7 Things You Can’t Say On Social Media

Today’s restrictions on Internet speech make the FCC’s Carlin-era swear jar seem quaint.

WARNING: This article contains adult language that may not be suitable for younger readers. Reader discretion is advised.

Plenty of people say plenty of preposterous things online using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, iTunes, etc. without being silenced or even bleeped out:

colbert tweet 2
ceelogreen tweet
dr phil tweet

But yet, while all of the people and organizations above are still posting to their various social media accounts unencumbered, a different set of individuals has been silenced on these same platforms for saying things which broad sections of the public seem to endorse and/or to find significantly more credible.

As many will recall, George Carlin touched off a similar battle against censorship forty years ago and that fight went all the way up to the Supreme Court. Back then though, whole ideas weren’t off-limits, but rather a relatively short list of words. All of them had synonyms which were considered acceptable. And there weren’t any lifetime bans against individuals as we commonly see today. Instead, the FCC implemented what could aptly be described as a swear jar for the public airwaves.

But as civil libertarians often worry, the slope from there has indeed been slippery, and in recent years the deterioration of free expression online has rapidly accelerated for many. 

So, in honor of Mr. Carlin’s original list of the “7 words you can’t say on TV,” here, in some particular order, are 7 of the things which it now appears that you can’t say on social media along with the people who actually said them and the reprisals which they have faced as a result:

#7 – Ben Affleck “Fuck off,” Harvey Weinstein raped me by Rose McGowan

In the early moments of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, Ben Affleck took to Twitter seemingly to defend himself and tell the public that his colleague, the Hollywood producer, was an alleged sexual predator:

Ben Affleck

Affleck’s tweet above elicited an emotional reaction from actress Rose McGowan though, who is one of Weinstein’s most steadfast accusers. McGowan says that after Weinstein raped her, he then had her blacklisted from Hollywood for speaking out about it. Given this history, many people probably can understand McGowan’s first simple 2-word response to Affleck’s tweet and a more detailed message which followed shortly thereafter:

rose mcgowan

But Twitter on the other hand apparently didn’t. The company suspended McGowan’s account for 12 hours while neither Affleck’s nor Weinstein’s accounts were interrupted:

rose mcgowan 2

Prior to publication, publicists for neither McGowan nor Affleck responded to requests for comment regarding the incident.

However, astute film buffs may now have new questions about the billboard below from the 2001 Kevin Smith movie Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back, which was produced by the Weinstein Company, as well as new questions regarding some of the film’s dialogue:

McGowan’s Twitter account is @rosemcgowan. She also has a Facebook page.

For its part, Twitter claims that McGowan’s account has been locked because she had tweeted a private phone number. However, FreeMartyG was unable to find any evidence whatsoever supporting this supposition other than apparently self-serving tweets from Twitter’s security team.

#6 – Carmen Ortiz is a lying scumbag by @FreeMartyG

It would be difficult if not impossible to find anyone who is more reviled on the Internet than Carmen Ortiz — and for good reason. When she was the head federal prosecutor in Massachusetts, Ortiz and her lackey Steve Heymann used their positions as well as that of perhaps the most corrupt federal judge in Boston to drive visionary Internet innovator and pioneering activist Aaron Swartz to suicide. In apparent retaliation for Swartz’s work fighting for the freedom of information, Ortiz and Heymann threatened him with up to 35 years in prison from Federal Judge (and apparent Bush family puppet) Nathaniel Gorton.

When Ortiz’s office was told that its heavy-handed and over-the-top approach left Swartz suicidal (he had no prior criminal record), they responded by saying, “Fine, we’ll lock him up.”

But then after Swartz’s death in 2013, with Republican legislators calling oversight hearings in both the House and Senate as well as with over 61,000 signatures on a White House petition to fire her, Ortiz lied to WGBH Boston and told the public that her office had no idea that Swartz was contemplating taking his own life.

By 2016, despite being recommended by Ted Kennedy and appointed by Barack Obama as the first Latina to head the DOJ in Massachusetts, even the far-left Huffington Post seemed to have had enough of Ortiz. Pulling no punches — and in the middle of campaign season — Ryan Grim, who was then the Washington DC bureau chief for the Huffington Post, published a devastating three and a half thousand word front page article about Ortiz aptly called, “This Federal Prosecutor is Building a Career Indicting the Good Guys.” It quoted former Democratic Massachusetts AG Martha Coakley, retired Boston federal judge Nancy Gertner, and other progressive Democrats slamming Ortiz and not just for Swartz’s death.

So why would Twitter, which benefits from Swartz’s work everyday, shield Ortiz from criticism on its platform? The answer is not known with certainty, but 3 letters might have something to do with it: DOJ.

Regardless, in 2016, @FreeMartyG started tweeting about Ortiz only to find that the tweets like the below were being “shadow banned” by the company:

FMG tweet 1
FMG tweet 2

#5 – CNN is Fake News by Roger Stone

Late last year, as many felt that CNN had peaked at an MSNBC-level of partisanship, Roger Stone let loose a series of tweets which culminated with Twitter banishing him for life:

.@jaketapper must be held accountable for his lies and very severely punished #Fakenewsasswipe

— Roger Stone (@RogerJStoneJr) October 28, 2017

.@donlemon stop lying about about the Clinton’s and Uranium you ignorant lying covksucker !!!! You fake news you dumb piece of shit.

— Roger Stone (@RogerJStoneJr) October 28, 2017

.@donlemon must be confronted, humiliated, mocked and punished. Dumber than dog shit.

— Roger Stone (@RogerJStoneJr) October 28, 2017

.@donlemon you come across on tv as a dull witted arrogant partyboi. You lie constantly and no one who knows you thinks you r bright

— Roger Stone (@RogerJStoneJr) October 28, 2017

No .@CharlesBlow YOU Lie- u have no cried you fast talking arrogant fake news piece of shit !

— Roger Stone (@RogerJStoneJr) October 28, 2017

.@donlemon there r no credible “fact-checks” that clear the Clinton’s on Uranium. Even the people at CNN say u are a buffoon behind you back

— Roger Stone (@RogerJStoneJr) October 28, 2017

Bill Kristol packing on the pounds #porky #Warmonger https://t.co/kJr8e3Q07C

— Roger Stone (@RogerJStoneJr) October 28, 2017

If Carl Bernstein says something the overwhelming odds are that it’s false lied about Watergate lying lying now https://t.co/8VxXaAG4pC

— Roger Stone (@RogerJStoneJr) October 28, 2017

When AT&T aquires Time Warner the house cleaning at CNN of human excrement like @donlemon @jaketapper & dumbfuck @ananavarro will be swift

— Roger Stone (@RogerJStoneJr) October 28, 2017

However, for the most part, what Mr. Stone said above was true, either literally or figuratively. CNN had been scandalized by the Donna Brazil DNC debate incident. It also seemed that the network had knowingly run a misleading story on the baby Charlie Gard controversy. And with only a single noteworthy exception, the dubious reporting coming out of what is widely considered to be one of the Most Questionable Names In News” has only continued since then

Further, it’s pretty clear that Mr. Stone was taking poetic license for the remainder of his tweets, like when he wrote that Don Lemon, Jake Tapper, and Anna Navarro are “dumber than dog shit.”

Now, apparently sources close to Twitter reported that Mr. Stone hadn’t been banned for questioning the journalistic integrity of CNN and its staff, but rather for allegedly violating Twitter’s policies on harassment by calling on others to gang up on Mr. Lemon. This begs an important question: if CNN were to throw Don Lemon a party and invite Anderson Cooper wouldn’t that by definition be “CNN’s Lemon Party with Anderson Cooper,” and would one get banned from Twitter if they encouraged people to tweet at Cooper and Lemon to ask them this question?

Regardless, plenty of people throw insults and harass others on Twitter without having their accounts suspended. The double-standard appears especially obvious when one examines the vitriol directed at @realdonaldtrump or at @alexjones on a nearly-constant basis. 

Even more to the point about calling people excrement though, here is a list of accounts which tweeted “diaper genie” at Ivanka Trump following Michelle Wolf’s routine at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner about how the First Daughter supposedly resembles a diaper genie on the inside. Funny, prior to publication none of those accounts had been banned for life — and nor should they be if the Internet is to remain a free place.

For now, members of the public can still keep up with Roger Stone via his Facebook page which hadn’t yet been banned at the time of publication.

#4 – Punch a Nazi by Lauri Love

While suspected British hacker Lauri Love was fighting extradition to the United States, he received a lifetime Twitter ban over a tweet that he had likely sent in good humor about punching Nazis.

However Twitter claimed that Mr. Love’s tweet could potentially incite violence and that it therefore violated the platform’s policies. But, this enforcement against Mr. Love seems a bit selective and at the time he was also being openly critical of the U.S. DOJ — as well as fairly vocal about his plan to kill himself if the DOJ succeeded in extraditing him. So, it’s also possible that Twitter had some friends in high places who found Mr. Love’s account to be rather inconvenient.

Mr. Love eventually won his extradition proceedings and the UK declined to send him to America on the grounds that doing so would be oppressive given the treatment that Mr. Love would likely face as an individual on the autism spectrum in pre-trial detention in the U.S. But @LauriLoveX still is not allowed back on Twitter, despite the fact that Mr. Love’s tweet about punching Nazis probably wasn’t serious and even if it was, many people who don’t usually condone violence might find 6-9 million reasons to make an exception when it comes to punching Nazis.

After Twitter banned Mr. Love, he took to his Facebook page to say:

lauri tweet 1
lauri tweet 2

#3 – Russia didn’t do it by Julian Assange

For over a year now we’ve been hearing that Russia hacked the emails of the 2016 Clinton campaign. But, not so says the man who runs the WikiLeaks organization which actually published those emails, Julian Assange. Moreover, Mr. Assange, about whom I’ve written previously, claims to have proof that Russia wasn’t behind the hack. Other than the hacker(s) themselves, who better to know the source of the information than the guy who actually published it?

Assange also took flack for publicly asserting that Russia wasn’t behind the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skirpal and his daughter Yulia on UK soil.

After his latest statements about those allegations, Julian was not only cut off from the Internet, but he was effectively driven into solitary confinement in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. The former president of the South American nation, Rafael Correa, has spoken out on what’s been happening to the WikiLeaks founder under current Ecuadorian head of state Lenin Moreno. The latest news is that despite Assange’s status as both an Ecuadorian citizen and a recipient of political asylum, he now faces “imminent” eviction from the embassy followed by immediate arrest by British authorities. 

For now, other people appear to be manning Assange’s Twitter account, where one can stay up-to-date on his status.

#2 – The 2016 DNC primary may have been rigged by Lee Camp

Earlier in the very same episode of Lee Camp’s RT America show Redacted Tonight in which he first discussed FreeMartyG, Mr. Camp also had on Jared Beck. Now, most have probably never heard of Mr. Beck and that’s probably no accident as he and Mr. Camp discussed:

Mr. Beck is the lawyer who filed a class action lawsuit against the DNC for rigging the 2016 Democratic primary in Hillary Clinton’s favor. Never heard of that suit either? Why is that not a surprise?

Anyways, after Mr. Camp’s courageous coverage of this and various other thorns in the political sides of people with powerful allies, he was attacked and had to defend himself from The New York Times and National Public Radio, with the NYT having to make not one, but two retractions of its so-called “coverage.” He’s also had trouble with Facebook and eventually he largely gave up on the platform. 

Mr. Camp and his program can now be found on Steemit as well as Twitter

#1 – NBC is a bunch of disgusting money-grabbing ” utter, utter bastards” by Guy Adams 

When NBC engaged in what were widely-criticized as greedy shenanigans meant to extract maximum profits on the west coast from its 2012 Olympics coverage at the cost of its viewership there, The Independent‘s Los Angeles bureau chief Guy Adams took to Twitter to protest and to recruit others: 

guyadams Guy Adams
Am I alone in wondering why NBColympics think its acceptable to pretend this road race is being broadcast live?
3 days ago

guyadams Guy Adams
According to NBC’s commentary team, the Surrey countryside is full of “chateaus” #ffs!

guyadams Guy Adams
Matt Lauer: “Madagascar, a location indelibly associated with a couple of recent animated movies.” #tosspot

guyadams Guy Adams
Matt Lauer would do well to shut up, wouldn’t he?
3 days ago

guyadams Guy Adams
Techcrunch call @NBColympics total buffoons http://t.co/1DYypK0T Sums up why Gary Zenkel, moronic exec behind the time delay, shd be fired

guyadams Guy Adams
If only someone had invented a technology to help us actually see this. Oh, wait… MT @NBCOlympics: Muhammad Ali is one of the flag bearers

guyadams Guy Adams
“Sneak peak” my arse MT @NBCOlympics: Check out this sneak peek of tonight’s #OpeningCeremony http://t.co/vf7KKMf9
3 days ago

guyadams Guy Adams
Say “up yours” to @nbcolympics and watch that opening ceremony here MT @edfcarrasco: we got what the people want: http://t.co/IB5epHmx
3 days ago

guyadams Guy Adams
America’s left coast forced to watch Olympic ceremony on SIX HOUR time delay. Disgusting money-grabbing by @NBColympics http://t.co/bQxKCCdj
4 days ago

guyadams Guy Adams
I have 1000 channels on my TV. Not one will be showing the Olympics opening ceremony live. Because NBC are utter, utter bastards.
4 days ago

guyadams Guy Adams
The man responsible for NBC pretending the Olympics haven’t started yet is Gary Zenkel. Tell him what u think! Email: Gary.zenkel@nbcuni.com

However, what Mr. Adams might not have known at the time was that NBC had just inked a deal with Twitter for the social media network to provide official narration for the Olympics’ live events covered by NBC. So, when NBC complained about Mr. Adams to Twitter, its new partners seemed to be all ears. Mr. Adams’ account was suspended, presumably for tweeting the corporate (not personal) email address of the NBC executive who seemed most responsible for the controversial decision regarding NBC’s Olympics coverage — Gary Zenkel — whose email address — Gary.zenkel@nbcuni.com — follows the usual NBC pattern of first.last@nbcuni.com as Mr. Adams later noted. 

After the ban, people gathered online to support Mr. Adams, including Scottish novelist Irvine Welsh who tweeted:

irvine welsh tweet

When reached today by FreeMartyG and asked about the larger issue of social media censorship and how it has evolved since this incident with NBC, Mr. Adams had the following to say:

I think social media giants have got themselves into a terrible muddle.

Ten years ago, they were, to quote the founder of Twitter, the “free speech wing of the free speech lobby.”

In other words, they saw themselves as mediums that allowed people to say anything they wanted – whether it was true/untrue, whether it involved bullying, or was offensive, etc etc – within the law.

Not everyone liked this approach. But it at least had the advantage of being consistent.

Then (as per my little kerfuffle) Twitter changed tack, and revealed that it was actually quite keen on censoring people who happened to have annoyed their sponsors. (in my case NBC).

Today, they sometimes censor, sometimes don’t. They seem happy to allow fake news to be carried via their medium, are usually happy for people to say offensive stuff, but have an utterly schizophrenic approach to this… So they simultaneously provide a platform to holocaust deniers and misogynists, while moving heaven and earth to shut down the accounts of people who, for example, upset the transgender lobby.

I don’t know what their approach ought to be, but it’s not a problem that’s going to go away.

For now, Mr. Adams can now be found back on Twitter.  For more information on this see a follow-up piece here.

The author, Marty Gottesfeld, is an Obama-era political prisoner. To learn more about his case and/or support him go to FreeMartyG.com. You can also follow @FreeMartyG on Facebook and Twitter. This article first appeared at https://freemartyg.com/7-things-you-can-t-say-on-social-media

Update: The WhiteHouse.gov petition asking the administration to take action against online censorship has reached over 100,000 signatures. The public now awaits a response from the White House. 

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