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Frequent users of Twitter and YouTube will be the first to tell you the social media platforms now censor with impunity, falling back on the coronavirus pandemic as their reasoning.
In effect, the left-leaning social media platforms have not let a crisis go to waste, rendering online content they disagree with short-lived. So much so that users now accept the heavy-handed approach.
As left-leaning magazine The Atlantic ballyhooed, “Internet Speech Will Never Go Back to Normal.”
“Covid-19 has emboldened American tech platforms to emerge from their defensive crouch,” the article noted. “Before the pandemic, they were targets of public outrage over life under their dominion. Today, the platforms are proudly collaborating with one another, and following government guidance, to censor harmful information related to the coronavirus.”
Joseph Goebbels would surely approve of the collaborative effort from Harvard Law professor Jack Goldsmith and University of Arizona College of Law professor Andrew Keane Woods.
The duo cites a quote from Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, who apparently sees himself and the other tech giants as the “new superpower.”
“The world has faced pandemics before, but this time we have a new superpower: the ability to gather and share data for good,” Zuckerberg declared.
The piece also noted that civil-rights groups “are tolerating” the censorship measures — the common bond here being that they all share the same liberal constitution.
The extraordinary effort to censor is presented as progress, an “acceleration” of development that’s here to stay.
“Powerful forces were pushing toward greater censorship and surveillance of digital networks long before the coronavirus jumped out of the wet markets in Wuhan, China, and they will continue to do so once the crisis passes,” Goldsmith and Woods wrote.
Hell, they practically bemoan the Constitution, as they point out that private entities must engage in the “sound, digital surveillance and speech control” seen in China, at the hands of the authoritarian Communist government.
“But the trend toward greater surveillance and speech control here, and toward the growing involvement of government, is undeniable and likely inexorable,” they state.
Oh, it gets better:
“In the great debate of the past two decades about freedom versus control of the network, China was largely right and the United States was largely wrong. Significant monitoring and speech control are inevitable components of a mature and flourishing internet, and governments must play a large role in these practices to ensure that the internet is compatible with a society’s norms and values.”
In the professors’ eyes, the Chinese Communist Party’s quest to control the internet won out over U.S. values, where “more speech” was supposed to “lead to democratic revolutions around the world.”
Fox News host Tucker Carlson sounded the alarm on Big Tech censorship this week after Google-owned YouTube removed a video featuring California emergency-room physicians Dr. Dan Erickson and Dr. Artin Massihi.
The doctors have a combined 40 years of experience treating viruses and respiratory infections, and they urged the US to reopen its economy, calling the shutdown overly restrictive and insisting that it’s not backed by science.
Carlson ripped the censorship, saying YouTube’s ban of any video that contradicts the World Health Organization is a blatant violation of free speech.
Of course, the elephant in the room is the November election. After President Trump shocked the political class in 2016, an autopsy of the left’s presidential aspirations was conducted and it was determined that earned media and social media platforms both played a role in Trump’s success.
Henceforth, the networks go to great lengths to limit Trump’s air time, which helps explain CNN’s decision not to air the president’s comments during the White House coronavirus briefings.
And the tech giants are equally determined to ensure that their platforms play no role in a possible repeat in 2020.
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