Google, Facebook, and Twitter are removing social media accounts of real life Iranians who are falsely dubbed as “government trolls.” Student journalist Sayed Mousavi warns “this is just the tip of an iceberg.”
Under apparent government pressure, big tech corporations in the United States have tightened their social media grip, censoring accounts that criticize the US government and its allies.
Under the spell of Russiagate hysteria promoted incessantly by the US government and corporate media, social media accounts that were identified by shady private cybersecurity firms as supposed “Russian trolls” were targeted first. Then pro-Venezuelan government websites like the state-funded media outlet TeleSUR English and even the independent Venezuela Analysis had their Facebook pages temporarily removed.
Now Silicon Valley has set its sights on Iran. While the Donald Trump administration is banning Iranians from traveling and imposing suffocating sanctions on their country, Big Tech is banning them from using social media.
Google (which owns YouTube), Facebook (which owns Instagram), and Twitter have removed hundreds of Iranian social media accounts that have been accused — without any evidence — of being linked to the government in Tehran. These suspensions were based on a questionable, thinly sourced report by the American cybersecurity firm FireEye, which is led by former US military officers.
But contrary to what numerous corporate media reports are claiming, some of the Iranian accounts being banned are in fact not operated by the government. In fact, many are average Iranians whose opinions do not fit into the tightly managed, pro-war Washington consensus.
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Ben Norton is a journalist, writer, and filmmaker. He is the assistant editor of The Grayzone, and the producer of the Moderate Rebels podcast, which he co-hosts with editor Max Blumenthal. His website is BenNorton.com and he tweets at @BenjaminNorton.