Kaufman: Big Tech unchained

One thing’s for certain: these companies are publishers and censors, not public squares for robust debate. 

C-Span screenshot

Silicon Valley is emboldened after Joe Biden’s win, and especially with their Democrat allies controlling the U.S. Senate. Having donated to Joe Biden over President Donald Trump at a 20 to 1 rate, there is no check on Big Tech oligarchs.

Apple and Amazon recently halted support for Parler, the social-media service that’s soared in popularity the last few months as progressive tech giants aggressively police content they deem dangerous. Heavy criticism came from online conservatives who felt the effort was biased against them. Specifically, Amazon said it would no longer provide cloud-computing services to Parler, and Apple suspended the companies from the App Store.

Parler announced Monday afternoon it will sue Amazon, arguing the suspension from Amazon’s hosting service violates antitrust laws and is a breach of contract.

“We have always supported diverse points of view being represented on the App Store, but there is no place on our platform for threats of violence and illegal activity,” Apple said in a statement.

The announcements from the trillion dollar corporations came a day after Google — a company known for enabling totalitarian governments to censor speech and monitor people’s internet searches — suspended Parler from its marketplace, citing “longstanding policies require that apps displaying user-generated content have moderation policies and enforcement that removes egregious content like posts that incite violence.”

Reports are that planning for Wednesday’s invasion, however, was done on Facebook, not Parler.

Unlike many on talk radio and cable news, I was never a huge fan of Twitter Trump. For every time he “went around the media,” he tweeted three items that made him look ill-informed or unhinged. I also think it’s fair to say the president often fought for himself if issues affected him personally, more than everyday Americans.

It also caused disingenuous media to confront innocent conservative politicians with “do you agree with Trump?” or “what do you think about Trump’s tweet”? That is never helpful.

But, like the ACLU, Angela Merkel and Mexico’s president, I oppose Twitter’s recent ban of Trump’s personal account.

Twitter’s problem is they specifically stated they won’t suspend or ban accounts of political leaders in power, even when they violate the rules of service. Why? Because seeing those tweets, they claim, is in the public interest. So Holocaust-denying Ayatollah Khamenei wishing death to Jews is fine and apparently has a public interest component; anti-Semitic bigot Louis Farrakhan also remains welcome on social media; and the Chinese foreign ministry is not censored as it spreads dangerous lies daily.

Lacking consistency, Twitter reversed their own rule for Trump.

“It’s very akin of what you have in terms of a social credit system in China,” the Federalist’s Ben Domenech, who has experience with Google censorship, said on Fox News. “It’s just that over there, the rules are kind of clear. Here they can change the terms of service in any way they want to achieve the ends they want … they really come down to, if we don’t like you, we’re going to get rid of you and we’ll find a reason for why.”

Claiming, “Republicans have no way to communicate,” Rep. Devin Nunes recently  called for a RICO investigation into the anti-speech efforts.

He explained Parler is safer than other social media platforms because users have to prove their identity, receiving a badge once it’s supplied, saying they’re a real person.

Regardless, one thing’s for certain: these companies are publishers and censors, not public squares for robust debate.