghan military.
“By July many intelligence reports grew more pessimistic, questioning whether any Afghan security forces would muster serious resistance and whether the government could hold on.”
The Wall Street Journal reports that generals and diplomats delivered Biden similar warnings.
For example. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army General Mark Milley wanted Biden to keep a small force of 2,500 troops while seeking an Afghan peace agreement.
Biden ignored them all.
And, as a result, his international reputation is now in tatters.
Today’s Afghanistan debate at Westminster, which saw MPs recalled to Parliament, was a largely fruitless affair.
Lots of hand wringing, lots of what might have been, but, other than a commitment to take in 20,000 Afghan refugees, no vote, no conclusion and no reason for much hope.
I don’t want to play you the Prime Minister tonight. Or the Foreign Secretary. Or the Leader of No Opposition.
But rather Tom Tugendhat, who is the Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee but, far more importantly in the context of today’s debate, served in Afghanistan.
He gave a powerful, raw and devastating account of the fall of that country that brings a lump to the throat and leaves a feeling of despair about what’s happened this past week.
It sure feels like defeat – and that’s tough. Beautifully put.
And if you were watching the show last night you’ll know that this one hit me hard.
That bloody pingdemic has now caused a wingdemic, with Nando’s and KFC’s up and down the country being shut down because of a shortage of chicken due to too many staff at factories isolating.
I knew the consequences to national life would be severe – and now we’ve seen the proof.