Tag Archives: Big Tech censorship

Besties: Twitter, Facebook, Google, CDC, NIH, WHO, by Jeffrey A. Tucker 

What happens to First Amendment rights when corporations become arms of the government? From Jeffrey A. Tucker at brownstone.org:

Many of us with a libertarian frame of mind presume as a matter of theory that the interests of business are at odds with those of government. That’s generally true for businesses of a certain size. The regulations and taxes one faces in running an enterprise in the “land of free” are utterly shocking, as any small business owner can tell you. Even gaining the legal right to pay an employee is an arduous undertaking.

But matters change for any large businesses, especially industry leaders. Here the problem of mutual capture – business deeply involved in regulatory agencies to the point that which is the hand and which is the glove is not clear – is pervasive. It’s been an issue since the Gilded Age, as historians know. The bigger the government, the bigger the problem of these government-business partnerships.

It’s always worse in a war, when the opportunities for racketeering by ostensibly private enterprise are legion. That includes the war on the virus, which has been brutal on small businesses but a fabulous reward for large media enterprises.

Rarely do we experience this in such a direct way as we did during the pandemic. We were amazed to see huge corporations that control vast amounts of digital communications openly censoring on behalf of the CDC and the WHO. We know because they said so, and still do. Perhaps we might have assumed that administrators of these companies were as confused about the science as the politicians were. Maybe it was civic pride at work here.

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Silicon Valley Corporations Are Taking Control Of History, by Caitlin Johnstone

As Orwell well understood, you can exercise control in the present by rewriting the past. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:

Twitter has imposed a weeklong suspension on the account of writer and political activist Danny Haiphong for a thread he made on the platform disputing the mainstream Tiananmen Square massacre narrative.

The notification Haiphong received informed him that Twitter had locked his account for “Violating our rules against abuse and harassment,” presumably in reference to a rule the platform put in place a year ago which prohibits “content that denies that mass murder or other mass casualty events took place, where we can verify that the event occured, and when the content is shared with abusive intent.”

“This may include references to such an event as a ‘hoax’ or claims that victims or survivors are fake or ‘actors,’” Twitter said of the new rule. “It includes, but is not limited to, events like the Holocaust, school shootings, terrorist attacks, and natural disasters.”

That we are now seeing this rule applied to protect narratives which support the geostrategic interests of the US-centralized empire is not in the least bit surprising.

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States Sue Biden Administration For ‘Pressuring And Colluding’ With Big Tech To Censor Free Speech, by Katabella Roberts

A lot more lawsuits by states against the federal government should be filed, against all sorts of liberty-destroying laws and regulations. From Katabella Roberts at The Epoch Times via zerohedge.com:

Two Republican-led states have filed a lawsuit against President Joe Biden, White House press secretary Jen Psaki, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and other top administration officials for allegedly pressuring and colluding with social media giants with the aim of censoring and suppressing free speech.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks as Assistant to the President & Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers Cecilia Rouse listens during an event at the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, on May 4, 2022. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana on April 5, they announced in separate statements on Thursday.

The attorneys claim that Biden and other government officials worked with big tech companies like Meta, Twitter, and YouTube to censor conversation around matters relating to everything from COVID-19 and election integrity to the Hunter Biden laptop story, doing so under the guise of combating “misinformation.”

Others named in the lawsuit include Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and the executive director of DHS’s newly established “Disinformation Governance Board,” Nina Jankowicz.

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Former Intelligence Officials, Citing Russia, Say Big Tech Monopoly Power is Vital to National Security, by Glenn Greenwald

Yes, we have to have Google in its present form to protect the nation. From Glenn Greenwald at greenwald.substack.com:

When the U.S. security state announces that Big Tech’s centralized censorship power must be preserved, we should ask what this reveals about whom this regime serves.

(l) An illustration of the CIA logo (Getty Images); (r) An illustration shows the logos of Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft displayed on a mobile phone and a laptop screen. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP)

A group of former intelligence and national security officials on Monday issued a jointly signed letter warning that pending legislative attempts to restrict or break up the power of Big Tech monopolies — Facebook, Google, and Amazon — would jeopardize national security because, they argue, their centralized censorship power is crucial to advancing U.S. foreign policy. The majority of this letter is devoted to repeatedly invoking the grave threat allegedly posed to the U.S. by Russia as illustrated by the invasion of Ukraine, and it repeatedly points to the dangers of Putin and the Kremlin to justify the need to preserve Big Tech’s power in its maximalist form. Any attempts to restrict Big Tech’s monopolistic power would therefore undermine the U.S. fight against Moscow.

While one of their central claims is that Big Tech monopoly power is necessary to combat (i.e., censor) “foreign disinformation,” several of these officials are themselves leading disinformation agents: many were the same former intelligence officials who signed the now-infamous-and-debunked pre-election letter fraudulently claiming that the authentic Hunter Biden emails had the “hallmarks” of Russia disinformation (former Obama Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former Obama CIA Director Michael Morrell, former Obama CIA/Pentagon chief Leon Panetta). Others who signed this new letter have strong financial ties to the Big Tech corporations whose power they are defending in the name of national security (Morrell, Panetta, former Bush National Security Adviser Fran Townsend).

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The Murdering Of Free Speech In America, by the Issues and Insights Editorial Board

Are ostensibly private companies who are acting at the behest of the government to stifle free speech subject to the First Amendment? The debate rages. From the Issues and Insights Editorial Board at issuesinsights.com:

In Cato’s 15th letter, the writers who compiled the series of essays under a pen name inspired by the Roman senator who stood against the tyranny of Julius Caesar argued that “freedom of speech is the great bulwark of liberty; they prosper and die together.” Today, we are watching that death play out before us.

President Joe Biden, whose growing unpopularity is well-deserved, continued to carry on last week what has become a Democratic tradition: He asked the private sector to become partners in censorship with the federal government.

“I make a special appeal to social media companies and media outlets, please deal with disinformation and misinformation that’s on your shows,” he said during a virtual meeting from the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. “It has to stop.”

Of course, Big Tech and the legacy media have been happy to oblige.

“​​When the leader of the majority party in Washington, D.C., issues a demand, the largest corporations listen,” journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted in response to Biden’s “will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?” proposition.

“Again: so much of the censorship from Google and other tech monopolies is done not on their own accord but under pressure and threats from Democratic Party leaders.”

Nearly a year ago, Greenwald wrote in his Substack newsletter that “​​in their zeal for control over online speech, House Democrats are getting closer and closer to the constitutional line, if they have not already crossed it.”

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Big Tech are supposed to be the plumbers, not patricians of internet discourse, by Mark E. Jeftovic

Who made Big Tech the gatekeepers of “acceptable” discourse? From Mark E. Jeftovic at bombthrower.com:

When dissent is misinformation, fallacies become facts

“Whoever practices this prophylaxis will experience the pleasure, not from time to time to lose every third or fourth patient from puerperal fever, but perhaps lose only one in four hundred”

— Ignaz Semmelweis, 1860, trying to convince the medical profession that hand disinfection before conducting medical procedures would save lives

My friend Doug McKenty, who does The Shift podcast was just suspended by Mailchimp. He’s been getting more vocal about what he calls healthcare freedom (read: vaccine passports), and something about that coloured outside the lines.

Mailchimp, an email list provider, is known for doing this. You effectively pay Mailchimp to curate what you can or cannot say to your own email subscribers.  You’re using their mailservers, and in their mind that’s what gives them the right and the moral authority to monitor the content of your communications to your own audience.

In my book Unassailable: Protect Yourself From Deplatform Attacks, Cancel Culture and other Online Disasters (the e-book version has been available for free for some time now) I devote an entire chapter to the machinations of the Big Tech and how they overstep the bounds of rationality when it comes to deciding what is within their purview and what isn’t, or shouldn’t be.

No tech company should be enforcing their Terms of Service based on what they think their users have done or might do outside of their own platforms. Yet Twitter, Facebook, Patreon and who knows who else do that.

A mailer company like Mailchimp has no business even parsing the content of their paying clients, let alone summarily judging whether it is misinformation or not. Mail providers should care about two things and two things only:

  1. The list is clean (opt-in and confirmed)
  2.  The mailings aren’t infected with any kind of malware.

That’s it. Beyond that it really isn’t their business and it’s the height of grandiosity and hubris to think that it is.

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How Democracy Dies: Big Tech Becomes Big Brother, by Leni Friedman Valenta with Dr. Jiri Valenta

The only thing that might get in big tech’s way is governments’ fear that big tech, and not governments, will control what people see and hear. From Leni Friedman Valenta with Dr. Jiri Valenta at gatestoneinstitute.org:

  • The power-sharing of the U.S. Federal government with Big Tech appears a recipe for unharnessed power and corruption. Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny caught on right away, saying: “This precedent will be exploited by the enemies of freedom of speech around the world. In Russia as well. Every time when they need to silence someone, they will say: ‘this is just common practice, even Trump got blocked on Twitter.'”
  • Fortunately, governors such as Ron DeSantis in Florida, Greg Abbott in Texas and Kevin Stitt in Oklahoma are now moving legislatively to counter federal laws that may have adverse effects on freedom of speech, jobs, election integrity, the energy industry, the first or second amendments and general constitutional rights.
  • Democracy cannot survive in a country where a few technocrats and oligarchs can choose to deny access to information or platforms to candidates running for office. It is simply unacceptable that they alone — unelected, unappointed, untransparent and unaccountable — can deem what is “harmful” to society. The job now for all of us is to prevent the United States from slowly becoming a full-blown tyranny.
(Image source: iStock)

“Digital giants have been playing an increasingly significant role in wider society… how well does this monopolism correlate with the public interest?,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said on January 27, 2021.

“Where is the distinction between successful global businesses, sought-after services and big data consolidation on the one hand, and the efforts to rule society[…] by substituting legitimate democratic institutions, by restricting the natural right for people to decide how to live and what view to express freely on the other hand?”

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Biden Admin “Working Directly” With Big Tech To Crush Vaccine Dissent, by Tyler Durden

When do corporations become agents of the state, and thus subject, at least theoretically, to the Bill of Rights and other strictures on government? From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

“In a corporatist system of government, wherein there is no meaningful separation between corporate power and state power, corporate censorship is state censorship.”

Those were the prophetic words of Caitlin Johnstone in 2018 warning of the slippery slope that Big Tech and its liberal minions were embarking on as the corporate-sponsored cancel-culture began.

In 2018, representatives of Facebook, Twitter, and Google were instructed on the US Senate floor that it is their responsibility to “quell information rebellions” and adopt a “mission statement” expressing their commitment to “prevent the fomenting of discord.”

“Civil wars don’t start with gunshots, they start with words,” the representatives were told.

“America’s war with itself has already begun. We all must act now on the social media battlefield to quell information rebellions that can quickly lead to violent confrontations and easily transform us into the Divided States of America.”

And now, 3 years later, all the ‘behind the scenes’ nods and winks are gone and conspiracy theories proved fact as Reuters reports The White House has been reaching out to social media companies including Facebook, Twitter and Alphabet Inc’s Google about clamping down on COVID misinformation and getting their help to stop it from going viral, a senior administration official said.

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Only You Can Beat Big Tech Censorship, by Tom Luongo

Well it looks like we’re going to have to outsmart our masters, which fortunately won’t be too hard. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:

When Facebook censors Ron Paul, or Twitter bans President Trump, is that censorship?

Or because these are private companies, does that automatically make it NOT censorship?


Amazon banned Parler, but is it their right as a private company to choose their customers?

That’s the crux of the issue I need to address with you in today’s post-Trump world of social media.

Because make no mistake “Big Tech” repression is a foundational problem facing any society that considers itself even somewhat free. In the wake of the allowed ‘assault on the Capitol’ and the confirmation of Joe Biden as the 46th president of the U.S., the big tech firms which control access to speech went ballistic.

Conservatives along with President Trump himself were wiped from the public square. Any mention of the election being stolen or open support on Twitter of Trump himself was flushed down the memory hole.

This is censorship of the highest order by these firms to put parameters around political speech in the U.S. where such a right is enshrined in the Constitution. None of it is constitutional.

But the problem is far deeper than that. The deplatforming of Parler, one alternative social media platform to Twitter, via corporate collusion by Apple, Google and Amazon was something far more sinister than Twitter silencing the sitting president of the U.S.

This was a blatant hit job by companies stifling competition in the public square for hosting material which is constitutionally protected as ‘free speech.’

But these firms, especially Amazon, who terminated Parler’s server hosting agreement with 24 hours’ notice, lazily applied their vague and ever-changing ‘Terms of Service” to single out Parler and hide behind their status as a private company.

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The Big Tech backfire, by Stephan L. Miller

Suppressing an idea on one platform doesn’t eliminate that idea, and usually the idea finds a home on another platform. From Stephan L. Miller at spectator.us:

How does forcing Trump supporters into seedier corners of the web help unite the country?

parler tech

(Getty)

If your aim is to stop America descending into civil conflict, it’s hard to think of a less effective method than forcing millions of people to abandon public platforms and instead use some segregated messaging system. Big Tech companies are not actually de-escalating hate online censorship, and corporate media companies are merely using their actions as an excuse to de-platform their ideological competition.

The Silicon Valley overlords should think about this as they carry out an unprecedented purge of users following the siege of the Capitol. President Trump’s personal and official Twitter accounts have been ‘permanently suspended’ (oxymoron?) and Facebook has banned him from posting. Conservative blue-checks have watched as tens of thousands of followers have disappeared from their Twitter accounts with little explanation. Cry us a river. CNN hall monitor Oliver Darcy used the opportunity to try to kneecap a competitor, urging cable companies to stop carrying Fox News.

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