Tech Oligarchs Censor the Right

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The technology companies that provide social media platforms have grown to gargantuan size and now possess an ominous power over the ability of citizens to express and communicate ideas.

This control over free expression, which is held by a few tech oligarchs, is unprecedented at any time in human history.

The most widely used social media platform, Facebook, claims 2 billion users globally and is the preferred source for news for 45 percent of American adults. Three hundred hours of video are uploaded to Google-owned YouTube every minute of the day. And Twitter indicates that it has 330 million monthly active users. It was inevitable that these three monolithic social media platforms would be replete with users who seek to influence public opinion.

At one time all three seemed to reflect the notion that the general Internet should be treated as a free and open forum for any and all points of view.

The three have now shown themselves to be untrustworthy with data. They have proven to be biased, and of late have made it clear that they are willing to utilize the same kind of censorship that authoritarian regimes impose.

The ability of conservatives to reach people through the use of social media is being slowly and steadily diminished by the implemented policies of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. This is occurring under the guise of eliminating false information.

Videos, posts, and other expressions are routinely being taken down, accounts are surreptitiously being limited in scope, and in some cases users are even being exiled from the Internet.

Tech giants have consistently demonstrated hostility toward the convictions of Americans who dare to hold contrary views to the pre-ordained liberal script. This all seemed to have begun with the revelation in the spring of 2016 that news curators at Facebook were suppressing news stories from right-of-center outlets. The resultant negative publicity caused Facebook to actually remove its human editors.

Last summer Twitter blocked pro-life advertisements, labeling them “sensitive content.” Early this year Twitter claimed that it was purging the platform of suspected Russian bot accounts, but it ended up causing conservative Twitter users, including podcaster Dan Bongino, to suffer a loss of followers.

In what it claimed to be a hunt for “fake news,” YouTube shut down highly viewed non-liberal channels on its platform. It ultimately had to apologize for what it called “mistaken removals,” just one more admission that a video platform had engaged in ideological censorship. The organization’s use of an extreme left-wing group, the Southern Poverty Law Center, to determine what is “offensive” speech is a major tell of YouTube’s true intentions.

Oddly, the highly entrepreneurial Silicon Valley community has allowed itself to become a slavish patron of anti-business liberalism. As is typical of much of Wall Street and many major corporations, the tech world is devoted to leftist immigration policies that allow tech companies to access inexpensive labor.

Perhaps because the technology world considers itself to be scientifically minded, a huge portion of the tech community has become enamored with faux scientists such as Al Gore and have simply bought the notions of radical environmentalists hook, line, and sinker.

Those outside of the liberal circle, who happen to constitute a sizable segment of society, have made great strides in the past using digital technology to persuade the public. Presently, though, they are justifiably concerned about losing access to social media platforms at such a critical juncture in U.S. politics.

Where do divergent thinkers go to find a way to fight back against the free expression redactors? Here are some options for consideration:

–Litigation.

Lawsuits launched by those who feel as if they have experienced interference with their free expression on social media may find themselves in an uphill battle. However, it may be worth the struggle.

At the trial level, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh recently indicated that Prager University, a non-profit project by author, educator, and national radio talk show host Dennis Prager, failed to show in a lawsuit that YouTube infringed upon its free speech rights by placing age restrictions on its content.

The suit was filed over YouTube’s “Restricted Mode” setting on such topics it deemed offensive. The judge held that YouTube was not a “state actor,” but rather a “private entity” and as such was not subject to First Amendment protections.

The judge also dismissed a claim on another legal theory that YouTube engaged in false advertising by implying that Prager University’s videos were “inappropriate.”

The judge did encourage Prager University to amend its lawsuit to explore whether California’s state constitution would provide protection “in the age of social media and the Internet.” The decision can, of course, be appealed.

–Regulation.

The cumulative actions of social media giants have resulted in otherwise free market thinking individuals to begin eyeing the prospects of some kind of limited government regulation of the social media space.

One approach would be to classify social media platforms as “common carriers” and require that all users be treated equally. This is a variant of the much touted “net neutrality” about which tech blogs often rant.

A specific proposal that seems to have some merit involves mandating that users who are dissatisfied with either Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter be allowed to freely transfer their data to another platform, much in the same way consumers transfer their cell phone numbers from one carrier to another.

–Competition.

It is long overdue that a freedom loving social media provider appear on the scene.

Similar to the way in which the bias of the mainstream media gave birth to the alternative media, i.e., Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, and the like, those who hold non-liberal beliefs must create an alternative social media and do so before its too late.

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Media Ignores Election Law Violations Related to Facebook’s Obama Campaign Connection

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Facebook is feeling the wrath of left-wing organizations and mainstream media outlets as a result of a recently publicized data breach, which involved the unauthorized gathering of Facebook users’ data by a British consulting firm that worked for then-presidential candidate Donald J. Trump.

When it publicly became known that Cambridge Analytica, a firm that worked for the Trump campaign, harvested data from 50 million Facebook users, the news triggered intense reactions from a broad range of Democrats and others of a liberal persuasion. Curiously, there was no such similar anger expressed when former President Barack Obama’s presidential campaign was supplied Facebook data to use for political purposes.

The media quickly glommed on to the Cambridge Analytica story, using it as one more opportunity to excuse Hillary Clinton for her embarrassing presidential campaign loss.

Virtually ignored by the mainstream media, however, was and still is the manner in which the Obama campaign extensively utilized social network data in previous election cycles.

Recently, the hashtag #DeleteFacebook broke out on the social media, and a sizable number of celebrities and high-profile companies suspended their Facebook advertising and some even ceased using Facebook altogether.

–In a Facebook post, actor and comedian Will Ferrell announced that he was going to delete his Facebook account. “I’m reaching out to let you know that in 72 hours I will be deleting my Facebook account,” Ferrell wrote, indicating that he was not deleting it immediately, in order to give his message enough time to reach his fans and followers. He specifically cited, in his words, Cambridge Analytica’s “misuse of millions of Facebook users’ information in order to undermine our democracy and infringe on our citizens’ privacy.”

–Singer-actress Cher used her Twitter account to inform her followers that she was deleting her Facebook account.

–British hip-hop duo Massive Attack made an exit from the social platform.

–Elon Musk deleted the Facebook pages of his companies, Tesla and SpaceX.

–Playboy followed suit.

–Mozilla, creator of the Firefox browser, stated it would stop advertising on Facebook. The company also launched a new Firefox browser extension, which blocks Facebook’s ability to track activities on other websites that have integrated with the social network.

–Auto parts giant Pep Boys, Germany’s second-largest bank Commerzbank, and Electronics manufacturer Sonos halted their advertising on the social media platform as well.

It appears as though the indignation expressed by liberals and the mainstream media has little to do with Facebook’s misuse of data but almost everything to do with their visceral hatred for President Trump.

Meanwhile, what appears to continually be being given a pass is a far more egregious breach of privacy.

In 2012 Facebook presented to the reelection campaign of then-President Obama the data, free of charge, of about 190 million people. This is four-times the amount of people whose privacy was breached in the Cambridge Analytica matter.

Carol Davidsen, former media director for Obama for America, publicly stated that Facebook freely allowed the 2012 Obama campaign “direct access to the personal data of Facebook users, in violation of its internal rules, making a special exception for the campaign.”

Davidsen posted on Twitter that Facebook “came to [the] office in the days following election recruiting & were very candid that they allowed us to do things they wouldn’t have allowed someone else to do because they were on our side.”

Political campaigns customarily must pay for access to the above-referenced kind of data. Under federal law, corporations cannot make contributions to federal candidates. This prohibition includes not only cash, but “anything of value.” Corporations therefore cannot provide federal candidates with free services of any type. Such free services are categorized under election law by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) as “in-kind contributions.”

When Facebook gave the Obama campaign free access to data, when it would have customarily charged fees for such access, the social media giant may conceivably have violated a federal prohibition on corporate in-kind contributions. Additionally, the Obama campaign may have broken the law by accepting the in-kind corporate contribution.

In contrast, the Trump campaign does not appear to have this kind of legal exposure because it actually did pay Cambridge Analytica for its services.

Hans von Spakovsky, a former member of the FEC, contends that the data transfer by Facebook to the Obama campaign is unlawful, and could even be a matter for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate.

These potential violations of federal campaign finance laws by Facebook and the Obama campaign are serious enough to warrant a much deeper investigation. Campaign finance laws are enforced administratively by the FEC, and civil fines can be imposed; however, the DOJ has concurrent criminal jurisdiction over violations of campaign finance laws.

As von Spakovsky reasoned, “It [the Facebook transfer of data to the Obama campaign] should be investigated by the Federal Election Commission and potentially the U.S. Department of Justice.”

How to Get Real News in a World of Fake News

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There was a time when three dominant television networks had the power to control the news and information narrative. Societal sources of information, though, have been constantly shifting over the past several decades due in great part to changes in technology.

The widespread reliance on digital information today has allowed ta trio of technology companies to be in a position to increasingly influence cultural and political conversations in a host of ways.

When it comes to establishing the news narrative, the big three consist of Google, Facebook, and Twitter. It is the tech giant Google, however, that has managed to morph into a monolithic kingdom of web search.

Google has become a digital pathway to information for almost the entire world, having secured approximately 70 percent of the global search market share. The usage of the search site for exploring the net is almost double the amount of its nearest competitor, Bing.

Additionally, as the owner of the principal video sharing site YouTube, Google is second only to Facebook as a social media platform.

Using its extraordinary algorithms and artificial intelligence, search giant Google unfortunately displays blatant and explicit biases against conservative viewpoints, all the while favoring left-leaning positions.

This partiality is underscored by discrimination lawsuits filed by former Google employees James Damore and David Gudeman against their prior employer. Damore alleges that he was fired for writing a memo criticizing Google’s diversity policies, while Gudeman claims he was blacklisted and let go for holding conservative beliefs, particularly for his support of now President Donald Trump.

The lawsuits describe a systemic ultra-liberal atmosphere at the tech giant. What is of major concern for the unknowing public is the fact that the radically left-leaning Google culture has manifested itself in distorted and biased search results.

In 2017 researchers from Northeastern University and the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology presented a paper that demonstrated a pervasive bias favoring Hillary Clinton existed in Google search results regarding the 2016 election.

Later in the year a research report written by Leo Goldstein of the group Defeat Climate Alarmism used data from Alexa.com to determine that Google searches were biased in favor of liberal domains and against conservative domains.

Using a current news story that broke over this past weekend concerning the Democratic memo, which was released to counter the Republican FISA abuse memo, a search on Google was conducted by this article’s author using the term “democrat memo.”

The results of the search were as follows: Two articles that appeared on the first line as “Top Stories” were one-sided pro-Democrat pieces from the The New York Times and Vox.

It was not until halfway down the third page of the Google search listings that a single article with a divergent point of view appeared. The article titled “What The Democrats Left Out Of Their Memo” was from the Daily Caller website.

The Google search exhibited the results, despite the fact that a plain reading of the Democratic memo indicated significant facts set forth in the Republican memo were left unanswered.

Particularly disturbing was the lack of any mention in the Democratic memo of the DNC and Clinton campaign funding of the infamous Steele dossier, or any mention or explanation of why that information was not provided to the FISA Court.

Assuming that Google’s bias is extensive and is unlikely to be addressed, conservatives cannot sit idly by and continue to use the search site.

In the business world, there are antitrust laws that exist to protect consumers from monopolies, which artificially raise prices and stifle innovation. Perhaps people who are seeking objectivity should consider using an alternative approach when conducting Internet searches.

Considering the fact that Google and most other search engines track and mine personal information without an individual’s knowledge or consent, it becomes even more important to adopt an alternative approach.

This brings us to some Google alternatives that may surprise the reader. DuckDuckGo.com not only provides unbiased news and information, it also maintains personal privacy by not engaging in tracking, data mining, or retention of search history. It is as comprehensive as Google and allows customization of its interface. It enables searches to be free from adult content via a safe setting similar to Google.

Ixquick’s Start Page claims to be the world’s most private search site. The site does not participate in data mining or tracking and additionally offers users the ability to visit sites via proxy, thus rendering searchers the protection of invisibility to the sites that appear in the search results.

Yippy is a search engine that also protects privacy with the added benefit of delivering child-friendly results. Yippy pulls search results from other search engines and groups topics together, organizing the results in clusters. Although the site filters out topics to which children ought not be exposed, including gambling, pornography, and other inappropriate material, adept teenagers may still find a way to obtain unsuitable results.

Conservatives may enjoy the experience of a search engine that gives results of a right-leaning nature. 4conservatives.com will do just that. The search engine delivers content from a conservative perspective and uses reputable sources.

By using more objective search alternatives, we can move toward a world with less fake news and more real news.