This week the Center for American Greatness is pleased to announce a new resource for lovers of the First Amendment. A searchable directory—Winston84—to online content that has been censored.
The phenomenon of online censorship, which has steadily increased over the past few years, hardly requires explanation. Beginning in earnest in 2016, the censorship disproportionately impacts conservatives and nationalists, who find their social media content “shadowbanned,” “deboosted,” “throttled down,” “demonetized,” or, in the ultimate (and very common) sanction, “deplatformed.” All too often, these content providers even have their websites taken down by their ISP providers, and their online fundraising accounts terminated.
For those of us paying attention, these attacks by online communications monopolies have been unrelenting, but the censorship has reached new extremes. Last week, Twitter made it impossible to post a link to an article about content potentially embarrassing to candidate Joe Biden, published by one of the oldest newspapers in America. Meanwhile, Facebook and Twitter have now censored social media accounts belonging to the Trump reelection campaign 65 times.
The recent wave of censorship goes well beyond presidential politics.
In just the last two weeks, YouTube, following similar actions by Facebook and Twitter, deleted more than 30 channels with significant audiences which they identified as posting “Qanon conspiracy theories,” along with countless smaller channels. But the real threat posed by the Q collective is not just its most sensational and controversial topics, but rather the relentless uncovering of government corruption by thousands of online sleuths. The suppression of Q is one of the most ominous displays of censorship in our time.
Over the summer, we saw blatant censorship of doctors who merely advocated more research and access to hydroxychloroquine as a preventive and early-stage treatment for COVID-19. Does HCQ work in certain cases? We still don’t know. But censoring public debate on this question is wrong.
For example, a video featuring emergency room doctors who offered a dissident opinion from mainstream media and big pharma got over 17 million views within a matter of hours, before Facebook pulled it from its platform. President Trump’s retweet of this video was taken down by Twitter, along with those of other high-profile Americans, including Donald Trump, Jr.
Describing these events, one of America’s last remaining unmuzzled mainstream dissidents, Tucker Carlson, had this to say on July 29: “While the rest of us were sleeping, or in the case of so many of our senators, taking money from Google, a tiny number of left-wing corporations took virtually complete control of all news and information in this country.”
Carlson is right, and this is a problem of historic scope. In America today, when content disappears from the major social media platforms—Facebook, Twitter, YouTube—a huge percentage of Americans, 50 percent or more, will never see it.
This is information warfare, and First Amendment advocates are in a race against evolving AI programs wielded by communications monopolies. People can share links to suppressed content. If the links are blocked, they can put the links into a different article, and share the link to that article. If deep links are banned, they can cut and paste the text into a new article. If text strings are banned, they can avoid using keywords. The truth is like water, and the internet is a river.
Very encouraging is that while alternative platforms have not yet found the audience that the monopoly platforms offer, they are growing in number and popularity. BitChute. Gab. Telegram. Minds. Parler. DLive. ThinkSpot. These and many others provide an alternative for content producers driven off of YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.
The mission of Winston84 is to collect and catalog online voices that have been deplatformed, demonetized, shadow banned, or otherwise suppressed and provide links to their platforms. We may or may not share their opinions, but we support their right to be heard. If someone is thrown off of YouTube, we track their migration. If you search for their record in Winston84, you will see links to all the known platforms where they are active. If you know of platforms where someone is listed that we have not included, let us know. If you want to recommend someone to be added to the Winston84 directory, let us know.
Our criteria to be included in Winston84 is necessarily subjective. The five categories we’ve selected provide some insight into the decision-making process: Christian Patriot, Climate Skeptic, Free Speech Ally, Irreverent Investigator, and Western Warrior. At present, there are just under 300 records in the database, and we don’t intend to expand it much beyond that, but rather continue to refine what is featured.
While everyone in the Winston84 database may be considered politically incorrect by the leftist monopolies that control what Americans can find online, some are more politically incorrect than others. Virtually all the climate-change skeptics are persona non grata. Typically, and this holds true with almost all of the records in Winston84, the only thing you’ll find if you search for them on Google are links to articles disparaging them. Their websites or social media pages may not show up at all.
Probably the least anathema to the Left are those records we have classified as Free Speech Ally, which include many conservative and nationalist websites and their accompanying social media accounts that have broken through, such as Breitbart and, of course, American Greatness. The most offensive category to the Left is probably Western Warriors, and this bears further discussion.
Again, we may not agree with everything that appears on some of these websites, or everything that is said on some of these video channels. But we defend the right of these groups and individuals to say what they are saying. Nevertheless, we don’t have room for truly egregious content. We don’t decline to post some as a nod to the Left, but just as a matter of both practicality and principle.
To the extent someone may question our choice to include, say, a white identitarian, we may counter that there is almost no attempt whatsoever on the part of the social media monopolies to exclude left-wing content that is not merely expressing ethnic pride, but is explicitly anti-white, and far more extreme. Moreover, of the 123 people we have identified and categorized as Western Warriors, 44 of them are black Americans.
Whether or not anyone producing content for a channel or a website that has made its way onto Winston84 agrees with us, we are resolutely, enthusiastically in favor of a colorblind American nationalism. As it is, the overwhelming majority of the people we have included are also colorblind patriots who love America. We find that inspiring.
In previous reports on internet censorship, we received numerous comments and emails expressing a need for a directory such as Winston84. Here it is. Comments and suggestions are most welcome. This project is intended to evolve both to meet the needs of people looking for quality alternative content, as well as to help counter the relentless attacks on freedom of expression by leftist corporations that have acquired far too much power.