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.”
By Ben Norton
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.
In November 2015, Abby Martin’s Empire Files interviewed me about the Israeli right’s consolidation of control over the country’s institutions and the predominance of racist attitudes in Jewish Israeli society. It was a fairly straightforward discussion that covered many of the same subjects I touched on in my book, Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel.
The video published by Empire Files did feature a shockingly genocidal tirade, but not from me; it concluded with footage of an Israeli soldier barking through a megaphone to the residents of the Palestinian town of Beit Ummar in the occupied West Bank: “Go home, or we will gas you until you die!”
Last week, I learned that YouTube had blocked Martin’s interview of me in 28 countries, asserting some vague legal mandate to do so. It also limited the sharing functions of the video in many others, but without explanation. Continue reading “Why Is YouTube Censoring Content Critical of Israel?”
Max Blumenthal is an award-winning journalist and the author of several books, including best-selling Republican Gomorrah, Goliath, The Fifty One Day War, and The Management of Savagery. He has produced print articles for an array of publications, many video reports, and several documentaries, including Killing Gaza. Blumenthal founded The Grayzone in 2015 to shine a journalistic light on America’s state of perpetual war and its dangerous domestic repercussions.