The Basic Issue
The Washington Examiner now has a good story about how GooglePlus suspended our Christ Church app for Android over some of our content related to the coronavirus. It is a very good story, and you can pick up on all the salient facts there. They did leave out one thing, which is that I am a subscriber to their fine magazine, and they did get one minor thing wrong. They said that I was a firebrand, when everybody knows that I am actually a baa-lamb. Other than that, you can take that article to the bank, and I thank them heartily for running it.
The only other thing I would want to do here is anticipate an objection. If it turns out, as seems likely, that this decision was made by some faceless algorithm, then doesn’t that mean that Christ Church was not actually singled out? And if we were not singled out, doesn’t that mean it was not censorship? And doesn’t that mean that we are manufacturing a big deal out of a bunch of nothing? And that we should stop being such big babies?
No, actually. It actually means that they are censoring things on such a massive scale now that no one individual can claim he is being picked on. If they were singling us out, and removed our content because I had said, for example, that this whole thing was a summoning of Americans to repentance, that would have been obnoxious enough. But if they say that no American using their platform can talk about COVID-19 at all, and they are going to axe your content simply because COVID appears in the title of your video clip, then how is that not a much bigger offense?
How is this not like T-Mobile saying they are happy to have you as a customer, but they would like you to be aware of the fact that according to their terms of service, if you start talking about the upcoming 2020 election with your friend across the country, your call will be dropped? A lot of misinformation is flying around during the course of elections, you know. And if they did this by means of an algorithm, affecting tens of thousands of people, it would not be an even-handed lack of censorship, but rather censorship at a staggering level. The kind of censorship that they want you to get used to.
“We are not singling out Hans Schmidt because he put up a video clip defending the Jews. Our terms of service won’t let anybody defend the Jews. We don’t even know who Hans Schmidt is.”
Oh, okay! Carry on then!