Anyone on Twitter can be canceled by Twitter, Apple, Google, or the European Union?

FastCompany says that Apple and Google will kill Twitter by removing the app from their respective monopoly stores if they see anything on Twitter that they don’t like.

Twitter, obviously, will remove anything and anyone that the company deems objectionable. Historically this was people who did not follow the Democratic Party line, e.g., the New York Post for the Hunter Biden laptop story.

“Twitter must comply with Europe’s platform rules, EU digital chief warns Musk in virtual meeting” (CNN Business):

… the social media platform must take significant steps to comply with EU content moderation laws, …

Twitter has “huge work ahead” to meet its obligations under the Digital Services Act, Europe’s new platform regulation, said Thierry Breton, the EU’s digital chief, in a readout of his meeting with Musk.

“Twitter will have to implement transparent user policies, significantly reinforce content moderation and protect freedom of speech, tackle disinformation with resolve, and limit targeted advertising,” Breton said…

I would love to learn about this law! To “protect freedom of speech”, it is necessary for a service to prevent anyone from speaking in a way that the European Union bureaucrats don’t like (“reinforce content moderation”)? And who decides what is “disinformation” that violates EU law? Sticking with the Hunter Biden laptop story, above, all of the Washington, D.C. expert insiders said that it was disinformation. “Hunter Biden story is Russian disinfo, dozens of former intel officials say” (Politico, just before the 2020 election on 10/19/2020):

More than 50 former senior intelligence officials have signed on to a letter outlining their belief that the recent disclosure of emails allegedly belonging to Joe Biden’s son “has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.”

The letter, signed on Monday, centers around a batch of documents released by the New York Post last week that purport to tie the Democratic nominee to his son Hunter’s business dealings.

While the letter’s signatories presented no new evidence, they said their national security experience had made them “deeply suspicious that the Russian government played a significant role in this case” and cited several elements of the story that suggested the Kremlin’s hand at work.

While there has been no immediate indication of Russian involvement in the release of emails the Post obtained, its general thrust mirrors a narrative that U.S. intelligence agencies have described as part of an active Russian disinformation effort aimed at denigrating Biden’s candidacy.

Facebook hasn’t faced the same scrutiny, perhaps because they are still censoring in accordance with the ruling politicians’ wishes. But they could also be taken down by the smartphone duopoly or the EU.

In summary, there are now at least four filters through which content must pass before it can be distributed via the only practical modern means of reaching a substantial number of people. Folks in China might have more practical freedom of speech because there are only two filters: the operator of a service and the government.

This is an interesting illustration of how the early Internet nerds’ predictions turned out to be 100 percent wrong. None of them would have imagined a world in which there was no practical way to sell a book if a single bookstore (Amazon) didn’t like it and in which multiple bureaucracies exercised veto power over the online existence of any individual user and his or her (there was just two gender IDs back then) speech.

My question is why the same standards aren’t applied to web sites and email. Google and Apple can program their browsers to reject attempts to visit web sites that contain disinformation, e.g., that COVID vaccines do not prevent infection and transmission. Or at least augment web pages with context, as Twitter and Facebook already do. Google and Apple also control email systems. Why allow Deplorables to share misinformation and disinformation via email? The idea is that the companies, out of the goodness of their corporate hearts, will ensure online safety when on Facebook and Twitter, but will make zero attempt to prevent people from being led astray when reading email? How does that make sense? At a minimum, shouldn’t Gmail add context? If a personal friend gets an email from Rochelle Walensky about becoming sick with COVID a month after receiving the bivalent booster, Gmail could display “MISSING CONTEXT. The latest bivalent COVID boosters have been proven to protect against all SARS-CoV-2 variants. Visit for more information about COVID.” If someone is reading about how New York State is #1 in the nation in percent of residents’ income taxed away to fund state and local government, Safari could add a banner “Visit to learn how New York provides abortion care and protects you from gun violence with the taxes that you pay.”

Sculpture from the Louvre below titled “EU online safety expert deplatforms Nick Fuentes.”

14 thoughts on “Anyone on Twitter can be canceled by Twitter, Apple, Google, or the European Union?

  1. I hope the MAGA people (Microsoft, Apple, Google, Amazon) cancel Twitter, then Elon responds by building his own Twitter phone + app store + search engine + shopping.

  2. I guess everyone has truly forgotten Lawrence Lessig’s prescription/remedy for disturbing and even hate speech online: “The solution to bad speech is more speech.” from waaaaaaaaaay back in the day when he was a blog-o-rama hotshot rockstar Harvard intellectual property guru.

    That can’t work! And Biden is a Europeanist! I knew at the beginning that the ultimate goal was to have the EU run online speech content policing – they’re the most civilized people on Earth. Well, poor Elon has woken them up bigtime, and they’re on the case now! It doesn’t matter if you’re forced in the United States into following the rules of some unelected bureaucratic committee of policy wonks in Brussels or wherever. “Up yours, you Deplorable American piece of mud-bog covered garbage. It’s amazing we even let you type.”

    Of course, there’s a lot more subtle and substantive going on as well, to keep the advisors fed with reams and reams and reams of Things to Do.

    • Also, almost nobody remembers arrogant, priviliged words of John Walker, co-founder of Autodesk and a big-brained guy who probably would have his 15 Minutes of Fascism fame right about now. He was an early objector to the EU and also did some writing about the “Internet Slum.”

      “Welcome to the electronic global slum! I am one of those despicable people who believe that IQ not only exists but matters. From the origin of the Internet through the mid 1990s, I’d estimate the mean IQ of Internet users as about 115. Today it’s probably somewhere around 100, the mean in Europe and North America. The difference you see in the Internet of today from that of ten years ago is what one standard deviation (15 points) drop in IQ looks like. But the mean IQ of the world is a tad less than 90 today, and it’s expected to fall to about 86 by 2050. So, when the digital divide is conquered and all ten billion naked apes are wired up, you’re looking at about another standard deviation’s drop in the IQ of the Internet. Just imagine what that will be like.”

      Well, now it’s the Internet Cage Match and the EU is going to be the referee, apparently. Welcome to Thunderdome, with Ursula von Leyden as Aunty Entity.

    • Alex: Von der Leyen’s comments about bringing Meloni in line were chilling indeed.

      Hardly anyone here in the EU understands her rapid ascent (failing upwards after a domestic military spending scandal):

      She regularly wants to tighten Internet surveillance even further, which is usually rejected but wastes a lot of time for the opponents.

      And I feel that both she and the Norwegian NATO Secretary Stoltenberg are enjoying their sudden spotlight and importance a bit too much.

  3. > And who decides what is “disinformation” that violates EU law?

    Basically, someone has to report the tweet and then it depends on the individual “law” enforcement unit. Example from the UK (still in the EU at the time of the article), where someone questioned gender ideology and is subsequently interrogated:

    Generally, there is a labyrinth of national and EU laws that can used if convenient. “Convenient” means that it would be perfectly acceptable to call DeSantis a fascist but not Trudeau.

    Then there is COVID-19 “misinformation” that must be fought in the EU (but not in China, where protests are noble). Macron, who studied at an elite bureaucrat school, is one of the worst proponents:

    Laws that are based on good intentions (like the German anti-Nazi speech laws) can be abused by malicious reporters or reporting-bots scanning for keywords. Here is someone trying to shut down Greenwald, who just questioned the overuse of the Chamberlain parallel.

    In this case Twitter did the right thing, but this whole reporting business strikes me as dangerous. Will Apple and Google, who love to automate everything including cancellations, always do the right thing?

    (Then of course there is the general question why a U.S citizen can be reported for allegedly violating a foreign law in the first place …)

  4. Hopefully Elon finishes talking up twitter’s valuation & dumps it as soon as possible so he can move on to revolutionizing stationary bikes & obesity being the greatest threat to civilization.

  5. This kind of “punish X on you platform or we punish *all* your users” is spiritually akin to dropping bombs on relatives of people who have harmed you for the purpose of discouraging the others (something every nation so far able to credibly threaten has done at some point)

  6. There is also amusing story of journalist Alex Berenson who sued Twitter after his account was canceled. Twitter settled and restored his account. But during discovery they found out that there was a meeting with White House stuffer where he asked why Berenson’s account was still not canceled (and then Twitter canceled). So now Berenson sues White House for 1st amendment violation.

    • I always have to Google these haters who are purportedly super prominent. states as fact “Berenson appeared frequently in American right-wing media, spreading false claims about COVID-19 and its vaccines. He spent much of the pandemic arguing that its seriousness was overblown; once COVID-19 vaccines were rolled out, he made false claims about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines.”

      The rest of the Wikipedia article suggests that what he wrote was actually true. “In 2021, Berenson tweeted that COVID-19 vaccinations had led to 50 times more adverse effects than flu vaccine.” I personally experienced at least 50X the negative reaction to the COVID-19 shots (mostly #2 and the single booster sacrament that I received, Praise Fauci) that I have had to the flu shots (which I got in the years when our kids were young and flu-vulnerable).

      He said the COVID-19 “vaccines” were “ineffective”. Certainly they did not live up to the effectiveness claims with which they were sold! And for the 75,000-ish vaccinated Americans who are dying every year of COVID-19 (the current rate), I think it is fair to say that the vaccine was “ineffective”.

    • Berenson is an interesting character and provides much needed alternative to official state media (which in US is establishment-controlled and as such conveniently claims to be ‘independent’).

      But more interesting fact of this story is that White House has (now had?) meetings with Twitter where they demand specific censorship actions:

      I always assumed Tweeter censorship was self-inflicted, now it turns out it was collaborationist. Frankly, not sure which is worse. 🙂

    • If not for Berenson, imagine how many more 6-month-olds could have been vaccinated and thus preserved from deadly COVID! In Righteous Cambridge, Maskachusetts the December 1, 2022 daily email shows that only 24% of Cambridge residents followed the Science and got their 2nd booster dose. says that as of Nov 28, 2022, only 12% of Maskachusetts residents age 0-4 were fully vaccinated.

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