Deplatformed is a weekly column that looks into the nether reaches of the internet—outside the big few that everyone already covers—to tell you the political discourse online. It runs on Thursdays in the Daily Dot’s web_crawlr newsletter. If you want to get this column a day before we publish it, subscribe to web_crawlr, where you’ll get the daily scoop of internet culture delivered straight to your inbox.
1) Google knows what’s coming next
A benign headline from the Independent Journal-Review about Google is sparking speculation of an earth-shattering event coming in 2024.
According to the story, Google issued an update to its “Sensitive Events” policy, which relates to how advertising and search work around moments that have “significant social, cultural, or political impact, such as civil emergencies, natural disasters, public health emergencies, terrorism, conflict, or mass acts of violence.”
The policy mentions it will work to limit price gouging and restricting access to supplies as part of this revamp, two things that happened on the internet during the COVID-19 pandemic. While it might be reasonable to assume this is a long-overdue measure taken in response to that, users on 4chan all took it to mean Google was prepping for something they knew would soon happen.
“Google knows some horrible tragedy is happening soon,” read a popular post.
Some posters speculated on the possibility that the news may be surrounding the upcoming Supreme Court case which could possibly kick former President Donald Trump off the ballot in 2024.
“Feb 8th SCOTUS hears Trump ballot case. They may rule he’s ineligible to be president. That’s my guess,” said.
“CIVIL WAR CONFIRMED BY THE WEALTH THINK TANK,” read another response.
But a bigger worry was that, if a tragedy struck, the racist, misogynistic users of the site wouldn’t be allowed to get Google juice for mocking those afflicted, as the Google update specifically called out victim blaming.
“No victim blaming. Even if they deserved it,” one user wrote
“The no victim blaming is fucking sus asf? Who wrote this???” added another.
But there was one bright side to the policy, they saw. Google couldn’t have foreknowledge of one major event if it was instituting a new victim-blaming ban.
“if trump is assassinated they’ll openly celebrate it and say he deserved it … so trump assassination is out,” users agreed.
So if you believe Google is omnipotent, Trump will make it through the election.
2) Nikki Haley’s Chaos Operation
One of the more interesting results out of the New Hampshire primary this week was that a number of Democrats, because the primary was open to all parties, cast votes for Nikki Haley.
Trump raged at the support she drew, as some citizens said they cast a protest vote against the former president.
But Trump’s former adviser saw something deeper. Not just disgust or dislike. A secret plot.
On his own social media platform, Gettr, Steve Bannon dubbed Haley’s campaign “Operation Chaos.”
The term is spreading on the platform.
“Last night the Democrats ran Operation Chaos to prop up Nikky Haley and make it look like she has more support than she does,” said one.
“The reason why the NH was closer that expected was because of the crossover votes trying to play Operation Chaos,” added another.
But if Democrats were doing it, they got the idea from Republicans. The phrase Operation Chaos stems from an effort by Rush Limbaugh in 2008 to meddle in the primary contest between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
Limbaugh claimed he was able to attract 100,000 operatives in Pennsylvania to try and mess with exit polls and the results, eventually hoping that his voters could split the primaries enough such that neither candidate could claim victory at the Democratic convention.
It didn’t work. Despite a tough primary fight, Obama won the nomination and eventually the presidency. Similarly, it doesn’t seem like Democrats will do much to stop Trump. But concerned Republicans are on the lookout.
3) Russian plane crash disproves DEI backlash
On Wednesday, a Russian plane crashed. Russia claimed the jet was carrying Ukrainian POWs and Ukraine shot it down, but there’s no confirmation.
On Bluesky, users took the moment to reflect on a recent trend in right-wing outrage, that Black pilots cause plane crashes.
“So much for the theory that being more racist makes your airplanes crash less,” joked one user.
“DEI strikes again,” joked a few other users.