Welcome to America, the land of the free… unless you happen to voice an opinion the tech giants don’t agree with, in which case you’re as good as dead. They might not physically place your body in the firing line, but their censorship and de-platforming is effectively killing those who dare to share an opposing point of view – and it’s a problem that is poised to get even worse.
In a recent opinion piece for The Hill, Donald Trump Jr. drew attention to the growing problem of Big Tech’s censorship of conservatives. Listing problems like shadow bans on Twitter and Facebook, pulled ads for Republican candidates and the demonetization of videos on YouTube, he wrote: “Our right to freely engage in public discourse through speech is under sustained attack, necessitating a vigorous defense against the major social media and internet platforms.”
He points to how Facebook has tailored its algorithm to single out the style and syntax often used by conservatives – looking out for terms like “SJW” (social justice worker) and “mainstream media” – and using that to de-boost those users’ content.
Social media and financial blacklisting on the rise
Consider what happened to controversial talk show host Alex Jones, who was booted off all social media platforms last August at once after the various platforms ganged up against him. Conservative activist Laura Loomer had already been banned from Twitter and PayPal when she discovered that Chase Bank had also banned her and she was blocked from accessing her bank account using their app.
She’s not the only one; half a dozen other conservatives say that Chase Bank’s online banking platform has given them the boot, including Trump-supporting Army combat veteran Joe Biggs. Mastercard and Discover, meanwhile, blacklisted the conservative Islam critic Robert Spencer while Mastercard and Visa cut off service to David Horowitz. Financial blacklisting is on the rise, with the Electronic Frontier Foundation warning via Breitbart News last summer that payment processors and banks were turning into “de facto internet censors.”
It’s easy to see where this is headed. Deplatforming and censorship is almost like being executed – perhaps not in a literal sense but in terms of being essentially “de-personed.” This isn’t just a problem that the Alex Joneses of the world, whose livelihoods arguably depend on reaching a wide enough audience, have to worry about – every single one of us stands to lose — and lose big — if we find ourselves on the wrong side of Big Tech.
Facebook and Apple’s social credit scores not unlike communist China
Facebook has already admitted that it ranks users on a trustworthiness scale. While we don’t know everything this reputation score is used for, we do know that the scores are used to decide whether the posts a user flags as false should be reviewed by fact checkers or ignored. Facebook has access to a significant amount of very personal data about more than 2 billion people, and it’s just a matter of time before this ranking system is