Jason Arment

The Right to Exist Online Across the Political Spectrum

(Photo by u j e s h on Unsplash)

The deleting of social media accounts of bad faith actors is one thing, but interfering with an election in Idaho is completely another. Jason Arment investigates.

 

Social media will someday be considered a public utility, and its platforms will have to allow people of fringe political leanings. But that’s not what’s going on right now.

Facebook recently deleted a number of liberal-leaning accounts, one of which being Greenpeace, but that’s not all they’ve been up to. As you might guess, Facebook isn’t a huge fan of QAnon, or anyone who even talks about it. I’m careful not to break Facebook’s Terms of Service, and I’m even more careful what I say about QAnon. But, much like Eric Parker, I never thought Facebook would hit someone with the ban-hammer over derogatory posts about the goofy, boomer-tier conspiracy.

Regular people don’t run for office, and Eric Parker isn’t a regular person. He’s a man as I consider them, completely and totally regardless of social construct or genitally. Because being man has everything to do with something happening in time and space, and beyond time and space, something Churchill called “duty.” Anyone who tends to such matters, by the only significant metric, is a man.

When Eric thought the right thing to do was to grab his rifle, jump in a truck, and ride to the Bundy Ranch standoff to become the now infamous, and world famous, Bundy Sniper, that’s what Eric did. When Eric thought the right thing to do was run for office in Idaho, that’s what he did. I hope I have half as much courage as Eric when I need to do the right things.

 

What if someone decided they didn’t like my anti-war stances, or my support of Marxism just rubbed them the wrong way, so they decided to make me disappear off the internet?

 

You can understand why Facebook might not like having Eric around, and normally you’d think, They’ll just have to deal with not only Eric but the page for his political campaign. But Facebook didn’t hesitate to delete those accounts, just like they won’t hesitate to delete my account, or your account, and then totally ban us from their platforms. This is something the far-right has been dealing with for some time now, being deplatformed and depersoned. Nicholas J. Fuentes can’t even use Paypal, and he runs a far-right, ultra-orthodox Catholic podcast in his parents’ basement.

I need Fuentes to be able to shape up and ship out. I need him to stop messing around in his parents’ basement, fall in love, get a nice job, then disappear to raise a family and not be heard from again. Is he going to do that? Not at this rate, because his life has been irreparably ruined. He’s going to grow up to be one of those burnt-out political husks who was charismatic before bitterness overcame them, and then what? Who is he influencing at that point? It won’t be the Zoomer audience he loves so much; it’ll be political radicals much more hardened and entrenched in their ideologies.

I don’t remember signing a social contract where people in Silicon Valley call the shots. Deleting accounts of bad faith actors is one thing, but interfering with an election in Idaho is completely another. What if someone decided they didn’t like my anti-war stances, or my support of Marxism just rubbed them the wrong way, so they decided to make me disappear off the internet? Not only that, but they also decided I can’t use social media to run for political office? This is all entirely within the realm of possibility, and you should be paying attention.

To date, Facebook hasn’t provided Eric Parker with a reason for his ban. I’m assuming it was for talking about QAnon because his social media disappearance coincided with other accounts that spoke about Q, which makes me very glad I avoided the subject altogether.

 

Jason Arment is the author of Musalaheen, a war memoir published by University of Hell Press.

 

Jason Arment

Jason Arment served in Operation Iraqi Freedom as a Machine Gunner in the USMC. He's earned an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. His work has appeared in Narrative Magazine, Lunch Ticket, Chautauqua, Hippocampus, The Burrow Press Review, Dirty Chai, and War, Literature & the Arts: An International Journal of the Humanities; anthologized in Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors Volume 2 & 4; and is forthcoming in Gulf Coast, The Florida Review, and Phoebe. Jason lives in Denver.

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