Social Media Is Waging War on the Right
Twitter blocked President Trump’s 88.6 million followers from liking or replying to his tweets over the weekend. The company claims this was simply a mistake, but there’s very little willingness on the Right to believe that any major social media platform operates in good faith anymore.
When Twitter blocked the controversial New York Post story about Hunter Biden right before the presidential election, it was the last straw. Nobody believes Dorsey, Zuckerberg, or Pichai (CEOs of Twitter, Facebook, and Google, respectively) when they say these decisions aren’t political. And now that the dam has broken, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube (which is owned by Google) aren’t hiding their intentions anymore.
The social media giants of Silicon Valley are going all out to shut down ideas they don’t like from Trump, the GOP, and anyone who defies their online consensus.
Who determines what’s allowable in this new speech-police regime? Well that all depends… Even a few years ago, the social media giants claimed that there was no partisan censorship on their platforms. There were simply “algorithms” that determined what you saw. Other than explicitly illegal content, the promise of Facebook, Twitter, and Google was that they would operate as platforms, not publishers.
But that myth has been shattered… Now there are “third-party fact checkers” who are brought in to stifle political speech on the Right. This is simply the laundering of censorship. Additionally, there are teams of Left-wing 20- and 30-somethings who are tasked with determining who has violated the “terms of service” on the platforms.
These amorphous and ever-changing rules are just an excuse to purge disfavored speech, which is almost always conservative in its politics. The consequences of running afoul of these petty totalitarians are very real… They will shadow ban, demonetize, throttle, or even boot you off the site forever. Google, in particular, has the ability to decide that a public person should be effectively canceled from the Internet.
The social media giants are actually doing this. These aren’t conspiracy theories or concerns about what may happen… This is happening already.
I’ve been sanctioned in recent weeks by YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram (which is owned by Facebook) for sharing my commentaries on COVID-19 lockdowns and how utterly disastrous and largely ineffective they are.
So for the crime of COVID wrongthink, I’ve been threatened with having my social media accounts suspended or even deleted. Never mind that my record of public predictions on the subject of, say, school closures is vastly more accurate than Dr. Fauci (the overrated clown). If you disagree with the establishment Left, you find yourself punished by some of the most wealthy and powerful corporations on Earth.
This is only going to get worse… For all the noise that Trump voters have made about the suppression and censorship that the social media companies engaged in to help Joe Biden, nobody has really developed a plan of action.
Google isn’t worried about Republicans using a different search engine anytime soon. Some of these Internet behemoths are effectively monopolists within the market and are immune to outside pressure campaigns.
What this means in the short term is that freedom of speech is more a fiction than a reality in American life. You can say what you want to your neighbor in person or on the phone… But post the wrong thing on your Facebook page, and you too could be shadow banned.
For now it mostly targets public figures – the “blue checks” on Twitter and Facebook – but the algorithms and terms of service are shifting the national conversation in ways that only benefit one side of the political aisle.
Eventually, the outrage may grow to a point where GOP politicians will take action. (For all the Trump administration talk of a section 230 repeal, nothing was done.)
Now we will just have to wait and see if the social media companies become so dominant in the national political conversation that a Republican administration never even gets a chance to rein in these politicized abuses.
Silicon Valley has already proven that in the 2020 election, it held the Trump card.
Want More? Here are some other articles we’re reading about this topic…
Section 230 protects Big Tech from lawsuits. But it was never supposed to be bulletproof.
Big Tech controls the flow of information in America. Arguing that these are merely private companies exercising First Amendment rights is simplistic.
The Dark Psychology of Social Networks
Human beings evolved to gossip, preen, manipulate, and ostracize. We are easily lured into this new gladiatorial circus.
Step Up Or Break Up: The Challenge For Big Tech
A better outcome than a breakup would be for the Big Five to step up and embrace responsibility. That is no easy task, as they will have to reconsider how they create value, what products they offer and how they interact with the wider innovation ecosystem, their stakeholders and society at large.
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Executive Editor, American Consequences
With P.J. O’Rourke
December 16, 2020