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"The tyranny of Big Tech is the biggest threat to democracy in our lifetime"

Hit them ever harder, Mr. President! The tyranny of Big Tech is the biggest threat to democracy in our lifetime

Mitchell Feierstein

Mitchell Feierstein is the CEO of Glacier Environmental Fund and author of ‘Planet Ponzi: How the World Got into This Mess, What Happens Next, and How to Protect Yourself.’ He spends his time between London and Manhattan. Join Mitch on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook – @Planetponzi

29 May, 2020 13:35

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Donald Trump should crack down more deeply on the censorship and duplicitous behaviour of social media oligarchs. Hit them with huge fines and offer whistleblowers up to a billion dollars to come forward and reveal all.

Western society has relegated democracy to the dustbin of history. Sadly, we are now ruled by oligarchs within a narrow dual-justice oligarchy: one rule for thee (conservative voices) and another for me (liberal voices).

The oligarchs of Silicon Valley – Twitter, Facebook and Google – deploy a bunch of faceless moderators as proxies armed with their bias, animus, and liberally skewed algorithms that only allow you to see what they want you to see, and everything and everyone else is censored.

Does this sound scary? Well, you should be terrified. Welcome to the reality of today’s tech tyranny. Silicon Valley is now too powerful to regulate thanks to its partnership with Washington’s “pay-to-play politicians.”

Also on Trump signs social media executive order challenging platforms' liability protections

The Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, is 80 years old. Does anyone believe Ms. Pelosi understands how dangerous algorithms may be for a democratic society? Or even how the internet works? 

What Pelosi understands, after 33 years deep in the bowels of Washington DC’s swamp, is how to raise vast sums of money from special interest groups. Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook was one of Nancy Pelosi’s top contributors in 2019-20. Pelosi serves as a perfect example of why Congress needs term limits. 

Since 2017, I have been warning how social media censorship by Twitter, Facebook, Google, Amazon, YouTube, etc. presents the greatest danger to democracy in our lifetime. It is easy for moderators to decide what or who become ‘trends’ on social media platforms and who is shadowbanned or censored. Three years ago, I wrote: 

Throughout the history of human civilisation, including periods of ecclesiastical rule, no entity has had as much power to influence and control the social and political ideals of billions of people with zero oversight or regulation as these tech giants… And how the big four tech giants teamed up and tried to influence the outcome of the 2016 Presidential elections.

Also on Twitter needs Trump more than Trump needs Twitter: Why @realDonaldTrump should do a Joe Rogan to punish the social media giant

I reiterate my long-held position that: “The time has come for US, UK and EU politicians to realize that Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp are publishers. As such, Congress must remove Facebook’s exemption under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which affords tech platforms, not publishers, with immunity from lawsuits arising out of their decisions to host (or not to host) user-generated content.”

I have also been warning about Jack Dorsey and Twitter’s tainted culture and extreme liberal bias. Vijaya Gadde, the head of Twitter’s policy, legal and “trust and safety department,” is openly and aggressively politically partisan and a Democratic Party activist who regularly contributes large sums of cash to fund Democrat candidates. Gadde is just one example of the toxic management culture and group-think that Dorsey has created and supports at Twitter. The two tweets Gadde posted below illustrate my point:

Such an honor to meet @HillaryClinton today. Amazing talk at @twitter - full of great advice and inspiration!

— Vijaya Gadde (@vijaya) July 22, 2014

"I’ve never met a national politician in the U.S. who is so ill informed, evasive, puerile and deceptive as Trump."

— Vijaya Gadde (@vijaya) March 27, 2016

This week, Twitter took its liberal bias out on the president of the United States by inaccurately deploying a liberal “fact checker” to imply that President Trump’s tweet regarding “Mail-in-ballots” was “fake news.” US media have long poured petrol on the blaze, acting as anti-Trump political operatives rather than fact finders, bias I have highlighted before.

In response, Trump rightly accused Twitter of bias and political activism against conservatives. After threatening to do so for three years, Trump this week finally signed an executive order (EO) designed to increase the government’s ability to regulate social media platforms.

READ MORE: Trump threatens to SHUT DOWN social media after spat with Twitter over mail-in voting criticism

The EO focuses on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act which I wrote about above. It may, in theory, allow the government to strip the companies’ immunity from lawsuits arising out of their decisions to host (or not to host) user-generated content, but the practical and implementation details of Trump’s order remain to be seen. Even Trump admits this will all end up in the courts and eventually be taken to the Supreme Court.

This 24-year-old law drastically requires revision. The Big Tech companies control the dissemination of today’s news flow, and they are clearly out of control. While the current government seeks to allow conservative voices to be heard, if it is voted out of office in an election influenced by these powerful tech oligarchs, we will have complete tyranny. Our society will be more controlled than China.

Twitter, Facebook, Google, YouTube, and the other social media companies are anything but neutral public-square “platforms” that only disseminate content. When Twitter began editing its content, it ceased being a passive platform that allowed users to post whatever they wanted as long as it was within Twitter’s “community guidelines,” and became a publisher. But enforcement was never equal – it was one rule for thee (censorship of conservative voices), and one rule for me (total acceptance of liberal voices).

Also on Trump accuses Twitter of election meddling after it bows to outrage mob & ‘fact-checks’ his tweets about mail-in ballots

Twitter and all the other social media companies are acting as publishers that curate content and actively make, direct and manage editorial decisions. These companies create blacklists, shadow ban users, and censor users and content from publishers whenever a ‘moderator’ finds the material disagreeable.

These liberal social media behemoths have become more aggressively biased against all conservative voices, and they will use their political activism to influence the outcome of November’s presidential election.

How dangerous can Twitter’s actions be? Well, it waited over 12 hours to label as “fake media” pictures of what appeared to be the Minneapolis cop who horrifically murdered George Floyd, wearing a red hat that said, “Make America White Again.” By the time Twitter added a note warning users that these pictures were “manipulated media,” the damage had already been done. Celebrities had re-tweeted these fake photos so millions were exposed and an already highly racially-charged environment was quickly tipped over the edge, turning protests into mass riots where streets were set ablaze in cities across America.

Also on ‘Election process will become badly tainted & laughingstock’: Trump doubles down on mail-in voting in heated tweet

Offer a billion-dollar reward for social media whistleblowers

If President Trump and the government are serious about addressing the bias of these social media companies, I suggest the following measures be taken immediately:

1. Set up a truly independent panel of experts. Provide whistleblower protection to any social media employee willing to provide evidence that leads to the conviction of management and other employees involved in the following:

- Helping create algorithms that result in any unlawful activities, such as manipulating or influencing any countries’ federal or state elections

- Providing foreign governments with programs, such as Google’s Dragonfly, that help suppress their populations or enable genocide

- Helping facilitate through the use of manipulated media, acts of violence, such as civil unrest, or acts that impede free speech or human rights

- The whistleblower will receive up to 50 percent of the fine imposed on the social media company, up to a billion dollars.

2. The president issues another EO with immediate effect prohibiting all federal government agencies from advertising on social media.

3. To ensure that everyone’s First Amendment rights to free speech are protected and that the Silicon Valley oligarchs stop the manipulation of content, fine them each a couple of billion dollars and offer a reward of up to a billion dollars to the whistleblowers if the information leads to the successful prosecution of a social media company.

The Silicon Valley oligarchs may be political activists currently hiding behind Section 230 immunity, but money talks – and a billion dollars can do a lot of talking. And it will finally reveal the truth about these sinister, manipulative, anti-democratic social media monsters.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.


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