The Corner

Politics & Policy

More Internet Censorship

PayPal this week banned at least 34 organizations for promoting “hate, violence or racial intolerance,” including Richard Spencer’s group and others apparently involved in the Charlottesville riot. PayPal’s announcement mentions “KKK, white supremacist groups or Nazi groups” that have violated its acceptable use policy.

It’s a private company (that’s not yet regulated as a utility) so it can do as it pleases, and the Nazi/Klan creeps certainly aren’t going to evoke any sympathy. But as someone who’s been at the receiving end of “hate group” smears, it would be good to know how such decisions are made. PayPal’s announcement notes that “our highly trained team of experts addresses each case individually” – highly trained in what? Sniffing out heresy? (No one expects the PayPal Inquisition!) When PayPal goes beyond the objective standard of banning activity prohibited by law to banning those it simply doesn’t like (however loathsome they might be), all dissenters are vulnerable.

PayPal’s highly trained experts haven’t yet targeted my organization, but Twitter has, albeit in a small way so far. You can pay them to promote a tweet that’s already been posted, as a form of advertising, and here are three that we submitted for promotion that were rejected:

As Prince wrote in a blog post on the incident, “Without a clear framework as a guide for content regulation, a small number of companies will largely determine what can and cannot be online.”

The internet is now a utility more important than phones or cable TV. If people can be denied access to it based on the content of their ideas and speech (rather than specific, illegal acts), why not make phone service contingent on your political views? Or mail delivery? Garbage pickup? Electric power? Water and sewer? (I hope I’m not giving the SPLC’s brownshirts any ideas.)

Mark Krikorian, a nationally recognized expert on immigration issues, has served as Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) since 1995.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

O’Rourke’s America

With apologies to Margaret Atwood and a thousand other dystopian novelists, we do not have to theorize about what an American police state would look like, because we know what it looks like: the airport, that familiar totalitarian environment where Americans are disarmed, stripped of their privacy, divested of ... Read More
World

Kurdish, Syrian, and Turkish Ironies

Outrage met Donald Trump’s supposedly rash decision to pull back U.S. troops from possible confrontational zones between our Kurdish friends in Syria and Recep Erdogan’s expeditionary forces. Turkey claims that it will punish the Syrian Kurds for a variety of supposed provocations, including aiding and ... Read More
Sports

LeBron James Looks Like a Fraud

So, LeBron James claimed that Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey was simply “misinformed or not really educated on the situation” when he tweeted his support for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. “I don’t want to get into a feud with Daryl Morey, but I believe he wasn’t educated on the situation at ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Hey, Good for You, Chelsea Clinton

Chelsea Clinton declares on The View that she’s not considering running for Congress. Throughout the run-up to the 2016 election, I was a pretty dyspeptic critic of Chelsea Clinton -- from her $1,083-per-minute speaking gig at a university, to her selection to give the keynote address at SXSW, to her awards ... Read More