Recently, I learned that a quote from Tom Paine was the excuse for Facebook and Instagram to block someone, as reported in American Military News.
What is quite strange, as the screenshot below shows, is WHAT Paine quote triggered this:
The “story was removed for false information” according to the posting. A dozen sources confirm that the problem is not misattributing the quote to Founding Father Paine, but apparently something else. When you consider all the writings by the prolific Paine that DO offend people, this seldom makes the list. And you would not expect this particular quote to tick off the Tranzi corporate entity that has renamed itself as Meta (Meta Platforms, Inc. formerly Facebook, Inc.).
Some have suggested that it is some bizarre (and poor) coding that is triggered with THAT particular phrase and name and image. But again, what makes sense? Intentional or not, the incident warns us (again!) that too much information is held hostage to the “beneficial efforts” of various media managers and outlets who claim to be working for the public interest. Freedom is much more difficult to protect and expand, in keeping with our liberty, in such a situation. As we find ourselves in, today.
If “being protected” from false information (as defined by whom?), then we have fallen into Ben Franklin’s trap:
Perhaps that quote, in the wrong presentation, might trigger similar responses from Meta and others. Especially if mentioned in connection with a few hot-button topics of 2022. Topics like:
- The 2020 elections and election integrity
- COVID-19 and the Lockdown
- COVID-19 and vaccinations
- Condemning any words or actions of anyone with a different ancestry than your own
- Condemning any words or actions of anyone who advocates/lives differently morally from you
And of course, we could easily add more related statements – regardless of who said them, or your own credentials – that might trigger such censorship.
Consider some of these from Tom Paine himself:
“Liberty is the power to do everything that does not interfere with the rights of others: thus, the exercise of the natural rights of every individual has no limits save those that assure to other members of society the enjoyment of the same rights.”
“He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.”
Of course, he is far from the only one to write or say things that irritates the woke enemies of liberty (and the algorithms they create) today:
John Adams: “I would define liberty to be a power to do as we would be done by. The definition of liberty to be the power of doing whatever the law permits, meaning the civil laws, does not seem satisfactory.”
Oh, my, that could be a quote from Harry Browne or Lew Rockwell. (LewRockwell.com was banned from Goggle Ads back in October, 2021, for no known reason. But perhaps it had something belatedly to do with an expose article published back in November 2019 – two years ago.)
Some Libertarians, I understand, have excused the likes of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter’s censorship as being an understandable response to bullying by Congress. Seriously, I doubt this – it is a tactic used all too often by the Environmental Protection Agency (especially during the Clinton and Obama regimes) of claiming that lawsuits by environist groups “forced them” to change their interpretation of laws and regulations and increase regulatory enforcement. That was Brer Rabbit screaming “don’t throw me in that briar patch!” And so is this.
I’ll leave you with one more quote from Mr. Paine: