Time to Break up the Tech Monopolies

by Kerry Dougherty

Just how serious were last weekend’s coordinated actions by Big Tech giants to ban conservative voices from social media?

So serious that even the ACLU – which has largely been indifferent as civil liberties were sacrificed in the name of Covid – expressed concern:

For months, President Trump has been using social media platforms to seed doubt about the results of the election and to undermine the will of voters. We understand the desire to permanently suspend him now, but it should concern everyone when companies like Facebook and Twitter wield the unchecked power to remove people from platforms that have become indispensable for the speech of billions — especially when political realities make those decisions easier.

This is not a First Amendment issue, even though many see it as such. The Constitution prohibits the government from infringing on free speech, not individual companies. The issue now is one of monopolies.

Using the siege at the U.S. Capitol as an excuse, Twitter, Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon worked together over the weekend to ban President Donald Trump and others from their platforms, to remove apps and block Parler, a Twitter alternative that’s increasingly popular with conservatives. These powerful corporations do indeed have the “unchecked power” to muzzle voices of those with whom they do not agree, while exercising control over the primary sources of communication.

It’s time for anti-trust actions against these arrogant arbiters of American speech.

Silencing the opposition — one way or another — is the the sort of thing that happens routinely in China and North Korea. Not in America. In fact, there was a time when it was popular to say “I may disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

You don’t hear much of THAT in today’s cancel culture.

As someone who uses Twitter, I’ve watched in disbelief over the years as the platform arbitrarily applied its so-called community standards, blocking conservatives, slapping the wrists of leftists who violated their policies.

Recently, non-funny comedian Kathy Griffin, emboldened by Trump’s defeat, posted her infamous photo of herself holding Trump’s severed head on Twitter. Eventually, she was ordered to remove it. But not before 46,000 of her followers had “hearted” the violent image. She still has her account.

Over the weekend, Twitter allowed #HangMikePence to trend on its site for a day before belatedly taking it down.

Ayatollah Khamenei, who has called for the destruction of Israel and whose regime tosses gay men from the rooftops of buildings, has an active account as well.

In an editorial today, The Wall Street Journal quoted Alexei Navalny, “the Russian democracy advocate and scourge of Vladimir Putin who was poisoned last year. He pointed out that, unlike the open election process that ousted Mr. Trump, social-media decisions to de-platform elected officials are unaccountable and arbitrary. ‘Don’t tell me he was banned for violating Twitter rules. I get death threats here every day for many years, and Twitter doesn’t ban anyone,’ Mr. Navalny tweeted.”

Those of us who use Twitter know it can be a source of community to share and debate ideas, or a cesspool of hate and vitriol. Users curate their feeds to suit their purposes. I can assure those who are not on Twitter that the hate and threats that poison social media come equally from the far-left and far-right.

A massive purge of Twitter followers over the weekend alarmed many conservatives who claimed liberal commentators were not experiencing a similar drop in followers. Even small conservative accounts, such as mine, which has never encouraged violence or even urged folks to attend friendly Back-The-Blue rallies, saw hundreds of followers disappear instantly Friday night. Bigger accounts lost tens of thousands of followers.

Twitter issued a statement Saturday claiming it was merely eliminating bots. Given the alarming behavior by the tech giant over the past few days, this looked like an entirely different sort of purge.

To be sure, the ACLU doesn’t really care about conservatives being silenced. They worry that next these companies will crack down on “black, brown or LGBTQ” speech.

They are right to be concerned.

While many cheered the crackdowns, the ACLU may have remembered the words of German pastor, Martin Niemöller, in his unforgettable poem:

“First they came for the socialists, but I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist…”

This column was republished with permission from Kerry: Unemployed & Unedited.

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108 responses to “Time to Break up the Tech Monopolies

  1. Twitter’s not really a monopoly unless you take “short-form social microblogging” to be a distinct market, and it’d be a rare court to give that move the nod in this political environment. Facebook, Amazon, Alphabet, and Apple are more so ripe for the picking.

    What makes me curious is that, pre-1/6, there was a healthy bipartisan discourse on tech regulation/antitrust action. However, once the Crossing of the Rube-icon happened, all that talk from the left died away. I hope it’s just that their attention is (understandably) elsewhere, but I fear that they recognize these companies offer more political utility as monopolies than otherwise.

    If a company deplatforms people you detest, it’s a hard ask to go after that company.

    • Exactly.
      Unfort Trump killed with violence.
      Left wants to destroy the Deplorables with “non-violent” words and hate, and they need the social media to. Left has extreme hate and outrage, but this is valid hate that has the goal to save humanity.

      Not really valid, Left does not “get it” yet.

  2. This conspiracy among the tech titans can and should be addressed by civil suits for damages under federal and state antitrust acts even if governments don’t sue for civil or criminal violations. It is inevitable that someone supports Parler in such a suit. It may indeed be the ACLU. Such suits that are victorious are eligible for treble damages.

    I believe at least some state Attorneys General will sue as well.

  3. Oh, so NOW.

    Wow, you’re quick. It’s only been an hours since Trump announced such.

  4. Let me open by making it clear that I agree with your overall premise that there should be anti-trust action / regulation of Big Tech, due to some of the reasons you mention, even if I don’t agree that there is evidence that these companies are unfairly targeting conservative voices.

    However, I’m confused by your mentions of Twitter allowing Kathy Griffin’s post and the #HangMikePence hashtag to trend. It seems like you object to them allowing this to go on for too long before it was shut down, but then you also think that them shutting down bot accounts and suspending Trump’s account indefinitely is “unchecked power” to muzzle voices of those with whom they do not agree. So is the problem that they shut down controversial speech or that they allow it? Is it that there are rules or that the rules are unfairly applied?

    Later in your post, you write, “To be sure, the ACLU doesn’t really care about conservatives being silenced.” If the ACLU doesn’t care about it, why would they make a statement saying that they are concerned about Trump’s account being suspended? Isn’t it possible that people at the ACLU are still some of the people who say, “I may disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” or something close to it?

    • The ACLU has a longer record defending radical right and religious speech than radical leftist speech. Oh, and profanity. But hey! Speech is speech.

      Dang! These ads are interfering with me old Safari’s focus and keyboard! I’m being muzzled by high tech!

    • “…even if I don’t agree that there is evidence that these companies are unfairly targeting conservative voices.”

      That really unbelievable. There are more example than could be contained in a full set of encyclopedias. (If you remember those?)

      Over the last few years there have been countless stories in the NYT and Washington Post from unnamed sources that later prove to be false or misleading. They run with them and it’s big news everywhere for weeks, but the threshold for printing anything against Democrats is practically unreachable.

      Example 1: Unnamed sources claim Trump make disparaging comments of WWII soldiers who died in Europe. That’s refuted by numerous people who where there and went on the record disputing it.

      Example 2: Prior to the election there was hard evidence that was not disputed by the Biden campaign, but it never made the national news, and was deleted by big tech. This included:

      – The statements on record of the computer store owner
      – A copy of the receipt with Hunter’s signature dropping of the laptop for repair and stating the the laptop would be forfeited to the store if not picked up.
      – The Biden’s business partner who corroborated the allegations and later gave testimony to the FBI.

      The Bidens have never said the emails weren’t authentic.

      • If I remember encyclopedias? What does that even mean?

        I fail to see how your examples of the NYT and WaPo, two traditional media outlets, have anything to do with Big Tech companies , which are what I referred to in my comment.

    • Having a working knowledge of quantum superposition is useful when reading Kerry; unfortunately the waveform never collapses into anything interesting, novel, or kind.

  5. The mainstream media has been full of stories highlighting how many of the people who stormed the Capitol building last week have been captive to groundless conspiracy theories. (There has been zero self-awareness, of course, that the media itself perpetuated the groundless Russia-collusion conspiracy theory for three years.) To what do we attribute the rise in conspiratorial thinking?

    One reason is that the mainstream media has become so extraordinarily lopsided in its coverage of the news that it has driven off millions of potential readers. My wife subscribes to the Sunday Washington Post. I entertain myself by dissecting how front page “news” articles are so slanted and biased that they are literally indistinguishable from the commentary on the op-ed page.

    So, where do the news refugees go? They go to the Internet where there is still some diversity of thought. The problem is that conservative publications mirror-image the liberal bias of the mainstream media with conservative bias. That intensifies the polarization.

    Now things appear to be getting even worse. Now the social media giants are de-platforming all manner of voices that they deem unacceptable. As Kerry says, these voices won’t go away, they’ll just go underground…. where they will perpetuate their thought bubbles in isolation from any feedback that might jerk them back to reality.

    Here at Bacon’s Rebellion, we will do our best to not become a thought bubble. While most of our regular contributors lean to the right ideologically, we welcome all comers in our op-ed posts. We even welcome the lefties who bedevil us daily in the comments. We want people to reality-check us and hold us accountable. We don’t want to veer off into deluded and conspiratorial thinking. Reality-based commentary — who knows? The idea might actually catch on.

    • Fox, right?

    • Democratic conspiracy theories proliferate, and are actively promoted by the news media, at the same time hard evidence against Democrats is ignored. The tech giants promote the former and use their monopoly to squelch the later.

      The article has been proven to be complete nonsense. We now know that the Hunter Biden is under investigation – and other family members as well.

      “Hunter Biden story is Russian disinfo, dozens of former intel officials say
      More than 50 former intelligence officials signed a letter casting doubt on the provenance of a New York Post story on the former vice president’s son.”

      https://www.politico.com/news/2020/10/19/hunter-biden-story-russian-disinfo-430276

      • Is it okay for the billionaires who own tech companies (and news media outlets like the Washington Post) to decide the outcome of elections?

        That’s what happened.

        “The left-wing news media didn’t just poison the information environment with their incessantly negative coverage of President Trump going into the 2020 election. They also refused to give airtime to important arguments of the Republican campaign — both pro-Trump and anti-Biden — which meant millions of voters cast their ballots knowing only what the media permitted them to know about the candidates.”

        “To measure the true effect of the media’s censorship on the election, the Media Research Center asked The Polling Company to survey 1,750 Biden voters in seven swing states (Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin), six of which (all but North Carolina) were called for Biden (survey details below). We tested these voters’ knowledge of eight news stories — all important topics that our ongoing analysis had shown the liberal news media had failed to cover properly. We found that a huge majority (82%) of Biden voters were unaware of at least one of these key items, with five percent saying they were unaware of all eight of the issues we tested.”

        “This lack of information proved crucial: One of every six Biden voters we surveyed (17%) said they would have abandoned the Democratic candidate had they known the facts about one or more of these news stories. A shift of this magnitude would have changed the outcome in all six of the swing states won by Joe Biden, and Donald Trump would have comfortably won a second term as president.”

        https://newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/rich-noyes/2020/11/24/special-report-stealing-presidency-2020

        • Where were you with Adelson and the Kochs? Oh, so NOW!

          • “Where were you with Adelson and the Kochs? Oh, so NOW!”

            NANCY_NAIVE – If you have a point, then make it.

            Virginia – Is the above from NN whataboutism?

          • Then, let me congratulate you on becoming “woke”.

          • I honestly have no clue what you are trying to say with the reference to Adelson, Koch, or being “woke.”

          • Virginia Martin

            Nancy’s comments are immune from the logical fallacy detector, mostly because I only understand about 25% of any given comment.

          • Alas, it’s age.
            If you want to up that to 50% then google unknown terms and double down on the cynicism.

        • Neither Adelson nor Koch controls the dissemination of information the way big tech companies do.

          If Big tech’s interventions through media outlets and social media were valued as in kind contributions, it would be in the billions for this election alone.

          Then there’s the more insidious contributions, like this.

          REPORT: Zuckerberg Spent Half A Billion Dollars Coercing States To Adopt Pro-Dem Turnout Measures

          Of his nearly half-billion-dollar sum, $350 million was funneled to the Center for Technology and Civic Life (CTCL), which “used the money to illegally inflate turnout in key Democratic swing states as part of this effort.”As previously reported on by The National Pulse, the group carried out an “unequal distribution of funding that favored Democratic precincts.”

          According to the Amistad project, of “the 17 cities and counties that have received the largest “grants” from CTCL, totaling more than $51,000,000 combined, just under $300,000 was given” to Republican-leaning counties.

          In other words, 99.4 percent of Zuckerberg’s grants went to Democrat-heavy districts.

          https://thenationalpulse.com/news/zuckerberg-election-influence/

    • “One reason is that the mainstream media has become so extraordinarily lopsided in its coverage of the news that it has driven off millions of potential readers.”

      Fox News remains the highest rated cable news network. Sinclair Media covers 40 percent of American households. IHeartMedia – which broadcasts the Rush Limbaugh Show et al – has a presence in 48 of the top 50 markets and 86 of the top 100 markets. Just stop lying. The conservative point of view is incredibly well represented in mainstream media, it’s just less represented in dead tree subscription media that elite Americans like yourself consume. But for those of us who lack the discretionary income to indulge in hate reading a newspaper with fewer weekly readers than Tucker Carlson will pull in tonight mainstream media is conservative media.

      And again with the lack of any personal responsibility…ohh, these poor insurrectionists just had to go under ground because the Washington Post wouldn’t rub their bellies and tell them Hunter Biden coordinated the Benghazi attacks from Comet PingPong. They just had to rely on news from underground sources like their Sinclair owned ABC affiliate, Sean Hannity on Fox News, and Glenn Beck on WRVA. That is after the members of the coastal elite let liberal firebrand Tom Cotton publish an oped for the NYT arguing the United States military should be set loose on protesters.

    • I really don’t want to debate the whole Mueller investigation and report again, but I can’t let Jim’s oft-repeated comment about the “groundless Russia-collusion conspiracy theory” go unchallenged. There might not have been grounds sufficient enough for your taste, but the investigation and accusations were hardly “groundless”.

      • No, those allegations were not only groundless, they were far worse, based on false evidence concocted, paid for and used illegally by political opponents inside and outside the US government.

        • Have you read any of the Senate Intelligence Committees bi-partisan report on the 2016 election? Here is one example: a summary of the Committee’s findings regarding Paul Mannafort, Trump’s campaign manager for a time:

          “Prior to joining the Trump Campaign in March 2016 and continuing throughout his time in the Campaign, Manafort directly and indirectly communicated with Kilimnik, Deripaska, and the pro-Russian oligarchs in Ukraine. On numerous occasions, Manafort sought to secretly share internal Campaign information with Kilimnik [a Russian intelligence officer]…After the election, Manafort continued to coordinate with Russian persons, particularly Kilimnik and other individuals close to Deripaska, in an effort to undertake activities on their behalf. Manafort worked with Kilimnik starting in 2016 on narratives that sou ht to undermine evidence that Russia interfered in .the 2016 U.S. election. ” https://www.intelligence.senate.gov/sites/default/files/documents/report_volume5.pdf

  6. All Netflix subscribers. If you have not yet watched “The Social Dilemma” I recommend you go find it. Checked and it is still there. The social media companies feed on and profit from all the crazies of every flavor. Their algorithms put these people across the country and world together and built the networks, totally neutral as to the content, AntiFa and Proud Boys. Just watch it.

    Do not expect this new Congress to have any interest in changing this. What you are seeing the largest unreportable in-kind political contribution in the history of this country. At least this time the modern Alien and Sedition Acts are being imposed by those who were the targets 200 years ago….the lessons of history, forgotten and repeated. (Actually didn’t I read recently that today’s sedition statutes can trace back to the 18th Century?)

    • Das K(C)apital… ism.

      Unfettered capitalism is great, until it isn’t.

      • Assuming it isn’t, what is to be done? I’m legitimately interested in reading a suggestion by you that doesn’t culminate in some goofy last-laugh contortion.

    • Great time to be a lobbyist. Big corporations cutting donations.

    • Mr. Haner,

      Do not invoke my last name in such veiled innuendo!!!

      Just kidding, it’s it ironic the parallels between the election of 1800 and now?

      However, I don’t believe that POTUS Trump and PE Biden were great friends prior to this and therefore will not mend the fence and die on the same day.

      • It was interesting to learn that two of the three previous presidents who did not attend their successor’s inauguration were named Adams….

        • Thomas Jefferson had a very nasty dark side, one as toxic as Nancy Pelosi’s. Just ask George Washington. Fortunately, unlike Pelosi, Jefferson had great compensating talents and great achievements that helped mightily to build our nation that Pelosi now is working overtime to destroy.

        • The fracture in 1800 was huge, so that’s believable for John.

          As for John Q, I think we can point to the election of 1828 making the POTUS about popularity vs issues.

          I also believe that Andrew Johnson didn’t attend Grants inauguration.

  7. James Wyatt Whitehead V

    Nothing is going to change. Big Tech makes big bucks and their power cannot be surmounted. We have been here before.

  8. Today’s version of the poem which is growing daily daily:

    First, they used the IRS to attempt to eradicate political opposition and I did not speak out—because Obama was our first Black President and above criticism.

    Then they used the Justice department to intimidate reporters who might write unflattering stories and I did not speak out—because Obama was our first Black President and above criticism.

    Then they lied and concocted phony media stories about the death of an Ambassador and 4 Americans to cover up hideously wrong decisions by the State Department and Clinton-arranged arms deals gone horribly bad and I did not speak out—because Obama was our first Black President and above criticism.

    Then they effected an agreement with Iran for which they could not get Congressional approval which included a secret $400 million procured in Switzerland and delivered to Iran on wooden pallets the same day 4 American prisons were released and I did not question or speak out—because Obama was our first Black President and above criticism.

    Then they allowed a UN resolution designed to compromise Trump and severely damage Israel and I did not speak out—because Obama was our first Black President and above criticism and Trump is Orangeman Bad.

    Then they used the FBI, CIA and proxies like Fusion GPS to infiltrate Republican Presidential campaigns and to create leaks and smears to discredit them and I did not speak out—because Trump is Orangeman Bad.

    Then they announced #Resistance, the refusal to accept an election, and I did not speak out—because Trump is Orangeman Bad.

    Then they forced the resignation of Trump’s most important cabinet pick with fabricated evidence and planned leaks against the recommendations of FBI field agents so that their illegal black ops would not be exposed, eviscerating FBI and DOJ policy, long-standing inter-agency protocols, civil rights and more and I did not speak out—because Trump is Orangeman Bad.

    Then they suppressed testimony was revealed showing that former Obama administration officials and Congressperson claiming proof of Russian collusion were unequivocally lying in their media appearances and I did not speak out—because Trump is Orangeman Bad.

    Then they launched a massive investigation to paralyze the administration founded on a massive fraud conceived by the Democrat party led by Obama and executed with viciousness and malice toward Trump supporter by the FBI, DOJ, ODNI, CIA, State Department and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and I did not speak out—because Trump is Orangeman Bad.

    Then they launched a multi-year media campaign with former Obama officials and Democrat party leaders to defame Trump and proclaim evidence of collusion their secret testimony had said they didn’t have and I did not speak out—because Trump is Orangeman Bad.

    Then they launched an impeachment to suppress the fact that the Obaama administration, its former Vice President and numerous members of Congress had compromised themselves with Ukrainian money and I did not speak out—because Trump is Orangeman Bad.

    Then all legacy media launched 7 day, 24 hour non-stop attacks, insults, smears, mischaracterizations, doctored videos, and lies about our President and I did not speak out—because Trump is Orangeman Bad and I hated his tweets and counter-insults.

    Then they suppressed and censored any information about an enormous pay for play shakedown operation by the Clintons including the sale of uranium assets, US bribery, compromised and snuffed intelligence officers and more and I did not speak out—because Trump is Orangeman Bad.

    Then they came for Kavanaugh with sketchy smears and considerable violence, and I did not speak out—because Trump is Orangeman Bad and I support Me Too and women’s rights.

    Then they came for the cities, burned businesses and created “zones”, and I did not speak out—because Trump is Orangeman Bad and I thought they were aggrieved and I wanted to respect their feelings and have them like and accept us.

    Then they came for our police and I did not speak out—because Trump is Orangeman Bad and I thought they were aggrieved and wanted to respect their feelings and have them like and accept us.

    Then they came for the suburbs, and I did not speak out—because Trump is Orangeman Bad and I thought they were aggrieved and wanted to respect their feelings and have them like and accept us.

    Then they came for statues and pictures of past heroes and I did not speak out—because Trump is Orangeman Bad and I wanted to respect their feelings and have them like and accept us.

    Then they came for revered books and literature and I did not speak out—because Trump is Orangeman Bad and I wanted to respect their feelings and have them like and accept us.

    Then they came for everyone with far-reaching mandates about every aspect of our social and economic intercourse and I did not speak out—because Trump is Orangeman Bad and I was afraid of the virus and thought all my fellow citizens should be controlled by the government.

    Then they censored and refused to allow the presentation of any mention of the fact that a Presidential candidate was implicated in an international shake-down operation to enrich his family and himself and I did not speak out—because Trump is Orangeman Bad.

    Then they came for our voting privileges with sketchy machines and unauditable processes combined with constitutionally illegal voting practices and procedures and—I did not speak out—because Trump is Orangeman Bad and I liked the results.

    Then they came for media, de-platforming and censoring those who challenged them and—I did not speak out—because Trump is Orangeman Bad and I believed promulgating views I find offensive was seditious.

    Then they came for all Trump supporters …and.

    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

  9. “Then they came for all Trump supporters …and.

    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

    What? They missed you in the previous sweep?

  10. “ZERO SELF AWARENESS” – Remember those words, you people.

  11. “…but it should concern everyone when companies like Facebook and Twitter wield the unchecked power to remove people from platforms that have become indispensable for the speech of billions — especially when political realities make those decisions easier…”

    All love to the ACLU, but this is being open minded to the point where ones brain falls out of their ears.

    1) It is concerning that tech companies can unilaterally boot off users with little to no oversight, and the left has been complaining about this for years. But Donald Trump isn’t a random Twitter user along two axes – first, he’s the leader of one of the country’s two political parties and so when he encourages his followers to violence there is institutional weight behind it (the attempted coup likely would have gone nowhere if Republican Congressmembers hadn’t backed the president’s lunacy), and second he’s the president of the United States of America: at any time he wishes he can call a press conference and it will be covered; he is in no danger of being unable to get his message out.

    2) To the best of my knowledge Twitter has never turned a profit. So what is to be done if the suckers dumping investment money into it finally wise up and pull the plug? Should it become publicly financed?

    • The larger issue with the ACLU is that they pick and choose which violation of civil rights they want to address. They should be against all violations regardless of who and what.

      1) The question that should be asked is, was he banned for a TOS violation or arbitrarily. If the second is the fact, then we should all worry as they clearly can ban or deplatform anyone who dares offer a dissenting opinion without rebuke.

      2) Twitter is a publicly traded company, they most certainly turn a profit. How else would you surmise Jack Dorsey is worth $13 Billion Dollars.

      I’m not sure what “profit” you’re talking about, as this is how it’s calculated.

      Profit = TR-TE

      • This is probably the only time I’m going to respond to anything you write if only to correct my post. Twitter started turning a profit in 2018. Uber still remains in the red.

        • “UpAgnstTheWall | January 11, 2021 at 12:14 pm | Reply
          This is probably the only time I’m going to respond to anything you write if only to correct my post. Twitter started turning a profit in 2018. Uber still remains in the red.”

          What does “Uber” have to do with this?

          I could care less if you “respond” or not. If you cannot or will not debate your statements than what is the point of posting them. You’re all about rage attacking posters of “conservative bend” but you wilt like a flower when you’re called out.

          • UpAgnstTheWall

            Uber is a company that supplies tech solutions like Twitter and is also publicly traded but is not profitable.

            “If you cannot or will not debate your statements than what is the point of posting them. You’re all about rage attacking posters of ‘conservative bend’ but you wilt like a flower when you’re called out.”

            Yep, these are the dispassionate words of someone totally uninterested in whether I respond.

          • “UpAgnstTheWall | January 11, 2021 at 12:29 pm |
            Uber is a company that supplies tech solutions like Twitter and is also publicly traded but is not profitable.

            “If you cannot or will not debate your statements than what is the point of posting them. You’re all about rage attacking posters of ‘conservative bend’ but you wilt like a flower when you’re called out.”

            Yep, these are the dispassionate words of someone totally uninterested in whether I respond.”

            Again, Uber and relevancy?

            I’d be more inclined to listen to what you have to say if it wasn’t laced with vitriol and rage towards people who don’t agree with you. That and perhaps you could write less coupled with loaded words and outright falsehoods.

            You previously conflated individuals who lost their lives as a result of a crime (not necessarily committed by themselves) and lives lost as a result of “protests”.

  12. I don’t use social media (except for BR, does that count?), so I don’t have a dog in this fight. Nonetheless, I will offer some comments.

    First, Kerry makes a serious charge when she says the Big Tech companies “coordinated” their actions. That could have anti-trust implications. However, where is the evidence of such coordination?

    Second, she complains that they are banning “conservative” voices from the platforms. That is false. They banned users who advocate or incite violence, which has been their policy all along. Kerry herself says that she still uses Twitter. Have any of the conservative voices on BR been banned from using Twitter, Facebook, etc.?

    She complains about the “massive” purge over the weekend. Twitter says it was getting rid of bots. I would think Kelly would be happy that bots were being eliminated. Does she have any evidence that it was not bots, but legitimate user accounts, being eliminated?

    As UpAgainstTheWall has pointed out, there are lots of conservative outlets extant. I am sure that Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity would be happy to give Trump unfettered access to their programs to voice his grievances to his followers.

    • Mr. Hall-Sizemore,

      We are moving towards a precipice with big tech. They are beholden to no one minus boards and shareholders (Facebook being only Mr. Zuckererg). Twitter have Facebook have banned. Apple and Google have banned their competitors (Parler) as they control app content. Without jailbreaking/rooting (hacking) your smart phone (apple iOS or Android) you cannot install a 3rd party unapproved app. I think we are past time of removing Section 230 protections from these markets, yes that would’ve banned Trump sooner, but it would allow transparent equal application of those standards across the board. Perhaps it would’ve even cooled this hyper-partisan rhetoric we are currently seeing.

      You’re better than false dichotomies.

      “As UpAgainstTheWall has pointed out, there are lots of conservative outlets extant. I am sure that Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity would be happy to give Trump unfettered access to their programs to voice his grievances to his followers.”

      That is in fact a falsehood, as explained above. Parler was banned from app providers and Amazon web hosting services suspended them.

      The latter are already platforms for Trump and they’ve been subject to boycotts and ad pullouts.

      • I do not mean to address the antitrust aspects of Big Tech; indeed, I am not qualified in antitrust law to make any comments.

        It is interesting that Trump and his followers are so intent on repealing Section 230. That law exempts social media companies from liability for comments made on its platforms. As you point out, Twitter and others would probably have banned Trump and others much sooner without such protection. That protection was a benefit to Trump for a long time.

        You point to boycotts and ad pullouts related to platforms for Trump. Are you saying that consumers should not be able to advocate boycotts or advertisers should not be able to cease advertising when they are displeased with the media on which they had been advertising?

        • “Are you saying that consumers should not be able to advocate boycotts or advertisers should not be able to cease advertising when they are displeased with the media on which they had been advertising?”

          This is a point I’ve brought up here a couple times in the past, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that conservatives have lost the ideological wars where it really matters – on the capitalist free market. The second Nike made a post-blackballed Kaepernick the face of an ad campaign it was clear that war was lost. And that’s just going to keep accelerating in the wake of everything that happened last Wednesday.

        • Section 230 was a bi-partisan road until the election resulted in PE Biden. We shall see if this next Congress still has the drive to remove it, as those companies are no longer up and coming and fragile.

          “It is interesting that Trump and his followers are so intent on repealing Section 230. That law exempts social media companies from liability for comments made on its platforms. As you point out, Twitter and others would probably have banned Trump and others much sooner without such protection. That protection was a benefit to Trump for a long time.”

          That is again a false dichotomy.

          “You point to boycotts and ad pullouts related to platforms for Trump. Are you saying that consumers should not be able to advocate boycotts or advertisers should not be able to cease advertising when they are displeased with the media on which they had been advertising?”

          Boycotts are worthless and never function as they believe.

          https://www.ipr.northwestern.edu/news/2017/king-corporate-boycotts.html

          So essentially, because someone says something you don’t like allows perhaps a small business to advertise on your show. Boycotting that show, means they loose the advertising and therefore go out of business.

          • Dick Hall-Sizemore

            I do not understand what is the false dichotomy.
            I never said that boycotts were effective. However, you seemed to think so because you brought them up in relation to Trump.

          • “It is interesting that Trump and his followers are so intent on repealing Section 230. That law exempts social media companies from liability for comments made on its platforms. As you point out, Twitter and others would probably have banned Trump and others much sooner without such protection. That protection was a benefit to Trump for a long time.”

            That’s a false dichotomy.

            I said the platforms which already provide him propaganda have been boycotted several times. Not specifically Trump.

        • Mr. Hall-Sizemore,

          The point is, they need to be one or the other. Either they are open platforms for everyone, or publishers. Right now they want it both ways.

          Trump isn’t really the issue here. The bans, shadow bans, and filtering of content have been experienced by many. For example, conservatives have had content filtered that linked back to major newspapers like NYT and Washington Post. When called on it they claim a technical glitch. No, it was effort to impact the election.

          Here’s another example. Google was caught red handed using information they gleaned about users to remind Democrats to vote, but not Republicans.

          Check out the letter from Mike Lee below.

          https://www.lee.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/fa474c73-f9e8-4f19-8c52-bfa33bb6877b/senators-ask-google-ceo-to-explain-apparent-election-related-disparities.pdf

          • Dick Hall-Sizemore

            I don’t understand why, in this context, the difference between open platforms and publishers is being cited. Publishers are not subject to the First Amendment, either. (They are different in that they are liable for what they publish.) As I understand it, if Section 230 were repealed, they would no longer be open platforms because they would have to screen their content for liability. Is that what most people really want? That might be acceptable to me, I am not sure. For example, perhaps a lot of the profanity and other crudity could be eliminated or minimized.

          • “As I understand it, if Section 230 were repealed, they would no longer be open platforms because they would have to screen their content for liability. Is that what most people really want?”

            I can’t speak for anyone other than myself, but I think protections are fine for any platform that is truly a platform open to all. That’s not what is happening, however. They shouldn’t be allowed to act like an extension of the Democratic Party and maintain protection. If they want to actively weigh into politics and social engineering, fine, but then they should loose that protection.

            As I said to start, it should be one or the other – platform or publisher.

  13. The nail in the coffin was the shutdown of Parler. First, Apple removed the Parler app from its AppStore which made it much harder to get the app on your iPhone. Then, Google did the same with GooglePlay. However, that wasn’t enough since you can get an app onto your iPhone or Android phone if you try hard enough. Then, Amazon removed Parler’s software from its servers.

    Three monopolists working in concert to stifle free speech.

    The actions by Apple and Google were clearly targeting conservative speech. From Kerry’s article …

    In an editorial today, The Wall Street Journal quoted Alexei Navalny, “the Russian democracy advocate and scourge of Vladimir Putin who was poisoned last year. He pointed out that, unlike the open election process that ousted Mr. Trump, social-media decisions to de-platform elected officials are unaccountable and arbitrary. ‘Don’t tell me he was banned for violating Twitter rules. I get death threats here every day for many years, and Twitter doesn’t ban anyone,’ Mr. Navalny tweeted.”

    So, death threats are made on Twitter with impunity but Apple and Google don’t remove the Twitter app from their app stores. They do, however, remove the Parler app because some people posting there sometimes urge violence.

    Yes, they should be broken up.

    • I was concerned then Google and other big tech companies started cooperating with China to censor content. They’ve learned a lot about censorship over the years and they are now doing it here.

      They don’t seem to have any problem with enemies of the U.S. using their platforms.

      “Twitter execs refused Israel’s request to remove Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei tweets”

      Twitter executives last month rebuffed a request from the Israeli government to remove tweets from Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei calling for the genocide of the Israeli people — claiming in a stunning letter obtained by The Post that the Jew-hate qualified as “comments on current affairs.”

      https://nypost.com/2020/07/30/twitter-execs-refused-request-to-remove-ayatollah-khamenei-tweets/

    • Google and Apple also don’t offer apps for pornography, which is far less harmful than anything happening on Parler. There are also plenty of alternatives to AWS the people behind Parler could use – Azure, Oracle Cloud, IBM Cloud, Kamatera, DigitalOcean, ServerSpace, Linode.

      Google probably does need to be broken up, same for Facebook, but not because one user was finally kicked off Twitter, and one app that was instrumental in a group of people convening in an attempted coup that led to a man being beaten to death with a fire extinguisher getting removed from digital stores.

      • As I wrote, Parler was the nail in the coffin. Beyond that, thanks for your lesson on cloud. Interesting. Wrong, but interesting. You say that Apple and Google don’t allow apps for pornography. That’s true to a point. They do, however, allow apps that contain pornography – such as Instagram and Twitter. Parler, despite liberal misrepresentations, was not a “violence app” anymore than Twitter is a porn app. However, some users of Parler espoused violence just like some Twitter users feature pornography.

        In addition, Forbes reports that plans to attack the Capitol were found on Parler, Telegram, The Donald, TikTok and Twitter. As far as I know only Parler was banned. http://bit.ly/38A1HyB

        As for moving clouds – thanks for the tip. I’ve worked for two of those companies on their cloud efforts. Anybody who thinks moving from one cloud to another is a simple matter probably shouldn’t be posting comments about cloud.

        If you get bored you can read the article I published today on cloud use cases at LinkedIn and Medium. https://bit.ly/3nFDUBW

        If you get real bored you can read the PaaS patent I was granted which was filed in 2002 – 4 years before AWS sold its first dime of product and long before the term “cloud” was popularized. http://bit.ly/39oZPbc

        • So , a hypothetical question.

          If it turns out that eventually, apps like Parlar DO find a way to get hosted and stand up their own platform – will the issue about monopoly still have legs?

          • UpAgnstTheWall

            The real question is “should smartphone stores be forced to sell apps against the will of the companies running the store?” If the answer is yes, that has downstream consequences I don’t think conservatives want to deal with.

          • Well maybe a bigger question, do we want government to decide these issues?

        • I didn’t say it would be easy, in fact it will be a right pain in the ass. But being a pain in the ass to migrate from one service to another doesn’t a monopoly make.

  14. Antitrust issues are separate. Both the US DoJ and state attorneys general need to investigate and sue. There probably needs to be consent decrees that require divestitures and limits to businesses that can be operated, at least for a time period.

    By employing any selectivity in allowing or disallowing posters, absent good evidence of violations of clearly stated rules, the platforms operate as publishers. Section 230 protection, which was intended to protect small businesses that are now behemoths, needs to be removed.

    The feds should also look into potential violations of wire fraud. For example, using electronic statements that make false statements or conceal facts about a platform’s policies and actions with respect to removing or retaining posts, suspending or terminating accounts; or barring individuals or entities from becoming members.

    I don’t see this as a liberal-conservative or Republican-Democratic issue. We’ve got some companies that think they are above the law.

  15. As of this minute there are 75 responses to Kerry’s post … so telling to the naysayers who don’t like/respect her.

    Just sayin…

    • Say, I thought of some folks we’d know in common. Bumps Eberwine? Rudy Lotz? Barry August?

      • Bumps Eberwine sounds familiar. Was he in the mid 1980s on Virginia Beach Blvd at an office building (funny name … something Towers) near Rosemont Rd intersection of VA Bch/Norfolk expressway?

        Lotz and August no hits…

        I was at Executive Office Bldg. in Hampton beginning of ’80s and then started branch in VA Bch later in ’80s. Prior to that I was in Richmond in’70s after being moved by company from D.C. area.

        • They were sailors.

          I was at Ececutive Tower, with CDC, 78 & 79. So, we missed there. The CDC office in VaBeach was headed by a guy name Tom Rozanski. Most were former GTE and ITT guys who got sucked up in a contract change.

  16. If Twitter, FB, AWS say they are cutting off those who advocate violence – and that’s largely what they have done (realizing that – that might be disputed) – is that exercising a monopoly?

    If that’s all they have claimed they have done – is the response from the Govt to make sure they’ve done it without prejudice and stay out of the rest of it and let the markets generate competitors – insure those markets are free and open for competition?

  17. Let’s terminate this discussion with, well, a terminator.

  18. If a newspaper like the NYT or WSJ allows commenting on their articles, but they moderate them, delete some they consider inappropriate – can they do that without changing the rules the way they are right now?

  19. The wages of lies…

    Forbes issues a warning about hiring the Trump s***stains.

    “Forbes will assume that everything your company or firm talks about is a lie,”

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/randalllane/2021/01/07/a-truth-reckoning-why-were-holding-those-who-lied-for-trump-accountable/?sh=7ebb927b5710

    • Sounds about right… Can’t see them being the PR face of GM or Walmart, etc.

      • Interviewer: “We couldn’t help but notice that both of you have a 4-year gap in your resumes. Care to tell us what you were doing?”

        Applicant 1: “I was an assistant to President Trump’s Press Secretary.”

        Applicant 2: “I was in a state asylum for attempted murder.”

        “Okay then, Applicant 2, the job is yours.”

  20. Must say, Kerry has a point about trust busting. Maybe she is a New Age Ida Tarbell.

  21. The real question is “should smartphone stores be forced to sell apps against the will of the companies running the store?” If the answer is yes, that has downstream consequences I don’t think conservatives want to deal with.

    That’s not really the real question. The real question is whether Apple should be able to monopolize the store for apps running on its iPhone? Once upon a time robber barons monopolized coal and steel by buying up the railroads that were needed to transport the coal and steel.

    Could you imagine buying a PC and then only being able to run software on that PC which was purchased at the Microsoft store? Or having to go to a central Microsoft site to register your intent to access a website like BaconsRebellion before being able to access that site? You know, in the interests of cyber safety and malware prevention.

    (Kr)Apple is the worst of the bunch and they’ve been getting away with it for years.

    • I actually like this line of thinking, and since I don’t use a whole bunch of apps – and have never availed myself of Apple products – one I hadn’t considered. But yeah, both Apple and Google should allow alternative stores on their products and allow the user’s warranty being voided if non-Apple Store/non-Google Play products harm their phones.

      • You can “side load” apps onto Android, which is essentially the same idea as traditionally installing an application on your PC. Further, there are alternative app stores on Android… F-Droid being one of the more prominent and privacy focused. Unlike Apple, Android has a setting you can enable to allow 3rd party apps & app stores.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Android_app_stores

        This is one reason I refuse to use Apple products (at least as a main driver.) With a PC, you can run Linux or BSD. Linux has come a long way. Android itself, otoh, can still be a privacy nightmare even if you side load (not that Apple is really in more privacy oriented (Don’t Drink the Kool-Aid that Apple mixes and the Silicon Media pours.))

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