Recently reporter Tracy Beanz posted a video in which she notified her followers that she had been banned from Facebook and Twitter, one of many thousands of people de-platformed this month for their political views. The video has certain artistry to it, though unintentional. The video appears to have been shot in near darkness, explained away by Beanz as the best quality video she could manage at the time, but the near-darkness neatly puts the viewer in mind of jail cells and attics. Although Beanz’ voice is agitated throughout the video, it breaks just once, the emotion too much to control. While running through a list of small out-of-the-way platforms where she can still be found, she mentions the name she posts under, and her voice breaks on the simply factual line, “Same thing. On every platform, it’s the same exact thing”. While she only meant that she uses her own name across all platforms – “Same thing. On every platform, it’s the exact same thing.” — the line, taken on its own, out of context, seems to have another meaning at this historic time. The shakily spoken line seems to encapsulate the frustration of the times and a realization many are now having that every door that can be shut by the tech giants are being shut.
It would be nice to believe that some venerated organization devoted to free speech issues, or benefiting from a stance of supporting free speech, might publicly denounce the cross-platform banning of such large numbers of voices. Speaking as a librarian, however, I can tell you that the American Library Association checked out a long while ago on free speech issues, and when authoritarian censorship comes to town, they will be no help.