- We recently took a deep dive into the practices of the main players in Big Tech & how they are using your personal data for several reasons that rarely benefit the individual in question. But what about when Big Tech decides that they do not like what you are saying? Or the views of a certain group or political party? What happens when there is a narrative or ideology that conflicts with Big Tech’s own beliefs or perspective? What happens when all the main channels of global information are controlled by a small group of powerful corporations with the power to censor those they disagree with?? What the f*** do you think!?
Big Tech censorship is one of those inevitable evils which we all saw coming yet refused to do anything about. It crept in under the guise of ‘de-platforming’ evil groups such as ISIS, al-Qaeda, One Direction & the KKK but soon manifested into a mainstay of the ‘cancel culture’ we found ourselves in these past few years. The move toward social media as the primary news source for many and the massive investigations into the alleged interference by Russia in the 2016 US Presidential election created enough potentially valid reasons for the likes of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google to curate their platforms in a way that ensures credibility but it also offered enough of a smokescreen for nefarious actors within these organisations to create a totalitarian model for censoring content.
Now the algorithms and AI functions they use might be Big Techs way of claiming it’s not their fault when their censorship takes on a clearly liberal progressive bias but 2020’s Covid-19 pandemic changed things. It took these previously fringe complaints of conservatives and conspiracy theorists completely mainstream as a panicked world searching for truth watched in disbelief as post after post was removed for disagreeing with or objecting to the gospel according to WHO. You know, those guys who told us there was no human-to-human transmission and essentially got every other step of the pandemic wrong? Well, you can be censored for posting content that disagrees with their narrative, you can be banned for sharing the views of medical doctors who have criticised them and you can even be de-platformed or demonetized for repeatedly calling out the decisions taken by governments on the basis of WHO’s recommendations. But do not worry guys, it is all for your own safety.
Most of these companies are based in the US and operate until a special law which means they do not accept any liability for content published on their platforms as they would if they were publishers like this magazine or New York Times etc. They are not subject to libel action and they cannot be held accountable for any type of content which is uploaded to their platforms. They are not responsible. To avoid the liability associated with being a publisher they use community guidelines which all users must agree to – and this is where it gets murky. How and to who they apply these vague and flimsy guidelines is where they can silence dissent, shadow ban individuals and even completely kill news stories before the public has a chance to see both sides. Controlling the flow of information, disinformation and creating complete echo chambers of confirmation bias is how their algorithms can and will dictate our future – or even worse, our past.
Freedom of speech is dead and if what we consume is what we think, freedom of thought might just be next.
“In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”
― George Orwell