This is a follow on from last week’s article about how the left possibly handed Trump the 2020 election.
In that article I said:
There was — and is — election meddling taking place, but it’s not from the Russians. Rather it’s from Silicon Valley companies, which today control the platforms that deliver the content the populace pay attention to.
Let’s take a step back for a minute and think about this.
Computers, we were told by James Cameron in “The Terminator”, would finish us all of… and maybe Cameron’s right in the end. What do I know?
Well, what I do know is the following…
Computers, and the software running on them, are ubiquitous and most of the laws written in any country on this planet were written before the rise of the new technologies we are now tethered to on a daily basis.
The practical implications of these technologies are currently misunderstood. I’d say massively so.
What’s more, these same companies — because they’re so rich — are also very powerful politically. Silicon Valley employs legions of political lobbyists. Those lobbyists may be there for the good of humanity and looking out for our wellbeing.
Then again, maybe not.
As we stand today, I suspect the business practices of Silicon Valley companies are not strictly speaking “illegal”. Again, the laws written are largely prior to these technologies having crashed into our living rooms and invaded our bedrooms to an extent that few appreciate the significance of.
These companies manipulate information, hide factual content, and — by channeling our eyeballs — have a meaningful impact on what we see and therefore what we believe.
Big Tech today dictates what is right and what is wrong, what is seen and therefore what is believed, and importantly it hides what it doesn’t want seen.
None of this is technically illegal.
Let’s revisit what we said in a post about social media companies:
It’s not a trite statement to say that communication is king. Always has been. Always will be.
Communication channels have always existed. The town square, the clergy, then the printing press, which birthed mainstream media outlets and now the online world: Facebook, Twitter, et al.
Bear in mind that with each change has come phenomenal transformation. For context, let’s not forget that the printing press has been implicated in the Reformation, the Renaissance, and the Scientific Revolution. Pretty dramatic events in mankind’s history, I dare say.
With information flow comes the ability to manipulate public opinion, and with THAT ability, the world’s your oyster. Entire nations have gone to war with the aid of men stirring up popular support.
The power to silence those you disagree with is an intoxicating one that few humans can resist. That power is increasingly being exerted by Big Tech.
What’s been most surprising, shocking actually, is the relative antipathy towards this.
It’s a truism that in war an army without supply lines lives on borrowed time. It’s why in every battle supply lines are absolutely critical.
In the war for our eyeballs and the ability therefore to control the information flow that we receive, Silicon Valley has proven to be a formidable player.
Cutting off the financial supply lines to those that Silicon Valley disagrees with (opposing alternative media outlets, political parties, and businesses) is now a well documented and yet at this point still unregulated affair.
PayPal has banned the United Kingdom Independence party (UKIP), Nigel Farage, the energy and architect behind Brexit. Pamela Geller was cut off, Project Veritas, cut off, Clarion Project, also cut off. Robert Spencer, Identity Europa, and of course Wikileaks — all banned.
Visa and Mastercard have blacklisted the David Horowitz foundation, Prager U, Jihad Watch, Christian Churches, and many more conservative groups, individuals and opinions. Again including, of course, Wikileaks.
When questioned about any blacklisting the response has always been a “cracking down on hate speech” or some such hogwash.
Aside from the fact that literally any speech could, under certain circumstances, be considered “hate speech”, even if this was the case, then the punishment is not universally applied.
Organisations which remain on these platforms while openly calling for violence include groups including ANTIFA, BLM, and an incredibly long list of extremist groups such as Hezbollah and Lashkar-e-Taiba to name but two.
Have a listen to Twitter execs being questioned on the Joe Rogan podcast about bias. It’s rather enlightening.
That Big Tech manipulate and control information flow is well documented. As authorities slowly wisen to the power they’ve accumulated, we’re going to see increased regulation and scrutiny.
Facebook has changed the fine print in its terms of service to clearly explain to users that it makes money by using their data, the European Commission said on April 9.
The social media giant modified its terms and conditions to better inform users what they are signing up for, the commission said. The new wording will clearly explain how Facebook uses the data it collects on users to develop profiling activities and target advertising to “finance” the company, it said.
The company made the changes after discussions with the commission and European consumer protection authorities. EU regulators stepped up scrutiny of Facebook’s terms after the Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal, in which data on 87 million Facebook users was allegedly improperly harvested.
What About Election Meddling?
And if we were ever in doubt to their political leanings, this leaked Google meeting put that to rest.
Well, if you’re the one in control of a powerful tool which allows you to skew the playing field to your advantage, such as the media, you’re rather happy.
That’s why freedom of speech and press freedoms aren’t allowed in Saudi “we cut your head of if you disagree” Arabia.
It’s why Erdogan in Turkey has been silencing the media.
It’s why all across this planet of ours we find that anywhere freedom of speech is discouraged or outlawed we find autocratic regimes and human rights abuses are extensive. And with it comes poverty. Real eat-out-of-the-trash-can, can’t-feed-your-family poverty.
The power wielded today by Big Tech is phenomenal, and we’re only beginning to realise how pervasive and powerful they are. It’s a very dangerous situation that arises when their abuses go unchecked. We only need look at any number of the world’s hell-holes to know that.
The West isn’t alone in this.
China understands it all too well. It’s why they’re implementing their social credit scoring system, which is truly frightening, even though most Chinese we’ve discussed this with fail to be particularly alarmed. The idea that the rights of the individual over the collective is preferable remains a Western phenomenon.
Facebook is banned in China. The CCP understands that Zuckerberg is collecting Chinese citizens’ data, user habits, thoughts, aspirations, political leanings, and everything in between. Facebook users may well be “dumb f*cks” but Xi and his cronies aren’t.
This sort of information is highly valuable to the CCP, which is why they’ll be damned if it’s Zuck who collects it on their citizens. This information is highly valuable to any political organisation, which is my point.
But we think that it’s an equally dangerous assumption to make that the acting governments of the day (no matter who they happen to be) will NOT act against Big Tech as it would amount to surrendering national sovereignty to a small handful of monopolists.
Maybe that happens, in which case we’ve all far greater problems ahead of us than we can imagine.
But the understanding and knowledge that these companies pose a serious threat to democracy is growing and with it will undoubtedly come more public backlash and more government oversight.
We fail to believe that the governments will allow Big Tech to be the ones who censor certain voices, influence, and “boost” others, thus directing the course of events.
And yeah, I get it governments would much rather control and use this information themselves for their own ends, but in a democratic setup all parties want that control which will mean that nobody gets to control it and it becomes regulated in some shape or form.
And with that oversight, regulation, and scrutiny we don’t think it’s a likely that investor sentiment DOESN’T change accordingly. Remember, these have been considered “growth” companies.
What happens when the growth narrative collides with the “highly regulated, under investigation” narrative?
We may be about to find out.
“The question isn’t, ‘What do we want to know about people?’, It’s, ‘What do people want to tell about themselves?'” — Mark Zuckerberg