The America First Policy Institute (AFPI) announced on Tuesday that the organization will expand its reach by establishing the Center for Election Integrity (CEI).
“Free and fair elections are the cornerstone of our democracy, and I’m looking forward to seeing the Center for Election Integrity work in the states to help them strengthen their state election laws and fight for the voting rights of their citizens,” said AFPI President and CEO Brooke Rollins.
The tech industry’s anti-terrorism alliance announced Monday it would begin tracking content from far-right organization in a shared counter-terrorism database used by major tech companies.
The Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT), a non-profit organization founded by Microsoft, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, will add manifestos, posts and links from far-right militias flagged by U.N. anti-terrorist group Tech Against Terrorism to a shared database, GIFCT told Reuters. The organization will also share content flagged by Five Eyes, a global partnership between intelligence agencies in the U.S. and other countries, Reuters reported.
The database, established in 2017 and shared exclusively by the tech giants, aggregates hashes, or digital signatures, of images, videos and URLs, allowing tech companies to easily remove logged content, according to the GIFCT website. The database was previously focused on content primarily from Islamic terror organizations, according to Reuters.
Senate Democrats introduced legislation Thursday removing liability protections from online platforms that promote content deemed health misinformation.
The bill, proposed by Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Ben Ray Lujan on Thursday, seeks to carve out an exception from Section 230 liability shields enjoyed by online platforms, such as Facebook or YouTube, if those platforms boost content classified as health misinformation, Vox first reported.
The legislation, known as the Health Misinformation Act, directs the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to create a definition of health misinformation, and strips liability protections from platforms “if the provider promotes that health misinformation through an algorithm used by the provider.” HHS defined health misinformation in an advisory last week as “information that is false, inaccurate, or misleading according to the best available evidence.”
Three Senate Republicans introduced a bill Wednesday requiring the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to consider collecting revenue from major tech companies to fund broadband internet.
The Funding Affordable Internet with Reliable Contributions Act, introduced by Sens. Roger Wicker, Todd Young, and Shelley Moore Capito, directs the FCC to consider collecting Universal Service Fund (USF) contributions from Big Tech companies “such as YouTube, Netflix, and Google,” the lawmakers announced in a statement Wednesday. USF is a subsidy fund of the FCC that dispenses around $10 billion a year for broadband internet infrastructure in rural areas, according to the FCC website.
Republican Reps. Ken Buck and Lance Gooden announced Friday the launch of the Freedom from Big Tech Caucus, a group of House Republicans working towards reining in major tech companies.
The caucus will focus on addressing anticompetitive and monopolistic practices by major tech companies, political censorship, and Big Tech’s relationship with China, Buck and Gooden announced in a statement. The caucus will also include Reps. Madison Cawthorn, Burgess Owens, and Paul Gosar, according to the announcement.
“Big Tech has abused its market power for decades, and Congress must act to hold these companies accountable and preserve the free market, promote competition and innovation, protect the freedom of speech, and foster a thriving digital economy,” Buck said in the statement.
In a Thursday press conference, Press Secretary to President Joe Biden admitted that the White House is colluding with Facebook to censor content on the social media platform.
“We are in regular touch with the social media platforms and those engagements typically happen through members of our senior staff and also members of our COVID-19 team — given as Dr. Murthy conveyed, this is a big issue, of misinformation, specifically on the pandemic,” Psaki reportedly said
For Big Tech billionaires, these are the best of times, and the worst of times.
Why the best? Because the long arm of social media and online commerce has never reached further and deeper into Americans’ culture, spending habits, lifestyles, and worldview. Likewise, the net worth of these billionaires has risen to undreamed-of heights. COVID was, for tech barons, a blessing in disguise: it trapped Americans indoors, where they could do little else but browse the web, consume digital entertainment, and spend their stimulus dollars on imported Chinese doohickeys. Even as the dreaded virus has retreated, Big Tech has successfully locked in its gains.
Why the worst of times, though? The very rise of Big Tech has portended greater scrutiny. The debasement of Big Tech’s competitors and natural enemies—from brick-and-mortar stores to Trump supporters—has ensured that the drumbeat of criticism of social media companies and online retailers has never been more stridently percussive.
YouTube deleted the American Conservative Union’s (ACU) video featuring former President Trump announcing his class-action lawsuit against Big Tech, citing an alleged violation of its COVID-19 terms and conditions.
The ACU, which hosts the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), received “a strike” on their account from YouTube on July 9, preventing them from uploading new content for a week. This includes ACU’s CPAC 2021 Part 2 in Dallas, Texas, and Trump’s CPAC speech scheduled for Sunday, the organization said in a statement.
In the deleted YouTube video of Trump’s announcement of a lawsuit against Big Tech, which includes Google, he also cited a medical study on hydroxychloroquine as a therapeutic for COVID-19.
The founder of CloutHub, a free speech social media network, has responded to former President Donald J. Trump’s class action lawsuit against several Silicon Valley titans, which the forty-fifth president announced Wednesday.
“I am pleased that President Trump is fighting back against Big Tech corporations after enduring months of blatant injustices,” Jeff Brain said in press release. “His lawsuit is based on the infringement of his fundamental free speech rights that powerful companies such as Facebook and Twitter imposed based on their own political bias; a bias that has no place with such important keepers of our national public square online.”
Tech giant Amazon recently demanded that the chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission be recused from any antitrust investigations into the company, according to the Daily Caller.
Amazon filed the petition with the FTC on Wednesday, accusing Chairwoman Lina Khan of being biased due to the fact that she “has, on numerous occasions, argued that Amazon is guilty of antitrust violations and should be broken up.” The petition continued by declaring that “these statements convey to any reasonable observer the clear impression that she has already made up her mind about many material facts relevant to Amazon’s antitrust culpability as well as about the ultimate issue of culpability itself.”
The FTC is already conducting several antitrust investigations, including against Amazon; their most recent efforts are focusing on Amazon’s possible acquisition of the film studio Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM), a purchase of nearly $9 billion announced last month.
Last-minute changes to major antitrust legislation working its way through the House appears to exempt several Big Tech companies from being affected by its regulations.
The legislation, which has been months in the making and was crafted to take on Big Tech monopolies, targets a handful of companies while excluding others that also have massive market power, a leading expert told the Daily Caller News Foundation. Existing federal and state antitrust law already prohibits a wide range of anticompetitive business activity across all industries like unlawful mergers and monopolization.
A scientist who credits himself as the inventor of mRNA vaccines, and has warned that they carry risks downplayed in the COVID-19 pandemic, said this week that LinkedIn “shut down” his personal account without explanation.
“The historic record of what I have done, stated, figured out (and when) etc. over time is a key part of establishing my credibility and track record as a professional,” Robert Malone tweeted Wednesday. “And that has been erased completely and arbitrarily without warning or explanation.”
Federal law enforcement agencies covertly request thousands of Microsoft users’ information every year, a company executive told a congressional committee Wednesday.
Vice President for Customer Security and Trust Tom Burt told the House Judiciary Committee at a hearing on “Secrecy Orders and Prosecuting Leaks: Potential Legislative Responses to Deter Prosecutorial Abuse of Power” that Microsoft receives between 2,400 and 3,500 secrecy orders a year, or about 7 to 10 a day, from federal law enforcement agencies.
“Most shocking is just how routine secrecy orders have become when law enforcement targets an American’s email, text messages or other sensitive data stored in the cloud,” Burt told the committee.
Facebook’s market capitalization, or total dollar value, closed above $1 trillion for the first time ever Monday, making it the fifth U.S. company to reach such size.
Facebook exceeded the $1 trillion mark after a year in which the company experienced massive user and earnings growth, CNBC reported. Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft and Amazon – all fellow Big Tech companies – are the only other U.S. companies that have also surpassed $1 trillion in market capitalization, according to Axios.
Microsoft was given an advance copy of major antitrust legislation, a document given to Republican Rep. Thomas Massie by a whistleblower appeared to show.
The document is the original version of the Platform Competition and Opportunity Act, one of Democrats’ six pending antitrust bills targeting Big Tech, according to Rep. Thomas Massie. Every page of the document, which the Daily Caller News Foundation obtained on Wednesday, is watermarked with the text “CONFIDENTIAL – Microsoft.”
“I just came into possession of a document that everyone needs to know about,” Massie said during the Judiciary Committee markup of the legislation on Wednesday. “It’s marked ‘CONFIDENTIAL – Microsoft.’ A whistleblower provided this. It’s the first draft of one of these bills that would’ve covered Microsoft. This begs the question: did Microsoft have this bill and the other bills that we are voting on today before I had this bill?”
There are few, if any, political issues that now generate the breadth and intensity of bipartisan backlash as does the rise of Big Tech.
During Donald Trump’s presidency, the major parties largely diverged on their specific grievances against the woke Silicon Valley monopolists who serve as gatekeepers for America’s 21st-century public square. Republicans, by and large, focused on censorship of conservative online speech. Democrats, by contrast, tended to focus on economic concentration; the five American corporations with the largest market caps, for example, are tech behemoths Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Google Alphabet, and Facebook. This divergence has stymied efforts to rein in the Big Tech oligarchy on issues such as Section 230, the 1990s-era provision permitting platforms to engage in publisher-like content-moderation decisions without being legally treated as publishers.
Conservatives still have myriad concerns with Big Tech’s noxious brew of speech suppressions, shadow bans, and unaccountable deplatformings. Those concerns are both legitimate and justified by Big Tech’s ever-expanding list of misdeeds. But there is an emerging sea change in the way conservatives conceptualize the relationship between Big Tech’s unfettered content-moderation leeway and the sheer economic clout wielded by the relevant corporate actors.
Joe Biden signed an executive order updating the United States’ list of blacklisted Chinese companies, dropping the ban on at least one company that was originally put on the list by President Donald Trump, the Washington Free Beacon reports.
Biden lifted the blacklist on the company Sugon, which was first banned by President Trump in November of 2020. The company is responsible for selling “supercomputers” to the Chinese military, for use in nuclear weapons research. Sugon also specializes in facial recognition software, cloud computing, and other surveillance technology that has been used by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) against the Uyghur Muslim population.
Although Biden’s updated list still maintains bans on such companies as Huawei and Hikvision, the removal of Sugon was noted as “strange” by Michael Sobolik, a fellow with the American Foreign Policy Council.
A lawsuit filed on Tuesday by Ohio Attorney General David Yost aims to make Google a public utility, limiting the ways the search engine provides search results.
“Google uses its dominance of internet search to steer Ohioans to Google’s own products–that’s discriminatory and anti-competitive,” Yost said in a statement announcing the lawsuit. “When you own the railroad or the electric company or the cellphone tower, you have to treat everyone the same and give everybody access.”
After months of aggressively censoring what it called “COVID-19 misinformation,” Facebook recently announced that it would no longer block user posts claiming that the coronavirus was “man-made” or “manufactured.” That’s because those posts, which typically referenced the work of scientists who supported the idea of a possible coronavirus “lab leak” from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, now appear to have been credible.
This entire episode should be extremely embarrassing for Facebook, a company so confident it has cornered the market on “truth” that it has made it their prerogative to “fact-check” individual user posts, banning anything that fails to comport with Silicon Valley’s extreme left-wing view of reality. Last year, Facebook banned an ad from the American Principles Project PAC claiming Joe Biden and the Democrats would destroy girls’ sports by supporting policies that allowed boys who identify as transgender to compete against girls.
Facebook said the ad was “missing context,” and so our PAC wasn’t allowed to communicate with voters. On Joe Biden’s first day as president, he signed an executive order specifically allowing these boys to compete in girls’ sports.
Big Tech has betrayed the American people yet again – despite hopes that Facebook would finally reverse it’s ban on Donald Trump’s account, the social media giant has re-committed to a path of dangerous partisan censorship.
On Wednesday, an oversight board established by Facebook ruled that it would not be overturning the platform’s January decision to suspend Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts.
Many Republicans in Congress have reignited their calls to break up the big tech companies after Facebook announced last week they would maintain the suspension of former President Donald Trump’s account.
A new poll released by Rasmussen Friday found that 59% of likely voters “believe operators of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are politically biased in the decisions they make” with only 26% disagreeing. The rest are unsure.
The poll results went on to say that “a majority of voters now favor ending legal protections for social media companies.” The reported public opinion against the tech giants comes the same week Facebook announced they would keep Trump suspended from their platform, citing his alleged role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riots.
Republicans are hitting back at Facebook and the Big Tech giants in Silicon Valley after Facebook’s Oversight Board announced Wednesday that it will uphold its ban of Former President Donald J. Trump.
Facebook claimed in a statement that Trump post “violated Facebook’s rules prohibiting praise or support of people engaged in violence,” when he called Capitol protestors “great patriots” and and “very special” on Jan. 6.
Twitter’s stock fell 15 percent last week apparently because they’re not getting sufficient numbers of new users to please the market. People are not as intrigued as they used to be with an allegedly open social media platform that’s not really open, in fact is something of a dictatorship.
I know you’re not supposed to kick someone when they’re down. But when that someone has been acting in the most unAmerican, peremptory ways for years, as if the Bill of Rights never existed, censoring people without explanation—even a former president—blocking free discussion of medical science, for Heaven’s sake, and treating conservatives and libertarians pretty much the way Ferdinand and Isabella treated the Jews before they finally kicked them out of Spain, it’s time to take action.
And, when that “down” is the first chink in the armor of Big Tech that has dominated discourse in this country and around the world to a degree never thought possible, it is all the more urgent to let that foot fly and jump up and down on top a little as well if necessary.
In the latest example of Silicon Valley censorship, Facebook has banned the sharing of a story about a high-profile Black Lives Matter member purchasing expensive real estate.
“Patrisse Khan-Cullors, the leader of Black Lives Matter and a self-described Marxist, recently purchased a $1.4 million home in an exclusive Los Angeles neighborhood where the vast majority of residents are white, according to reports,” The New York Post originally reported last weekend.
The media, academy and Big Tech are suppressing facts about the harms caused by COVID-19 lockdown policies, especially for younger generations, Gov. Ron DeSantis and public health experts said in a “roundtable discussion” on the novel coronavirus Monday.
These powerful American institutions are also misleading their audiences about the public health results from Florida’s open approach, which contrasted sharply with most states, they said.
The potential Republican presidential candidate hammered Google and its YouTube platform in particular for removing his earlier COVID-19 roundtable with the same doctors, branding it “misinformation.” Even some Florida news stations had their coverage removed.
Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) introduced a new bill on Monday that would break up several large companies in the United States, with a particular focus on the Big Tech companies, as reported by the Daily Caller.
The bill is called the “Trust-Busting for the Twenty-First Century Act,” and aims to combat “anti-competitive big business” such as “Big Banks, Big Telecom, and Big Pharma.” In his press release announcing the new legislation, Hawley said that “a small group of woke mega-corporations control the products Americans can buy, the information Americans can receive, and the speech Americans can engage in.”
“These monopoly powers control our speech, our economy, our country,” Hawley continued, “and their control has only grown because Washington has aided and abetted their quest for endless power.”
Prager University, founded by radio host Dennis Prager, has been permanently blacklisted from Chinese-owned social media app TikTok.
“Tik Tok has permanently banned PragerU from its platform for ‘multiple violations’ of their community guidelines,” PragerU wrote in a tweet on Thursday. “This is blatant censorship.” The organization started a petition over TikTok’s blacklisting.
Nearly 300 Americans face a slew of charges related to the melee on Capitol Hill last January. As I’ve reported over the past few months, offenses range from assaulting a police officer to destroying government property to trespassing.
More than 70 protestors stand accused of “aiding and abetting” various crimes; even people who didn’t vandalize the Capitol or even enter the building have been charged with helping others do damage and interrupt Congress’ certification of the Electoral College results.
Nonviolent offenders languish behind bars for months, denied bail, and transported to Washington, D.C. to await delayed trials. Federal prosecutors suggest President Trump could be indicted for fueling the chaos that day. Democratic congressmen want their Republican colleagues held accountable for their alleged role, too.
Nearly all members of Congress who oversee privacy and antitrust issues have received donations or lobbying money from Big Tech, according to a Public Citizen report.
Ninety-four percent of lawmakers on Capitol Hill with jurisdiction over key Big Tech issues have received money from the industry, according to the Public Citizen report released Wednesday. Altogether, Big Tech political action committees (PAC) and lobbyists contributed roughly $3.2 million to lawmakers who are specifically tasked with regulating the industry.
Following the announcement that six books by the world-renowned children’s author Dr. Seuss would be banned due to alleged “racist imagery,” sales of the author’s books have soared on various online retailers, even as other Big Tech companies attempt to further suppress such sales, as reported by Fox News.
The Lone Star State, like Florida, is moving to outlaw viewpoint discrimination on social media platforms.
Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott joined State Sen. Bryan Hughes at a press conference Friday afternoon to discuss a new bill that will prohibit social media companies from censoring opposing viewpoints.
“The First Amendment is under assault by these social media companies and that is not going to be tolerated in Texas,” Abbott declared.
The purges began shortly after the revolution. For all its haste and ill-preparedness, the success of the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, led by the perpetually temperamental Vladimir Lenin and fueled by a fierce devotion to Marxism, quickly gave rise to the vast and unimaginably harsh Soviet labor camp system that would come to be known as the “gulag.” As the leader of the newly established Russian Soviet Republic, Lenin wasted no time in ordering the establishment of decrees calling for the severe punishment of anyone deemed a “class enemy” to the new Soviet Republic.
From the perspective of Lenin and the Bolsheviks, class enemies were those who had opposed the Marxist Bolshevik Revolution and often consisted of individuals the Bolsheviks contemptuously regarded as privileged in their social class. These so-called class enemies, a term which eventually became synonymous with the “bourgeoisie,” ostensibly posed a threat to the proletariat-ruled, Marxist utopia Lenin was promising to the masses.
A trio of pro-Trump groups are ready to wage a massive battle against Silicon Valley titans of industry after the former president was drummed off social media prior to leaving office.
“The Center for American Restoration, the new organization stood up by former Trump administration official Russ Vought, is leading a coalition of groups calling for a ‘proliferation of legislative activity’ to reform Big Tech,” Axios reported.
On Tuesday, Big Tech giant Twitter announced that it had banned approximately 373 accounts for allegedly posting content that “undermined faith in the NATO alliance and its stability,” as reported by Breitbart.
Twitter claimed that the accounts in question were part of “state-linked information operations” that were supposedly linked to the governments of Russia, Iran, and Armenia. Of the 373, 130 were targeted “based on intel provided by the FBI” that claimed the accounts had attempted to “disrupt the public conversation during the first 2020 U.S. presidential debate.”
When Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis takes the stage to deliver a welcoming address at the Conservative Political Action Conference on his home field in Orlando Friday, it will be as a fast-rising force in the conservative movement and an increasingly plausible and popular contender for his party’s presidential nomination in 2024.
DeSantis will be followed in the spotlight on the first full day of CPAC 2021 by a succession of marquee GOP names vying to woo the party’s conservative base at the movement’s signature annual gathering of the tribes. Among them will be potential 2024 GOP presidential hopefuls and aspiring heirs to the leadership of their party’s populist conservative wing, including Sens. Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton, and Josh Hawley, of Texas, Arkansas and Missouri, respectively.
In a 10-minute video, Project Veritas exposed Salesforce executives bashing the GOP for the mostly peaceful protests at the Capitol on January 6, just weeks after the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) company unexpectedly severed ties with the journalistic nonprofit.
The footage from virtual meetings held by high-level executives was sent to Project Veritas by a whistleblower inside the company, according to Veritas’ founder James O’Keefe.
by Craig Klein Salesforce has shut down the Republican National Committee’s (RNC) ability to send emails through their platform. Salesforce.com is a Silicon Valley-based giant in the enterprise software space with over $13 billion in revenue. The company was founded by Marc Benioff in 1999, who acquired Time Magazine…
Employees at Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Alphabet, Google’s parent company, donated at least $15.1 million to President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, according to Open Secrets.
The donations eclipsed the amount given from employees in the banking and legal sectors, according to The Wall Street Journal. The five companies were also the largest fundraising sources for Biden’s campaign.
A study from New York University released on Monday that dismisses conservative allegations of Big Tech bias and calls for President Joe Biden to establish a Digital Regulatory Agency was funded by Craig Newmark, a billionaire tech titan who donated $100,000 to Biden’s campaign victory fund.
The study, entitled “False Accusation: The Unfounded Claim that Social Media Companies Censor Conservatives,” also defends decisions by Facebook and Twitter to both ban President Donald Trump from their platforms last month, and to limit circulation of a story from The New York Post weeks before the election about emails from Hunter Biden’s laptop.
For those making their arguments about whether Section 230 should be repealed or reformed to protect conservatives on social media, it’s time to declare that this ship sailed long ago. Most of the world has now come to accept that these monolithic platforms can remove people or their content at will. The banning of President Trump and a host of other conservatives from all major platforms has proven this point beyond dispute.
A handful of conservative organizations have signed onto a letter to House Republicans stating their opposition to any proposed anti-trust action against Big Tech companies, according to Breitbart.
The 10-page letter, addressed to Congressmen Ken Buck (R-Colo.), Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), and Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), declared on behalf of these groups that “both sides of the aisle are pushing for the weaponization of anti-trust, either as a tool to punish corporate actors with whom they disagree or out of a presupposition that big is bad.”
Hungarian Justice Minister Judit Varga said Monday that Hungary is considering sanctions against big tech firms over alleged “systemic abuses” of free speech, Reuters reported.
Varga plans to meet with the Hungarian Competition Authority this week to discuss possible penalties for what he says are unfair commercial practices utilized by social media firms including Facebook and Twitter, according to Reuters. In addition, the minister plans to convene a meeting with the state-sponsored Digital Freedom Committee.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced an investigation into the content moderation policies of multiple Silicon Valley based tech companies after President Trump was permanently banned from Twitter last week.
Paxton’s office demanded four big tech giants such as Facebook, Twitter, Apple, Amazon and Google provide information relating to their censoring of conservative speech as well as their termination of the popular conservative social media app Parler from their platforms.
If we’re going to be objective about it, we’ve got to give the Mark Zuckerbergs, Jeff Bezoses and Jack Dorseys of the world their due — the apps they’ve created are some of the greatest technological marvels in history.
Big Tech’s coordinated silencing of conservative voices, including President Trump’s, signals a crossing of the Rubicon in the debate over government involvement to protect free speech.
Even conservatives like me, who have long argued that small-business competition is the best way to moderate the tech oligarchs’ power, recognize that government may now have an interest in making some large companies, such as basic web-hosting platforms, utilities akin to AT&T.
YouTube became the latest social media platform to ban President Donald Trump, announcing late Tuesday that he wouldn’t be able to post new content for seven days.
YouTube, a subsidiary of Google, said it took the action against Trump because of the potential for violence to be sparked from his content. The massive video-sharing platform joined Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Twitch, Reddit and many others in suspending or banning the president, Axios reported.
Twitter has reportedly purged over 70,000 accounts from its platform for sharing “harmful QAnon-associated content.”
The social media website began cracking down on Twitter activity after rioters supporting President Donald Trump stormed the United States Capitol on Wednesday, committing acts of vandalism and postponing the certification process as members of Congress were forced to evacuate the building.