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.
Conservative political commentator and attorney Rogan O’Handley is suing former California Secretary of State and now U.S. Senator Alex Padilla, current Calif. SoS Shirley Weber, Twitter, Team Biden campaign consultants SKDK, and others, for coordinating to deplatform him from Twitter after he tweeted his concerns about the 2020 election.
The Center for American Liberty in conjunction with the Dhillon Law Group, Inc. filed the federal civil rights lawsuit on Thursday in the United States District Court in Central California.
O’Handley spent years developing a verified Twitter account with 440,000 followers only to find his account permanently suspended at the direction of the Secretary of State’s office, according to a press release from Center for American Liberty.
Google announced that it will remove its global lead for diversity strategy and research, Kamau Bobb, after a 2007 blog post in which he’d made antisemitic comments surfaced, Fox News reported. Bobb will be reassigned to a STEM research role.
The reassignment comes after revelations that Bobb had previously authored a blog post that contained antisemitic statements.
In a 2007 blog post by Bobb titled “If I Were a Jew,” he wrote that Jewish people had an “insensitivity” to suffering and stated “If I were a Jew I would be concerned about my insatiable appetite for war and killing in defense of myself.” The post has since been removed, but is recorded here.
The Biden administration aims to send $861 million to Central American countries to address causes of mass migration to the U.S., according to the budget released Friday.
The administration plans to provide $861 million in federal aid to El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico in order to “address the root causes of irregular migration,” according to the proposed budget for 2022. Vice President Kamala Harris asked private sector companies to “make new, significant commitments” to create sustainable economic opportunities aimed at ending the migration crisis at the southern border on Thursday, according to the White House.
“Our comprehensive strategy to address the root causes of migration will involve significant commitments of U.S. government resources to support the long-term development of the region—including efforts to foster economic opportunity, strengthen governance, combat corruption, and improve security,” the White House said in a statement.
Aformer federal judge who serves on Facebook’s oversight board on Sunday slammed the social media giant for “arbitrary” and “inconsistent” enforcement of its rules in the aftermath of a permanent ban on Donald Trump’s account.
“We gave them a certain amount of time to get their house in order,” Michael McConnell told Fox News Sunday. “They needed some time because their rules are a shambles. They are not transparent. They are unclear. They are internally inconsistent.”
McConnell said the board made a series of recommendations “about how to make their rules clearer and more consistent.”
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.
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.
Michael Rectenwald got himself chased out of New York University when the self-identified communist copped to tweeting against trigger warnings, safe spaces and bias reporting under the pseudonym “Deplorable NYU Prof.”
The professor left two years ago with a golden parachute — the result of a legal settlement with the private university that included a retirement package.
He’s not content anymore with just writing polemical books and fiction in retirement. Now Rectenwald is scouting for academics to join an educational startup, American Scholars, that is launching this summer.
Government documents from Florida show that social media giant Twitter failed to properly file to do business in the state, incurring a fine for transacting business there without the official permission of state officials.
The documents, available on the website of the Florida Department of State’s Division of Corporations, show that in March the department received from Twitter an “application by foreign corporation for authorization to transact business in Florida.”
The application reveals that Twitter “first transacted business in Florida” in June 2015, apparently well before it registered to do business there. A letter sent back to Twitter by the department indicates that the social media company failed to properly register with the state, potentially for many years.
The term “Uncle Tim,” a play on the racist term “Uncle Tom” often used to deride African Americans perceived as working against their own racial interests, trended on Twitter Wednesday night after Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) gave his rebuttal to President Joe Biden’s joint address to Congress.
Country music star John Rich of “Big and Rich” blasted the microblogging site’s CEO Jack Dorsey over the trend:
According to a the most recent quarterly censorship report card from the Media Research Center (MRC), most of the major Silicon Valley tech titans are failing to protect freedom of expression.
“By almost any measure, the first three months of 2021 were the worst ever for online freedom. Amazon, Twitter, Apple, Google, Facebook, YouTube and others proved to the world that the Big Tech censorship of conservatives is a reality,” the group said. “And they did so in disturbing, authoritarian ways that highlight their unchecked power over information and our political process.”
Twitter defended its decision allowing users to share articles that cite hacked information about people who donated to the 18-year-old accused of killing protesters in Wisconsin last summer.
The content did not violate the company’s distribution of hack materials policy because it does not directly link to the hacked information, a Twitter spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation. The content in question would have been removed if hacked materials were shared in a tweet or in an image tweeted, according to Twitter.
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune is being blasted online for releasing biographical information of all twelve jurors plus two alternates in the Derek Chauvin trial in the killing of George Floyd.
Without naming the jurors, reporters Paul Walsh and Hannah Sayle on Tuesday published enough details about their lives, internet sleuths and local snoops may be able to figure out who they are.
Walsh is a general assignment reporter at the Star-Tribune, and Sayle is a digital features editor. Online critics are accusing the paper of trying to intimidate the jurors into reaching a guilty verdict.
Liberal activists increased calls for Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer to step down Friday after he spoke out against packing the court.
Breyer spoke with Harvard Law School Students earlier this week and warned them that packing the court could negatively affect the United States rule of law.
“Proposals have been recently made to increase the number of Supreme Court justices. I’m sure that others will discuss related political arguments,” he said, Fox News reported. “This lecture reflects my own effort to be certain that those who are going to debate these questions … also consider an important institutional point. Consider it. Namely, how would court packing reflect and affect the rule of law itself?”
Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island will close its Confucius Institute, according to an announcement by President Ross Gittell.
“After 15 years of values language and cultural programs provided through the Confucius Institute at Bryant University, we have chosen not to apply for continued funding at the expiration of the Confucius Institute contract,” Gittell wrote on March 22, “The university will evaluate changes that are taking place in China regarding U.S.-China Relations before making any future commitment.”
Gittell maintained that developing students’ “global mindset is a cornerstone of Bryant’s mission,” noting that the university will still offer “high quality business education through our curriculum offerings in Zhuhai [China].”
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.”
The New York Times recently posted what it claims is a complete list of President Trump’s Twitter insults. Conservatives should archive this article from the New York Times before the typists the Democrat National Committee assigned the Grey Lady recognize the irony inherent in the article and take it down.
Some items on the list hardly qualify as “insults,” unless stating in truth is an insult.
For nearly two decades, Silicon Valley made net neutrality its highest policy priority. Under the banner of a “free and open” internet, Google, Facebook, and Twitter sought regulations to ensure the uninterrupted flow of information by treating every bit equally. Or so they said.
Beginning last Friday night, these firms and others executed an unprecedented digital purge of the social media and video accounts of their political rivals. After several years of accelerating suspensions and suppressions, this time YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter permanently banned a number of high-profile conservatives and deplatformed thousands of others, at least temporarily. Many of these accounts had nothing to do with last Wednesday’s heinous events at the Capitol. Yet their histories are erased.
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.
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.
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.
Last week Silicon Valley silenced the president. In unison, the social media giants, with an assist from Amazon and Apple, also eliminated their most popular conservative competitor and announced that their own moderation policies would now extend to other companies. Meanwhile, CNN openly called for Fox News to be banned from cable, while a major talk radio network issued new speech rules to its hosts, extending tech’s moderation policies to the offline world. Beyond all this, Congress and the European Union called for powerful new regulation of online speech.
A legislative counsel member from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on Friday warned that the suspension of President Donald Trump’s social media accounts wielded “unchecked power” by large tech companies, Breitbart reported.
Kate Ruane, a senior legislative counsel at the ACLU warned in a statement that the decision to suspend Trump from social media platforms could set a precedent for big tech companies to silence less privileged voices.
Tens of thousands of posts containing news stories from The Star News Network’s Facebook pages were temporarily deleted Wednesday.
“Hi, we are currently experiencing an issue with Facebook and because of that the sharing is stopped and your Facebook accounts are paused,” a third party software used by The Star News Network to schedule and post stories to social media said by email.
Are you tired of Big Tech deciding what posts you see on social media? Do you feel anxious posting your political opinions online? Do you wish you could exercise your right to free speech without worrying about political correctness or being “cancelled”?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, Parler may be the best thing to happen to you in 2020! It’s been a year, we all need some good news, so please read on.
The CEOs of Twitter and Facebook returned Tuesday to Capitol Hill, this time to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
While focused on Twitter’s blocking of a New York Post story about the Biden family’s business dealings overseas and the social media giants’ immunity from lawsuit under the Communications Decency Act, the hearing veered into other topics as well.
Texas attorney Kellye SoRelle and members of Lawyers for Trump sent a copy of a video to Texas Scorecard of individuals moving what she claims are ballots in the middle of the night on Nov. 4 in Detroit.
In the video, a white van is seen parked in front of polling location at 2:40 a.m. A box is taken out of the van and placed into a red wagon, which is then pulled inside the facility. SoRelle video recorded and photographed the activity, which Texas Scorecard published on its website.
After a series of mishaps involving muted senators, virtual cross-talk, and “connectivity issues” befuddling one of the world’s most tech-savvy men, the CEOs of Facebook, Twitter, and Google appeared before the Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday for what has now become a performative ritual: senators of both parties yell about different aspects of social media, the tech giants respond with bland, vague, noncommittal statements. And nothing substantive happens.
This is exactly where the Senate Commerce Committee found itself on Wednesday, when Big Tech was confronted with a host of critics and without any defenders—but ultimately very little in the way of committed follow-up from legislators.
It’s safe to say that Big Tech hasn’t had a great month.
Google received a beating at the Supreme Court for allegedly stealing the coding needed to create Android. Congress subpoenaed Facebook and Twitter for deliberately blocking news coverage potentially damaging to one political party — a move that culminated in a high-profile hearing yesterday. And now, the Department of Justice has charged Google with illegally maintaining its search and advertising monopoly.
A year ago, University of Georgia professor Cas Mudde took to Twitter and asked: “How do you manage to stay informed about political news and stay mentally balanced?” In his next tweet, he confessed too much time on social media was contributing to anxiety and depression.
With this, Mudde expressed a sentiment many social media users share. As we discuss policy issues tied to social media—tech regulation, free speech, foreign influence—we shouldn’t lose sight of the damaging psychological effects of today’s information environment. You may not want to hear this a week before the election, but social media addiction is a public health issue. Big Tech is the new Big Tobacco.
With next week’s election looming, the CEOs of Twitter, Facebook and Google were scolded by Republicans at a Senate hearing Wednesday for alleged anti-conservative bias in the companies’ social media platforms and received a warning of coming restrictions from Congress.
Lawmakers of both parties are assessing the companies’ tremendous power to disseminate speech and ideas, and are looking to challenge their long-enjoyed bedrock legal protections for online speech.
After Collin College received backlash from a story by Campus Reform regarding a professor calling Vice President Mike Pence “a demon” and to “shut his little demon mouth up,” the college president publicly came out and condemned the comments.
President Neil Matkin wrote in a public statement on the school’s website that the professor’s comments were “hateful, vile, and ill-considered.”
A group of Democratic political operatives and journalists circulated a fake email on Twitter on Sunday that the Iowa Farm Bureau retracted its endorsement of Sen. Joni Ernst, a move which would have been a heavy blow to the Republican’s re-election bid.
The fabricated email asserted that the farm bureau was retracting its support for Ernst because of her debate performance earlier this week against challenger Theresa Greenfield.
Twitter removed a tweet from a top White House coronavirus adviser, saying that, contrary to official Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, masks don’t prevent the spread of the virus.
On Saturday, Dr. Scott Atlas tweeted that evidence showed masks don’t work, according to NBC News. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released guidance in April urging Americans to wear masks in public to prevent the spread of coronavirus after weeks of recommending the opposite.
Twitter will begin removing posts containing Holocaust denial, a Twitter spokeswoman told Bloomberg News just days after Facebook also implemented a policy banning posts that deny the Holocaust.
“We strongly condemn anti-semitism, and hateful conduct has absolutely no place on our service,” the spokeswoman told Bloomberg News in a statement. “We also have a robust ‘glorification of violence’ policy in place and take action against content that glorifies or praises historical acts of violence and genocide, including the Holocaust.”
The Republican National Committee has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission against Twitter after the platform censored a New York Post expose on Hunter Biden published earlier this week. In a letter to the FECs general counsel on Friday, the RNC accused Twitter of violating federal campaign finance laws: “Through its ad hoc, partisan suppression of media critical of Biden, [Twitter] is making illegal, corporate in-kind contributions as it provides unheard-of media services for Joe Biden’s campaign.”
Twitter and Facebook have both limited distribution of an Oct. 14 report from the New York Post’s Emma-Jo Morris and Gabrielle Fonrouge entitled, “Smoking-gun email reveals how Hunter Biden introduced Ukrainian businessman to VP dad” detailing an alleged meeting between former Vice President Joe Biden and Burisma executive Vadym who Biden’s son, Hunter, used to work for, in April 2015.
Federal Communication Commission Chairman Ajit Pai announced Thursday that he intends to move forward with a rulemaking to “clarify” the meaning of Section 230 of the Communication Decency Act.
Pai’s announcement comes one day after Twitter prohibited users from posting links to a New York Post story about alleged emails involving Hunter Biden, former Vice President Joe Biden and the Ukrainian gas company Burisma. Twitter’s suppression of the story led President Donald Trump to call for the repeal of Section 230, which indemnifies internet companies from liability over content posted by their users.
On Wednesday morning, the Star published my commentary on free speech. Little did I know when I wrote it or the editors when they published it, the whole concept of free speech online was about to blow up in an incredibly spectacular way.
C-SPAN suspended its political editor Steve Scully indefinitely Thursday after he admitted to lying about his Twitter feed being hacked when he was confronted about a questionable exchange with former Trump aide Anthony Scaramucci.
The news came on the day of what was supposed to be a career highlight for the 30-year C-SPAN veteran. Scully was to moderate the second debate between President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden, which was canceled after Trump would not agree to a virtual format because of his COVID-19 diagnosis.
Twitter partially suspended the Democratic National Committee’s account Thursday for sharing a tweet from President Donald Trump that contains a video of the president suggesting children are “almost immune” to coronavirus.
The company made the move after the DNC tweeted a clip of Trump’s Wednesday appearance on Fox News in which the president made the claim relating to children and the pandemic, CNN reported. The account intended to retweet the post with the intention of criticizing the president for spreading misinformation, but Twitter’s moderators flagged the post instead.
Twitter partially suspended President Donald Trump’s campaign Twitter account on Wednesday for posting a tweet containing a video of Trump suggesting children are “almost immune” to coronavirus.
The post contains an interview Trump gave to Fox News Wednesday morning in which the president made the claim relating to children and the ongoing pandemic, The Washington Post reported Wednesday. Facebook removed a post Wednesday that contained the same video, marking the first time the social media platform has nixed a Trump post over coronavirus misinformation.
Twitter says the hack that compromised the accounts of some of its most high-profile users targeted 130 people. The hackers were able to reset the passwords of 45 of those accounts.
The San Francisco-based company said in a blog post Saturday that for up to eight of these accounts the attackers also downloaded the account’s information through the “Your Twitter Data” tool. None of the eight were verified accounts, Twitter said, adding that it is contacting the owners of the affected accounts.
Unidentified hackers broke into the Twitter accounts of technology moguls, politicians, celebrities and major companies Wednesday in an apparent Bitcoin scam.
The ruse included bogus tweets from former President Barack Obama, Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden, Mike Bloomberg and a number of tech billionaires including Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Celebrities Kanye West and his wife, Kim Kardashian West, were also hacked. The fake tweets tweets offered to send $2,000 for every $1,000 sent to an anonymous Bitcoin address.