Online deplatforming of conservatives, nationalists and others holding right wing views is nothing new. However, to date it has mainly been confined to social media companies deleting accounts for alleged hate speech and posts that violate their so called “community standards”. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube engaging this activity has led to the emergence of social media alternatives which have a free speech philosophy such as Minds.com for Facebook, Gab.ai for Twitter and Bitchute for YouTube.
But these free speech alternatives can only stay in business through either direct investment from its founders or crowdfunding from supports. To send and receive payments online a big tech duopoly has emerged with Stripe which processes online credit card payments and PayPal which facilitates direct online money transfers through an online account made popular by eBay.
Deplatforming by big tech occurs due to a combination of lobbying and boycott threats from left and social justice warriors, pressure from government authorities and these corporations own desire to virtue signal. By deplaforming conservatives and nationalists on social media the end goal is to make sure such voices are removed online. And if these right wing voices are simply able to find another online platform and can still receive payments that needs to be put to a stop too.
The second phase of this deplatforming has now began. The first victim was Alex Jones’ Infowars as PayPal deleted their account in September in the aftermath of Infowars being deplatformed from all major social media sites. Jones is now vowing to sue PayPal.
Then things really ticked up when Twitter alternative Gab.ai were no longer able to receive payments through Stripe and Paypal after the revelation the Pittsburgh synagogue shooter had a Gab account. They even had their web hosting revoked resulting in the being offline for a week.
PayPal since then has began the process of removing the accounts of politically controversial public figures and institutions. It started with anti Islam and British values campaigner Tommy Robinson having his PayPal account deleted last Friday. Robinson has now opened up a bitcoin donate link in response.
The next day it removed PayPal accounts linked to the Proud Boys which followed their deplatforming from Facebook late last month. However to PayPal’s credit it removed PayPal accounts linked to various Antifa groups so at least it is being consistent it its new policy of not facilitating payments to fringe political groups from both the left and right. The left did not like this policy applying equally to them.
Then on Sunday Australia patriot activist Blair Cottrell had his PayPal account removed which he had been using to raise legal funds for his High Court challenge against his conviction for offending Muslims over the United Patriot Front’s mock beheading video in Bendigo in 2015.
Creator crowdfunding site Patreon has also engaged in no platform against right wing commentators. YouTuber Love Life and Anarchy, broadcaster Christopher Cantwell, Lauren Southern and Faith Goldy have had their Patreon accounts removed over the past two years. Free speech alternatives to Patreon Maker Support, Hatreon and FreeStartr have all been deplatformed from online payment processors.
BitChute just had it’s PayPal account deleted reducing its revenue raising options. Minds.com is still able to raise funds through WeFunder and Gabi.ai through crowdfunding site StartEngine. But given online payment processors entry into the deplatforming game it remains to be seen if free speech crowdfunding sites funding free speech platforms will survive in the long term.
It would appear that as long as conservative and nationalist sites are able to remain online new innovative ways will be created by big tech in partnership with big government and left to completely eradicate their presence from the internet.