Zoom banned an event involving a hijacker from its platform:
Earlier today, an event at San Francisco State University was banned by leading tech giants after a campaign to censor it was led by a large number of pro-Israel groups. It is an example of the growing power of conservative cancel culture, and this censorship reveals the threat to academic freedom posed by tech companies who are under intense pressure from the right to ban controversial ideas.
The virtual discussion, “Whose Narratives? Gender, Justice and Resistance,” featured Leila Khaled, who is most famous for hijacking an Israeli flight over fifty years ago. The event was organized by SF State’s Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Studies department, and was organized and moderated by AMED associate professor Rabab Abdulhadi (who was also a recipient this year of the AAUP’s Georgina M. Smith Award for outstanding faculty activism).
After Zoom banned the event yesterday in response to a protest in front of the company’s headquarters due to claims that Zoom would be violating federal law against supporting terrorism, the event was moved to YouTube, which censored it twenty-three minutes into the livestream today …
For those on the left who demand that tech companies censor speech they think are wrong or offensive, this is a chilling reminder that censorship is a dangerous weapon that can be turned against progressives. It’s also a reminder of how vulnerable online learning is under corporate control. All colleges that use Zoom ought to demand that Zoom commit to protecting free expression of academic classes and events on its platform.John K. Wilson, “Zoom, YouTube, and Facebook Censor Event at SF State” at Academe Magazine blog
Of course, the tech companies do need to be a bit careful not to be seen as okay with airliner hijacking. Their execs fly a lot …it’s hard to recruit people for Flight 93.
Still, a Zoom meeting is just the sort of thing it would be difficult to physically hijack. Zoom’s biggest problem so far has been pornographic troll invasions.
In reality, Cancel Culture, practised systematically, will tend to reward those with the fewest original ideas to offer and that should be reason enough to cancel it. People who can’t deal with ideas that upset them should just not be at a university for the same reasons as people who can’t stand the sight of blood should not work in an emergency room.
One can make a good living in lots of ways that don’t offer much risk that way.