Thursday, January 06, 2022


This NPR story seems to exist in a world that only bears a slight resemblance to the real one:
It's been called the Great Deplatforming. In the hours and days after the U.S. Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube kicked off then-President Donald Trump as well as many involved in planning the attack.

Since then, far-right groups that had used the big tech platforms to spread lies about the 2020 U.S. presidential election, stoke conspiracy theories and call for violence have been scrambling to find new homes on the internet....

They turned to the encrypted messaging app Telegram, video streaming services DLive and Rumble, and social media sites like Parler, Gab and Gettr that claim to allow users to post things that would get them in trouble on Facebook or Twitter....

"The best research that we have suggests that deplatforming is very powerful," said Rebekah Tromble, director of the Institute for Data, Democracy and Politics at George Washington University. "It means that really prominent actors who helped stoke the Stop the Steal campaign that led to the insurrection have much less reach, get much less audience and attention. And that is very, very, very important."
Terrific! So the people who spread these lies are less visible, and now nobody believes what they were saying in the days leading up to the January 6 riot. Right?

Well, no. Just as many people now believe that Democrats stole the election as believed this a year ago.

It actually doesn't matter that "far-right groups" have been kicked off social media -- the lies they were spreading are being spread now by Fox News and high-profile Republican politicians.

The NPR story goes on to tell us:
In the meantime, far-right groups are adapting: joining protests at city council and school board meetings against vaccine and mask mandates and over how public schools teach kids about race.

This new local focus doesn't require a big network to have an impact, the Atlantic Council's [Jared] Holt said.

"If the purpose of organizing is just to get a dozen people to turn out at a local government body, then you know, they don't need a channel or an account with 100,000 followers on it. They might just need a hundred," he said.
No, they don't need an account with 100,000 followers to get people to protest the teaching of racial issues in schools because right-wingers are being stirred up on that issue by high-profile demagogues who appear regularly on Fox News and are bankrolled by right-wing billionaires.

If all you knew about these subjects was what you learned from this NPR story, you'd think these were fringe ideas spread exclusively by fringe people. But these ideas are mainstream conservatism. What difference does it make whether the Proud Boys are deplatformed when Tucker Carlson isn't?

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