The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Tech Platform Censorship & The Great QAnon Facebook Purge

So, Facebook has cracked down on QAnon, removing essentially all QAnon pages and groups.


Obviously QAnon is bunk. As I noted earlier it’s right in the broad sense: yes, we are ruled by pedophiles as any casual acquaintance with the Epstein case will tell you, no, Trump is not at war with them except in the sense that yeah, he’s opposed by some elite factions and some of them will be pedos. Of course, many people who support Trump are probably pedos. And it’s laughably wrong in specifics.

At one time the tech platforms mostly didn’t want to do censorship and content moderation. Of course, their algos mean they do: and there’s plenty of evidence that YouTube, for example, pushes a lot of right wing content hard, but they did it for greed, not out of any sense of political noblesse oblige or civic responsibility. Facebook played a role in at least one ethnic cleansing.

But really it was the hysteria about a possible Russian role in the 2016 election that started the censorship ball rolling.

It started with Google, who changed their algorithms. Strangely, that algorithm change hit the left much harder than the right.

(I actually noticed it myself, pages that had been on the first page of search results, like my ethics vs. morality article dropped off and never returned.)

So, you’re left wing and you hate the right (understandable) and you want them censored.

The problem is simple: once censorship gets going it doesn’t just stay with the people you want hit. Everyone who doesn’t have the power to protect themselves gets censored, and, children, people in power hate the left FAR more than the right. They can live with Fascism, authoritarianism and so on. Pinochet, Hitler, Mussolini, whoever—they were and are all good to corporations and rich people. They may be declasse and embarassing, but they don’t threaten most of the people with power or wealth. Left wingers, well, they might actually tax rich people and if you remember Bill Gates squeals during the primary at the idea of a wealth tax, well, you know that even “good” billionaires hate left wingers.

So, censorship is on the loose, the tech platforms are purging and maybe you’re happy.

But remember, it never stops with the people you hate.

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Open Thread


  1. Anon

    Qanon is a LARP started by some grotty South African incel and then taken over by a pornographer who lives in the Philippines. We don\’t take D&D seriously as a culture, and Q should be no different.

  2. Willy

    I thought corporations were dictatorships? …or within their ranks, at least something salutey authoritarian just like the military. No shirt, no shoes, no Qanon… and your service gets dishonorably discharged. Corporate libertarians should be pleased.

  3. Dan Lynch

    Setting aside the public vs. private issue, the bar for censorship should be extremely high. I support censoring content that contains erotic child pornography or torturing kittens, but I do not support censoring people for political speech.

    In the case of harmful misinformation, like “Covid-19 is less lethal than the flu” or “global warming is a liberal myth”, I suggest that rather than take down the content, the host should reply to it and label it as false information. Even then, the bar should be high, and don’t try to correct every post about every issue. Stick to a few issues that are particularly dangerous and pervasive.

    I myself have been censored and suspended on FB repeatedly, usually for posting photos of massacres like Wounded Knee, My Lai, etc..

    A couple of times FB labeled my posts as false information, and it turned out FB was correct and I was wrong. I don’t have a problem with that sort of editing and flagging, though it could easily be abused. But in those instances, all that FB needed to do was post a comment explaining why I was wrong, and then I would have voluntarily deleted the misinformation. Of course not everyone is willing to admit they are wrong like I am.

  4. Joseph

    I’m all for censorship in this case, because it forces the big monopolistic platforms into debating how much public utility they really have. For instance, if they are absolutely necessary public spaces, they shouldn’t be run by private anything, and if they’re just private platforms, they should be allowed to do what they want, including censoring whoever or whatever they want.

    They don’t get to be both.

  5. Ché Pasa

    Despite appearances, Facebook and Google and so forth are not The Government, and regardless of what we think of them and cries of censorship!!!1, they and all their offshoots and variations have the right and authority to “curate” and “censor” anything they want any way they want. No surprise that they and many other platforms do so by skewing rightist/libertarian because that’s the ideology of their owners and many of their workers. They have no obligation not to do so, and the world doesn’t end because they follow their bliss, whatever it may be. Banning Q-whatever does not extinguish it.

    For our part, it seems self-evident that part of the answer is not to use Google or Facebook and their many offshoots. Just don’t. No one has to. And the fewer who do, the less power they have. We’ve been saying this for many years. We don’t have to watch cable teevee “news” either. When it’s clear that these things are more destructive than constructive then we must disconnect from them. But that’s up to us.

    Back in the Occupy era, it was clear that the local and later coordinated authorities were using postings on Facebook and Twitter among other means to track and crack down on individuals and occupations around the country and the world and many of us were saying “stop using these platforms!” Unfortunately we’re seeing the same thing happening with the BLM movement and the many other protest movements around the country and the world. They can’t imagine not using those specific platforms despite the well-known risk. Or let’s say their public face can’t imagine it.

    As for Q-whatever, it’s not going away. It will continue to thrive underground, it might even strengthen.

  6. someofparts

    Actually, private corporations increasingly are the government.

  7. lindaj

    \”Of course, many people who support Trump are probably pedos.\” That\’s a bit casual and lacking evidence. I quit reading there.

  8. Ché Pasa

    Actually they aren’t.

    Some would like to be and they often act like they are. And they have bought numerous politicians, scholars, and judicial activists whose actions are on behalf of the corporate (and tech) sector, but they do not yet rule directly.

    But the point is that tech platform censorship and the Q-something “purge” are not legal acts of censorship, regardless of whether government favors or opposes such action. If as many advocate, the platforms become public utilities, directly or indirectly owned and operated by government or quasi-government agencies, then a truly public debate could theoretically be had on what can be allowed and what should be forbidden on these platforms. So long as they are in private hands and are essentially unregulated, though, no. They’ll do what they will, and do more of it if it makes money.

  9. Willy

    Facebook will be seen as being in league with pedophiliac Satanists, by the idiot crazies.

    The truth is that corporations don’t like “hate speech” because it can result in boycotts. IMO, it’d be nice if that extended to idiot speech and crazy talk, but those things are half the fun and don’t usually result in boycotts.

    They were right to bring in Zuckerberg for an attitude adjustment after Cambridge Analytica. Debates over the scope and limits of concentrated power, government or corporate or both in concert, is a good thing.

  10. bruce wilder

    I>They were right to bring in Zuckerberg for an attitude adjustment after Cambridge Analytica. Debates over the scope and limits of concentrated power, government or corporate or both in concert, is a good thing.

    Debates? They?

    Meanwhile They persecute Julian Assange unmercifully.

    The NY Times and the Guardian and Le Monde and Der Spiegel don’t care, because they think they are exempt, being teamplayers and all.

  11. js

    Aren’t facebook algorithms already a form of censorship?

  12. Willy

    Okay So maybe it was just a ‘show debate’. Better than nothing. Those people got more important things to do, especially when it’s one damned scandal after another. While Assange disappears down one memory hole, Zuckerberg takes advantage of his hole by changing little since CA and… look over there! Qanon!

  13. QAnon is trailer park Scientology. At best.

    Could just be an Internet prank.

  14. Plague Species

    Anon, I don’t buy your explanation of what QAnon is. It’s much more than that. We do need to know exactly who and what is behind QAnon, but that will never happen. We live in an age, and maybe it was always this way to a certain extent, where things are what people want them to be rather than what they truly are.

    Both Noor bin Laden and Donald Trump are big fans of QAnon and QAnon reciprocates the love. The feeling is mutual.

    The irony is, QAnon claims that the Dems and the Deep State and the NeoLiberals are pedophiles, and perhaps a not insignificant number of them are, but then QAnon makes exceptions with their pedophile charges. Very lawlerly like of them.

    For example, being huge supporters of Donald Trump and claiming he is fighting the good fight for their Christian deity, they support Donald Trump surrounding himself with Catholics. Barr is Catholic. Gorsuch was raised Catholic. Kavanaugh is Catholic. Amy Conan O’Brien is Catholic. Catholicism, if nothing else, is a pedophile cult. Their is a bevy of proof to support this claim. Donald Trump is chummy and in bed with the Catholic pedophiles (redundant, I know) just as he was best friends with the pedophiles Maxwell and Epstein. Considering QAnon’s support of Donald Trump and considering Donald Trump is a pedophile by virtue of who you hang with is who you are just as surely as what you eat is what you are, it stands to reason QAnon is also yet another pedophile cult.

    My bet on QAnon? Israeli intelligence. It’s Nazi mind-bending stuff. The Israelis learned well from Nazi overlords. They were inspired by such mindf*ckery. So much so, they adopted it as a tool in their clandestine toolbox.

  15. Jan Wiklund

    It’s somewhat ironic that these people think more or less as the Tiv people in Nigeria think (or thought, they may have changed since the Bohannans made their famous ethnographical work on them in the 1950s). They believe(d) that influential people were influential because they were cannibals and ate human flesh.

    They could simply not imagine that their own society made certain people more influential than others. That their own societal rules were in some way faulty. It had to be that the influential people were in some way “evil”.

    In other words, they were exactly as self-righteous as the American Right, with exactly the same result.

  16. Watt4Bob

    “QAnon is trailer park Scientology.”

    Thanks Ten Bears,

    …that’s a good one, I’m gonna steal it!

  17. John

    Although not perfect, the Fairness Doctrine instituted by the FCC in 1949 went a long way to address this issue. It was an attempt to prevent a Goebbles type degeneration of media such as happened in Germany in the 1930’s. Not censorship per se, but forcing a variety of views to be presented on controversial topics on any media platform. It could be adapted to the internet. Reagan’s FCC got rid of it in 1987. Of course. And wingnit talk radio and the Murdich money grubbers arise immediately.

  18. Hugh

    I guess what I’m wondering about is why Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg are getting rid of QAnon from Facebook and why now. QAnon has been around for 3 years. Did their pony express just arrive and let them know? For a tech company you would think they would be first off the block not the last. Do Z & S think that Trump is on his way out? Do they think it is time for a few belated gestures to keep the Congressional tech anti-trust investigations off their back? The one thing we can be sure of is they aren’t doing any of this because they think it is the right thing to do.

  19. Willy

    @ “catholics”

    I know a lot of Catholics who despise their own pope. I just had one tell me he’d rather “trust the truth’” (political conservatism) than “a liberal sounding” pope even if the pope backs up his social commentary with quotes from scripture. He didn’t bother to explain his rationale, preferring to run away instead.

    I try to explain to the faithful that their faith is dying off because half of our youth have no interest in the mental hypocrisy they observe, and are seeking other spiritual avenues which make more sense to them. “Absolutely not!” the faithful say. They’d rather blame some external Satan-inspired entity than do any soul searching.

    Meanwhile the saner elders amongst them either quietly leave, take advantage of the remaining gullible, or suffer in silence, condensing the faithful into an increasingly cultish nutball, which outshouts and outmobs their “enemy” brethren from other churches.

    I come from a religious family. It’s very sad to observe.

    Maybe this is what happened to the Roman deities. Maybe there’ll be another Constantine who makes some brave new religion the new state religion. Chomsky claimed that Constantine converted Christianity from Jesus’ religion for the powerless meek, into his own religion for the rich which has been effectively managing the meek ever since. I don’t know, but I did have a skilled dirty politician tell me that Christians were his favorite tools, very easy to manipulate, because they’re so oblivious to and forgiving of, their own base impulses. Not to mention that Jesus would never lead them astray, not after all that praying. But he told me in private, of course.

  20. Ten Bears

    Don’t over think it Hugh, the rats know.

    I stole from somewhere else, Bob, The Way of it.

  21. Anon

    Plague Species, you\’re wrong. It\’s exactly what I said it is. If you don\’t want to accept that, fine. That\’s your problem. It\’s a goofy game for people who have nothing else in their lives, and its run by two dudes in the Philippines. I\’m not making this shit up.

  22. S Brennan

    “Despite appearances, Facebook and Google and so forth are not The Government [they] and all their offshoots and variations have the right and authority to “curate” and “censor” anything they want any way they want.” – Ché

    Ché has been indoctrinated well. Ché has internalized the satanic verses of that most heavily televised cantor, Milton Friedman before the shriveled soul made it’s way back to it’s dark master. The media during the years of FDRism [1932-1978] was regulated to no ill effect. Yes, girls couldn’t show their navel, but men bled in combat. No, the blood wasn’t red, it just a darker shade of grey, but that did not bleach out the pain and suffering exposed by the unblinking eye of the camera. TV stations could editorialize, so long as they did it openly, but equal time rebuttal was required. Media until 1986 had it’s faults but nothing like the non-stop garbage of today. Just like NBC and CBS, circa 1964, Google owes it’s existence to investments made by the American Taxpayer, with government privilege comes duty. Milton Friedman’s satanic verses are not Gospel to those who grew up under FDRism [1932-1978].

  23. Ché Pasa

    Nah, I’m just regurgitating what every single internet platform that allows communication from and among the unwashed has been saying nonstop since forevah. Restricting free speech is only illegal (sometimes) when Government does it. Private businesses (such as Zuckerberg’s little folly) can do what they want, censoring and banning and otherwise limiting the Free Speech of participants any way they want whenever they want. Pure libertarian liberty to do as they wilt. Milton Friedman had nothing to do with it. Tech geniuses made these rules and have enforced them throughout the w. w. w. and there’s nothing the unwashed can do about it.

    So if whatever-borg wants to ban say Q-nonsense or jigger algorithms to shadow ban lefty sites, they can do it. If they want to host porn, they can do it — but they can also ban it. They can promote or seek to undermine whatever mind-fuckery they want. We can go on and on about supposed freedom, and how insistent tech giants and small fry have long been that they have the absolute right to suppress free speech as they see fit.

    This is the world they demanded and made. Now that some of the biggies are pulling the plug on
    -Q- we’re supposed to fret over it, I don’t know why. We’ve been conditioned to believe, have we not, that anything they want to do (that’s legal) they can. And if it isn’t legal, they can have the law changed. Or just ignore it.

  24. bruce wilder

    Ché Pasa, prophet of neofeudalism. boring and wrong

  25. Ché Pasa


    I saw that Taibbi is trying to worm his way out of this conundrum. ¨It’s more complicated,” he says, than just banning Q and the like from Facebook. And yet since the beginning of internet time, the proprietors have asserted their absolute right to do as they please, ban and promote whoever they want, and so we get to this point, as Ian is suggesting, where “you” — Bruce — or anyone, any thought or opinion, and any idea might be next.

    You would have no recourse, would you?

    The fact is, ‘neo-feudalism’ as you call it is built into the systems we use, and you (metaphorically) were banned at the outset. Just like a Black person in Justice Taney’s rendered opinion, you have no rights on the internet that a proprietor is bound to respect. Read your TOS. And I think you know that.

    The suggestion that because Big Tech works hand in glove with government (and always has; it came from government development after all) banning Q is some sort of backdoor government censorship effort which will eventually consume all dissent from the official line, is gobsmackingly obvious. Of course it is. The promise of “freedom” on the internet was always a con.

    Freedom for whom, to do what? That question is now being answered. The answer was never really in doubt, though, was it?

  26. Plague Species

    Ché, actually, if you think about it, Ian’s fine post and parable about Omelas directly applies to this discussion. The Net has long been touted, since its enception in the 60s and for the many decades since, as a way to escape Omelas and a platform that could help create a new world, a new world apart and separate from Omelas or in the least, a platform that would aid in transforming Omelas into something more positive and constructive. An evolution, if you will. It has been no such thing. Anything that springs from the loins of Omelas is Omelas. Omelas can take on many forms in containing its voluntary and involuntary constituents. Some will say that The Net, aptly named considering mu characterization of it as a further form of containment, was once a possible alternative to Omelas but I would argue, just as you have, that there was never a chance for that because The Net was developed deep in the loins of Omelas, or deep in the belly of the beast if you will.

  27. Ten Bears

    And that, Plague, takes us back to a question I raised ten years or so ago: is it a Brave New World, or 1984? Are there jack-boots at our throats, or are we willfully distracted?

    Orwell warned that we will be overcome by externally opposed oppression – the Big Brother boogieman – whereas Huxley sees that “people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.”

    Orwell feared those who would ban books; Huxley feared there would be no reason to ban books because nobody would want to read one.

    Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information and conceal the truth; Huxley feared the truth would be drown in a sea of irrelevance.

    Orwell feared we would become a captive culture; Huxley feared would become a trivial culture.

    In 1984, people are controlled by inflicting pain; in Brave New World, people are controlled by inflicting pleasure.

    Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us; Huxley feared that we will love what will ruin us.

  28. js

    Maybe Brave New World and 1984 are really the same place. It’s all the deprived rat cage, the opposite of Rat Park. How much actual pleasure does anyone really see around them? Addiction maybe. But pleasure?

  29. S Brennan

    Mr Wilder,

    Ché etc seeks to create a world that it is so dysfunctional that it collapses and then…

    And then, the desperate surviving souls will seek guidance from the greatest of internet thought leaders…which would, of course, be, Ché-or-somebody-similar…

    …and so it will come to pass that world will be inspired by the leadership of, Ché-or-somebody-similar and the dawn of new and greater enlightenment, such as the world has never seen before, will then come into being…or so the fantasy goes.

    Actually, in the real world, history is replete with the chaos of dark ages and the recovery. The recover stage is long and arduous but eventually somebody emerges, sadly, such a “pure” society is surrounded by dark, violent barberry and is “forced” to adopt cruel practices…and it goes.

    Hoping for a great collapse which would be then followed by a great enlightenment, who’s “original” structure is conceived by, [Ché-or-somebody-similar] is perhaps one of the most commonly expressed thoughts on the internet. Any person who offers a utopia that requires the complete abolition of what “is” to get to what they “envision” should be seen alongside others who have executed such “visions”, Jim Jones and Pol Pot spring to mind but, there are so many other disastrous “leaders” to choose from.

  30. different clue

    Here I am at work with 7 minutes to go before Clock In. So this comment is written without having read any previous comments. I will need a longer time block for that.

    The modern present day Left is essentially a seething fetid mass of Social Justice Safe Space Warriors and Leftard WokeNazis. Censorship is exactly in step with all their most basic Prime Directives . . . . which include Cancel Culture and De-Platforming. The modern Left hates free speech and free thinking more than anything else in the whole wide world.

    Ian Welsh is a relict survivor from an older better left which is basically extinct in today’s world.
    Censorship is bad, but private outlets get to do all the censorship they like. Their platforms are their private property.

    Ian Welsh is being far more decent than he has to be by upholding a belief and practice in Free Speech on his blog. Let us hope that trolls and sincerely nasty people can keep their nastiness below Ian Welsh’s threshold-of-bearability.

  31. DMC

    The signal remained the same. The noise went up exponentially. Consider Alex Jones, the boy who cried”false flag”. By calling everything a false flag, he calls all such into question, this even actual false flags can be dismissed as so much “foil hat” blither

  32. different clue


    Could Alex Jones have been a Deep Fake “Rebel” from the Deep State’s Department of Head-Fake Psych-Outs right from the start?

    Could Alex Jones’s secret mission have been the strategic discreditation-by-association of the whole concept of “false flag” all along?

  33. Ché Pasa

    Surveillance. Manipulation. Control. That’s what this Big Tech is all about, and that’s what it’s always been about. We knew that in the ’70s, some in the ’60s, and we know it now. The fascinating thing, from a certain standpoint, is not that Q! was banned, it was that it was so freaking easy to manipulate so many people to believe that nonsense, and to live in the game “Q” was playing with them. That was the whole raison d’etre of Q in the original Star Trek, no? He could shift his shape and make people believe and do things just like that. He did it because he could. Most were powerless to resist.

    I’m not going to worry about what is banned or censored on Faceborg or any of the other communications platforms. They are not the only way and certainly not the best way to get news and information.

    But I would like to see the nature and purpose of corporate/private enterprise be focused on public good. However that is eventually defined by the public… (oh, but here we go into another rabbit hole…;-)

  34. Ten Bears

    One’s and zeros: we don’t need a microchip when we willing carry a phone.

  35. bruce wilder

    . . . really it was the hysteria about a possible Russian role in the 2016 election that started the censorship ball rolling.

    no, not “really”

    the Russiagate hysteria was created deliberately by some of the same forces that are pushing censorship by algorithm and purge.

    QAnon was a demonstration of just how easy it is to put out completely crazy ideas in an information ecology where there are no or very few trustworthy governors committed to discriminating between fact and fiction or willing to model good judgment.

    The introduction of censorship under the guise of dealing with the more absurd consequences of a flood of disinformation should not suggest that this is not a problem needing a solution.

    Consider the role of the Steele Dossier in ginning up Russiagate. Where were the authorities willing to vet the quality of the Dossier in some reasonable time frame — three weeks instead of three years???

    Why doesn’t The Guardian pay a price for its betrayal of Assange?

    Why is Rachel Maddow or Sean Hannity “trusted” by anyone?

  36. different clue

    I think Facebook and Twitter and whomever else removed certain websites and stuff based on content as a diversionary decoy action. They hope to get people noticing censorship based on content so that those people won’t pay attention to stealth censorship based on algorithm manipulation.

    Here is an example of stealth-strangleship by algorithmic manipulation which was deemed worthy of a Business Insider article.

    This is the kind of thing which Zuckerberg hopes to keep the cameras away from by putting the spotlight on “removing Qanon content”.

    There is another even deeper problem with the Social Media sites. They are Mob Multipliers and Hate Amplifiers, quite irrespective of what mobs may be propellantised and accelerantised at any one time or another.

    One of Colonel Lang’s more liberal guest posters wrote a post about that problem. Many of the commenters seemed not to get the point. But the point was about the novel destructiveness of the platform itself.

    Here is another article in that vein, but addressed at various rage-farmers themselves rather than the particular platform they use as their petri dish. But one can put this article together with the information about the rage-amplification mob-multiplication design of Facebook, Twitter, etc. to realize what a perfect petri dish the Social Medias are for rage-farming. Here is the article.

    This is all part of what Zuckerberg want us to overlook when he performs the performative diversion of removing certain sites based on content.

    The only good Facebook is a dead Facebook. The only cure for Facebook is extermination.
    Facebook can’t be corrected. It can only either be exterminated or submitted to.

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