By now the election interference by Big Tech – specifically Facebook, Google, and Twitter– is indisputable.
Also indisputable is that Congress will be powerless to alter their behavior, with at least another two years of guaranteed gridlock preventing the removal of Big Tech’s exemption under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which says the online companies are like telecoms AT&T and Verizon (meaning they are protected from litigation) rather than news producers like the New York Times and Fox News (not protected from litigation).
Sure, you can expect more hearings like the one before the Senate Commerce Committee the week before Election Day, in which CEOs Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Sundar Pichai (Google) and Jack Dorsey (Twitter) were berated about their corporate underlings’ bias and censorship.
But it was just a repeat of previous Congressional theatrics: a lot of noise, and no action.
Big Tech has gotten brazen.
In one outrageous example discovered by a research team led by psychologist Dr. Robert Epstein of the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, Google sent reminders to vote to liberal users, but none to conservative users, for four critical days during the early voting period in late October, according to a PJ Media report.
“One of our most disturbing findings so far is that between Monday, October 26th (the day our system became fully operational) and Thursday, October 29th, only our liberal field agents received vote reminders on Google’s home page. Conservatives did not receive even a single vote reminder,” Epstein reported. “This kind of targeting, if present nationwide, could shift millions of votes, in part because Google’s home page is seen 500 million times a day in the U.S.”
It was only when the New York Post prepared to run a story on the outrageous election meddling that Google’s targeting favoritism to help liberal candidates came to a halt, PJ Media reported.
The double standard infuriated conservative Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), and Mike Lee (R-Utah), who sent a missive to Pichai last week demanding an explanation. The Senators challenged the CEO’s past testimony that Google doesn’t “politically tilt anything one way or another” or “modify any products, including Search, to promote a particular political viewpoint” – and his specific promise that no such intervention would happen during the 2020 election.
“Based on Dr. Epstein’s response,” the senators wrote, “it would appear your assertion that ‘We won’t do any work, you know, to politically tilt anything one way or the other’ is not true.”
Epstein also reported in an interview with Tucker Carlson on Fox News that Google is “probably shifting this year in this election about 15 million votes without anyone’s awareness” via their influential search bias and other activities, characterizing it as a “huge in-kind donation” to campaigns of liberal candidates like Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden.
Similar election interference has been observed via Facebook’s and Twitter’s censorship, with the obvious high-profile target being Donald Trump.
The president received disproportionate and unequal scrutiny of his posts, drawing repeated “fact-checks”, disclaimers, and outright censorship. As everyone knows, Trump has used Facebook and especially Twitter to great effect to directly communicate to his supporters, in order to bypass the mainstream media that hates him.
In tweets and Facebook posts in which he warned about coming “big problems and discrepancies” and “rampant and unchecked cheating” with regard to the expanded use of mail-in ballots, Twitter slapped on a “disputed” label and called them “misleading.” And Facebook labeled a similar Trump post with the claim, “voter fraud is extremely rare.”
The president’s forewarnings have proven true, however, with hundreds of affidavits collected by Trump’s campaign from witnesses and poll watchers that allege vote tampering, backdating of tardy mail-in ballots, obstruction of poll observers, and other shenanigans.
But the facts that have now come out post-election have not deterred the platforms’ maniacal censors. Fox News reported that since Election Day, “Twitter has marked at least a dozen tweets from President Trump since Election Day with a disclaimer warning that they may contain ‘misleading’ information about the vote.” The censorship of the twelve posts happened over the course of a mere 60 hours.
Biden has not received even a sliver of the same scrutiny by the big social media corporations. An analysis by LifeNews.com found that since May 31, 2018, Twitter has censored Trump (his personal and his campaign accounts) 111 times, while Biden has “received no forms of censorship or suppression.” It’s not like he hasn’t deserved it, with his pervasive denials that he ever said he’d ban fracking spreading all over social media, or false claims about coronavirus plans, COVID lockdowns, and claims he wants all records released about his sexual assault accuser, Tara Reade.
The CEO of Parler, a social media free-speech alternative to Twitter, has called the recent censorship and warning labels on Trump’s tweets “pretty ludicrous.”
“I don’t think it’s possible for Twitter to say with a 100 percent fact that there’s not one mistake in the election and that there is not one fraudulent vote so fact checking the president on all of this is pretty ludicrous,” said John Matze on “Fox and Friends” on Saturday. “Frankly, I think it’s part of our election process that allows [us] to check the results and re-counts so what they are doing is really interfering with what he is trying to say. People should be able to listen and judge for themselves.”
Members of Congress will continue to send the Silicon Valley CEOs demand letters and hold hearings to try to make citizens look like they’re “doing something” about the censorship, but users seem to be finally doing something themselves. According to tech news site C/NET:
As of Tuesday, Parler remained the top free app in Apple’s and Google’s app stores. On Nov. 9, Parler racked up roughly 880,000 installs in the US from the Apple App Store and Google Play, the most downloads the app has seen in a single day, according to estimates from Sensor Tower, which analyzes mobile app data. From Nov. 3 to Nov. 9, Parler has been downloaded more than 2 million times in the US. The app has roughly 4.7 million installs in the states, according to Sensor Tower.
MeWe, another social media alternative that skews closer in similarity to Facebook, has been the No. 2 app download since Election Day.
It took a while, but it looks like consumers finally decided to protect their free speech rights all by themselves.