French protests spark media demands for Facebook censorship
5 December 2018
Over the past three weeks, hundreds of thousands of people have participated in “yellow vest” demonstrations in France against social inequality and austerity, demanding the fall of the hated government of the banker-president Emmanuel Macron.
All over the world, the editorial pages of major newspapers have responded to the protests with hostility. As with every popular uprising, the elites and their hangers-on slander the outpouring of popular opposition as “riots,” “mob rule” and “disorder.”
To this reactionary class snobbery has been added a new argument: that the internet, and in particular social media, should be shut down, censored or “regulated” to prevent working people from organizing protests against their social conditions.
Of course, this argument predates the “yellow vest” protests. Beginning in the immediate aftermath of the 2016 US election, sections of the US media aligned with the Democratic Party, including the New York Times and the Washington Post, began to demand that Google, Facebook and Twitter censor oppositional viewpoints in the name of fighting “fake news” and “Russian propaganda.”
These efforts led the technology giants to implement a draconian regime of internet censorship, with Facebook deleting left-wing and anti-war pages and Google slashing traffic to oppositional sites.
The measures demanded by the major newspapers, the Democrats and the intelligence agencies had nothing to do with stopping “fake” news or “foreign propaganda,” but were intended to silence mass opposition to capitalism. The real target of internet censorship is the billions of workers all over the world who use the internet to voice their…