Sponsored By

Internet censorship is accelerating

Zoom, Patreon and YouTube are joining the fun as Silicon Valley increasingly strives to control the public square.

Scott Bicheno

October 26, 2020

2 Min Read
Internet censorship is accelerating

Zoom, Patreon and YouTube are joining the fun as Silicon Valley increasingly strives to control the public square.

BuzzFeed reports that video conferencing giant Zoom has taken to censoring events due to be take place on its platform. As if to emphasis the contradictions inherent in a communications platform acting in an editorial capacity, the latest event to be deemed undesirable by Zoom was, of course, once focused on discussing Zoom censorship.

Zoom gave BuzzFeed the now-familiar boilerplate response, stressing how into freedom of speech it is but that it reserves the right to censor anyone it unilaterally decides has violated one of its unspecified policies. In other words, Zoom is into free speech unless it doesn’t like what is being said, then it’s not.

Meanwhile crowdfunding platform has done its usual thing of hanging onto the censorship coat-tails of larger silicon valley players by banning any accounts that publish content promoting the conservative QAnon narrative, on the grounds that it’s ‘disinformation’. Since Patreon reckons disinformation can cause harm, QAnon therefore violates its rules on that sort of thing. This does, of course, set the precedent for Patreon banning whoever else it wants on the same basis.

Lastly YouTube has been busy, as ever, striving to expose the contradictions presented by arbitrary censorship. After having set the QAnon precedent recently, YouTube has erased the 8-year-old channel of an anti-corruption activist for intending to sell regulated products, when in fact it appears to be a critique of Operation Warp Speed.

View post on Twitter


While much of the criticism of internet platform censorship has come from the US political right, YouTube seems determined to prove it’s nothing personal by doing the same to leftists every now and then. The latest victim is socialist publication Jacobin, as ever for unspecified reasons.

View post on Twitter

All these serva as examples of one of the greatest perils of the internet era. Nearly everything we do now, from video conferencing to fund raising to social media, is now mediated by a Silicon Valley platform. Our activities are therefore subject to the approval of unaccountable companies that are becoming increasingly more active in policing their platforms. It’s time to not just clarify, but expand the remit of Section 230.

About the Author(s)

Scott Bicheno

As the Editorial Director of Telecoms.com, Scott oversees all editorial activity on the site and also manages the Telecoms.com Intelligence arm, which focuses on analysis and bespoke content.
Scott has been covering the mobile phone and broader technology industries for over ten years. Prior to Telecoms.com Scott was the primary smartphone specialist at industry analyst Strategy Analytics’. Before that Scott was a technology journalist, covering the PC and telecoms sectors from a business perspective.
Follow him @scottbicheno

Get the latest news straight to your inbox.
Register for the Telecoms.com newsletter here.

You May Also Like