Big Tech Is Reaping the Whirlwind
Silicon Valley's censorship is going to come back and bite the companies doing it.
You’ve been warned.
Conservatives have long suspected what has since become obvious: Big Tech has grown tired of a certain type of political speech. The Free Speech Movement of the mid-1960s has finally come full circle, and its offspring — Facebook, Twitter, and Google — are now brazenly and systematically punishing conservative-leaning websites and content.
Following up on President Donald Trump’s executive order earlier this year, which called for Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to be regulated, this week Missouri Republican Senator Josh Hawley introduced legislation giving Americans the right to sue tech companies for violating political speech.
Hawley’s Senate colleague, Ted Cruz, believes tech censorship poses a serious threat to our Liberty. “Big Tech is angry that Donald Trump got elected, and they are angry at themselves for letting him get elected,” he asserted. “And I believe Big Tech is resolved. They won’t let it happen again. They are going to do everything they can to try to silence any speech that they don’t like. And they’re brazen about it. They have discovered that they can do it without major consequences, at least to date.”
“I think this is the single biggest threat to our democracy,” Cruz warned.
As expected, the social-media giants say their First Amendment rights are being threatened by Republican legislation. But according to National Review, the legislation would merely “require tech companies with over 30 million U.S. users per month, and an annual worldwide income of over $1.5 billion, to publish all of their content moderation policies and publicly pledge to act in ‘good faith’ in accordance with those policies. Users who charge that the companies are not implementing content moderation policies fairly would be able to sue for $5,000 plus attorney fees.”
Seems reasonable, especially since Big Tech should have had fair-minded moderation polices in place from the start.
Whenever they’re caught censoring conservative speech, these companies try to backtrack and claim ignorance or an innocent mistake, or, in the recent cases of The Federalist and Zero Hedge, that certain inappropriate remarks in their websites’ comments sections had violated their standards.
So conservative websites are now responsible not only for their own content but the content of their readers’ comments as well.
Now, thanks to this overreach, we all see what’s really going on.
“Once the inevitable backlash came, Google quickly started backtracking and shifting the goalposts, sounding like the kid who had just been caught with his hands in the cookie jar,” former Google software engineer Mike Wacker writes at The Federalist. “As layer upon layer of absurdity piled up, Google even claimed that they punished The Federalist not for their articles, but for their comments.”
At one time, these online platforms were virtual public squares, allowing citizens to engage in civil debates and explore the issues. And that’s why the government gave these companies protections in the first place.
But, as Cruz noted, since Donald Trump became president, Big Tech’s been in overdrive to make sure he doesn’t win reelection. That became crystal clear in 2018 when Facebook banned a Trump campaign ad on immigration, and in May of this year when Twitter posted a warning on one of Trump’s tweets. Just this week, Twitter “fact-checked” an obviously satirical video Trump posted. And Facebook pulled Trump campaign ads that featured antifa symbolism to rebut it, because the ads were guilty of “violating our policy against organized hate” for featuring Nazi symbolism. Well, maybe the fascists of antifa shouldn’t adopt the fascist symbolism of the Nazis. Meanwhile, Facebook has no reservations about spreading Chinese propaganda.
For those hoping these companies will finally face the music and begin holding all online content to the same standards, there’s a long way to go.
“The new proposal seems unlikely to break an election-year logjam in Congress over how to proceed,” reports The Wall Street Journal. “Inaction is being fueled in part by concerns among some lawmakers that going too far with reforms could push tech companies to further tighten restrictions on speech and content, or, alternatively, retreat from sensible policing standards.”
Translation: Our elected representatives are either too afraid to take necessary action, or they’re quite content with Big Tech’s censorship of conservatives. Either way, it shows us who’s in charge.
In any event, this legislation isn’t going anywhere as long as Democrats hold the House majority — which means conservatives will continue to be muzzled and demonetized.
And that suits the billionaires of Silicon Valley just fine.