And the Digital Censorship to Come
August 19, 2020
Facebook has taken down multiple Facebook pages they believe to be connected with crimethinc.com and itsgoingdown.org, among other anarchist and anti-fascist publishing projects, officially on the pretext that they “support violence.” This has nothing to do with stopping violence and everything to do with cracking down on social movements and everyday people getting organized in their communities.
Facebook has always promoted itself as seeking to assist people in creating networks to meet their needs. Facebook representatives proudly touted their role in the Egyptian uprising. Their decision to ban social movement organizations shows that they are eager to play a role in ensuring that the only forms of activism that can emerge are the ones that are beneficial to the current authorities. For months, Donald Trump has demanded this crackdown in a series of social media posts explicitly blaming anarchists and anti-fascists for the countrywide wave of protests precipitated by persistent police violence in the United States.
The definition of violence is not neutral. The way Facebook defines violence, it is legitimate for police to kill a thousand people per year while evicting, kidnapping, and imprisoning millions—it is legitimate to drop bombs on civilians, so long as the aggressor represents an official government—but it is “violence” to prevent a white supremacist from assaulting a crowd or return a tear gas canister to the police who shot it. Suppressing the voices of those who seek to protect their communities from institutional and white supremacist violence is an intentional decision to normalize violence as long as the ones employing it hold institutional power.