Thoughts and analysis of the bias of silicon valley social media, and its potential effect
|Let me preface this by expressing that I, in no way endorse or support or even like Alex Jones, or Infowars in any capacity, in fact I find them highly detestable. Instead I am merely extrapolating the possible social ramifications of this unprecedented (although not entirely unexpected) action by a handful of corporate executives, living in a small 300 square mile area of San Francisco, and in the process, attempt to raise awareness, and prompt the discussion of what the recent actions of these companies, will mean for the future public discourse.
In recent weeks, Alex Jones has been effectively banned for life without appeal, from all social media platforms of major tech companies in Silicon Valley. The apparent reason for this is unceasing pressure from extreme left wing activists on these social media platforms. I myself, never really heard of Alex Jones, or Infowars until Mainstream media and alternative media sources started talking about him. I had however noticed the disturbing trend that these social media platforms have taken over the past few years, with regards to suppressing certain political viewpoints.
Alex Jones, and Infowars being banned in their entirety from yhe mainstream public discourse however, has now set a precedent. Because now, although Alex Jones has always been seen as controversial, his opinions contested at ever turn from multiple sides, and the fact that he had been almost non-stop sued for his conspiracy theories, he has, up until this point, not been prohibited from voicing his (highly controversial and divisive) opinion in the mainstream public discourse. Recently however, the Infowars website has been removed by internet and website service providers, and all of his accounts have been banned for violating vague, and highly subjective terms of service agreements, and in the case of his LinkedIn account, banned for no reason, because he never posts content to LinkedIn, it is extrordinarily unlikely he violated any ToS agreement, meaning his banning from that particular platform, in fact, had nothing to do with any of his actions on said platform, but was instead, done on a whim. The fact that the banning of his social media accounts (with the exception of Twitter, although Twitter has recently banned his account) happening all within hours of each other, shows that Silicon Valley is both willing, and able, to effectively remove someone from the mainstream public discourse, despite said individual (although expressing opinions that were highly undesireable) was not doing anything illegal, meaning that these companies, can and will silence any influence you may be able to have on the public discourse, if you express opinions that they find objectionable, which in an of itself, is a highly subjective judgment, these companies are all within a 300 square mile area of San Francisco, a very heavily left leaning area politically speaking, meaning that it is entirely likely, that if Alex Jones was preaching a left wing political message, although with the same level of extremism, he would not have been banned, since at the end of the day, these companies made a subjective judgment when deciding to ban Alex Jones.
Now, before I continue, I will address some possible counter-arguments to the point I am trying to make, one of which being the argument, that Alex Jones' opinions, have caused violence. I will make the counter-argument, that every political movement has its shooter. There was a shooter who was chanting "free speach or die", there was also a transgender shooter, and a female shooter who shot up a Youtube office building, because her videos had been demonetized. My point is, that no matter what political views you may hold, every demographic, will have at least a tiny minority of extreme lunatics who see violence as a means to an end, and that even if that minority is 0.01% of the total population of said demographic, that will still leave dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of lunatics in every political movement, depending on how large they are. Plus, to my knowledge, Alex Jones has never outright advocated for political violence, although I never watched his content so I don't know for sure, but even if he did, and such actions were the justification for his deplatforming, would than not also put left wing politicians such and the Democrat from California's Maxine Waters in the same exact category? Waters has, in public, and on the street, advocated for the verbal abuse, and public harassment of her own political opponents. Arguably her case is more egregious since she is a public official, yet has openly advocated for political intimidation tactics. Has she been removed from the political discourse in the same manner as Alex Jones has? Has her career been threatened because of this? The answer is no. Leaving the only logical conclusion being, that either Silicon valley are unaware of her actions, an incredibly unlikely case seeing as how she is a public official in California, and an outspoken one at that, and if they are ignorant it indicates a gross level of ineptitude on their part. Or the other alternative, which is they do not view her public calls for political intimidation and harassment of conservatives, subjectively objectionable, this would be a level of hipocrasy and a bias application of their rules, unnacceptable for a small handful of companies that, as demonstrated, can and will control whether or not you can participate in the public discourse, if you say the wrong thing.
Let me bring up another recent example, of political bias in Silicon Valley. There was recently a Twitter account by the name of blue check watch, posting under #VerifiedHate the account was, in its entirety, dedicated to the reposting of tweets by verified blue checkmarks that contained anti-white racist comments, incitements for violence against whites, and death threats to president Trump and his family, BEFORE you dismiss this as false, I would suggest you search the hashtag yourself, these are real posts, by real blue checkmarks, whose accounts are still active. Can you imagine, the backlash that would occur if every single instance of the word 'white' in these posts were replaced with any other ethnicity? Would an account posting such a comment not be banned immediately? Regardless, the account reposting these anti-white tweets, was suspended from twitter, after being active for less than a month. Why was this a reasonable thing to do? This was merely an account dedicated to the finding, and archiving of instances of unpunished hateful content being published. The only conclusion is political bias. The fact that these huge tech companies can do this is less objectional to me, than the fact that the reasons these accounts are being banned for reasons that are not being applied equally.
There is a term for societies in which one set of rules applies to one portion of the population, while an entirely different set of rules applies to the rest of the population, it is an aristocracy, not a democracy. The common citizen, has no legal recourse against being removed from the public discourse by these tech companies. This in turn creates a sense of powerlessness, which will manifest in a demand for action by their politicians, however the impression I have gotten from many conservative public officials, suggests that they do not understand how much influence Silicon Valley truly has over the public discussion. In favt, up until the day before Jack appeared before congress, many conservative politicians social media accounts were being suppressed, and/or shadowbanned on Twitter, yet the Conservative politicians, by in large, appear to be unaware of this. Historically when a large portion of the population of a country have a problem that they cannot solve for themselves, and their politicians ignore their concerns, it very often reults in a spiral in which support for extremist politicians grows, since the general public feels that the more centrist politicians are incapable of action. A very clear example of this, would be Nazi Germany. Although we are not in Weimar Germany, I do not feel that this is inevitable destiny of the US, we do not, for example, have a great depression exacerbating the situation. But nevertheless if more moderate politicians do not solve a problem affecting a significant portion of the population, then if a politician comes along, promising a solution to the problem, the average voter (if desperate enough) may not care how extreme the politician's views might be, and cast their vote anyway. But I digress.
The way I see it, in order to prevent a dangerous spiral into either a society where the public discourse is controlled entirely by a small handfull of tech companies, who by the way may be left leaning now, but there is no guarantee that they will stay that way, a CEO change where the CEO holds more extreme right-wing views for example, or if the company gets bought out by foreign nationals, thereby potentially granting immense control over the public discourse to a nation outside of NATO. Or a violent revolution, spurred on by a significant portion of the population feeling that they have no say in the public discourse. To prevent those, or other undesireably events, one of two things has to happen,
A mass exodus of users from these platforms, to newer platforms that hold free speech as one of their founding values, and in fact market themselves as free speech platforms, such as Gab.ai, Bitchute, and Minds.com.
Government regulation stating that social media platforms may not ban or supress accounts for any reason other than
A) The account is or has been used for activities that are illegal in the country the account is based.
B) The account is spreading private, need to know information about someone other than the user of said account without the owner of said information's knowledge, such as financial information. social security number, credit card information, etc.
Age restrictions placed on mature content, however unless said content is covered in A and B, may ONLY be age gated, and not supressed in any other manner, e.g.e no shadow-banning of age restricted material if the age gating conditions are met.
This would NOT, be something that the government would directly oversee, e.g.e the government would not directly regulate internet content, or ban accounts themselves. This would, instead, be a system where the social media companies themselves are held liable for, and required to provide both monetary compensation, and unban the account/content if it was not illegal in the country of origin, or contained sensitive financial information. The government would not directly regulate the companies, but would instead, provide a legal process for the average user to hold the companies accountable to the general public for banning/suppressing content that is not illegal. It would be be the responsibility of the users of said platforms to notify the government of their content being suppressed so that a legal process could commence, it would not be the government's responsibility to initiate the legal process themselves.
The original purpose of the internet is to facilitate the free exchange of information and ideas, and Silicon Valley has since started to pervert that purpose, to instead only facilitate the spread of far left-wing talking points, while suppressing center-left, libertarian, and right-wing talking points. It is not their place to make a subjective judgment on what can, and cannot be said in the public discourse, it is up to the average user to judge for themselves. The average person is not an impressionable child, and can make descisions for themselves.