Author of The Blackout Book and the online course Bloom Where You’re Planted
We’ve reached a critical tipping point in the United States in which we’re being turned against one another and silenced via wokism. I submit to you this hypothesis: Big Tech (social media, mainstream media, and companies like Google and Amazon) form an unofficial fourth branch of the government. They’ve gotten so big that they can make sure that billions of people all over the world are never exposed to dissenting opinions.
We all learn in high school civics (well, we did back when we had high school civics) that the government was made up of three branches that formed a series of checks and balances to keep any single group from holding too much power: executive, judicial, and legislative.
Now, on to my hypothesis. The government cannot constitutionally silence dissent or the free press. It’s right there in the First Amendment, which reads:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Of course, this doesn’t apply to private entities like Facebook, Twitter, or Amazon. They can censor anyone they want because they are not the government. So, is the government using these entities to censor opinions that they, constitutionally, cannot?
Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and YouTube are all protected by the government.
Not only are they able to shut down any conversation they want, but they’re also protected by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. However, with this protection should ethically come the obligation to allow free discourse, something the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon have been wont to do.
Here’s where their connection to the government comes in.
In my opinion, if they are protected under this law, then they must act impartially in their moderation of content. If they choose not to act impartially, then they should be forced to give up that protection.
That won’t happen, however, because the voices currently being silenced are those that are speaking in opposition to the current administration. Without breaching the First Amendment and governmentally silencing critics, they’re allowing these media and social media outlets to do it for them, making sure that the only voices that are widely heard come from one side of the spectrum. They can do this with full immunity and wanton disregard to liberty because after all, these are private companies, right?
If they are moderating only one side of the discussion and allowing the other side of the discussion totally free speech, doesn’t it stand to reason that they must give up this government protection? That if they are moderating the content, then they don’t get the protection of being a free speech outlet?
Here’s an example of biased moderation.
And moderating it they are. Look at this absurd exchange I had – or tried to have – on Facebook. For reference, the original post was about a dolphin managing to communicate with a diver to save his mate that was stuck and couldn’t get free without human help.
As you can see, the entire thing is absolutely ridiculous. There’s an option to click a button that says “I disagree with this decision” and when you disagree they say, “Thanks for letting us know.” Or in other words, “haha, screw you.”
I think that even the most left-wing true believer can look at the exchange above and see that I was not in the wrong and that if the first comment was allowed, so too, should mine have been. For the record – I’m not a Republican OR a Democrat. I’m also not a hypocrite and I don’t think it’s okay to totally silence one side of an argument.
This is important even if you aren’t a social media user.
Let’s say you never use Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube. You never search anything up on Google. You never purchase books or other items from Amazon. You may be scoffing at the very idea of this concept because you don’t even own a smart phone. So this doesn’t affect you at all, right?
Dead wrong. Absolutely, positively incorrect.
The sheer number of other people that use these outlets as sources for their information, opinions, entertainment, and time-wasting means that nearly everyone around you is getting information from only one side of the spectrum. They believe what they’re seeing because it’s all that they’re seeing. They aren’t getting the option of viewing other opinions, so to a non-critical thinker, positively absurd things just seem like they’re perfectly normal. Because everyone thinks that way, or so it seems.
Let’s look at some numbers.
- How many people use Facebook per day? 1.84 billion people PER DAY (source)
- How much time do people spend on social media per day? The average person spends 2 hours and 22 minutes on social media per day. (source)
- How many things are Googled each day? More than 3.5 billion searches per day are performed on Google. (source)
- How many people use YouTube daily? 30 million people use YouTube daily and 1.9 billion use YouTube monthly. (source)
- How many videos are watched on YouTube each day? People watch 5 billion videos on YouTube per day. (source)
- How many tweets are on Twitter each day? There are 6000 tweets per second on Twitter and 500 million tweets per day. (source)
- How many books does Amazon sell? Amazon OWNS the book market. It’s estimated they are responsible for the sales of 90% of all e-books and 50% of paperbacks and hardcovers around the world. (source)
- How many people use Tik Tok? TikTok and its Chinese counterpart Douyin have 1.29 billion active users worldwide. (source)
- How much time do people spend on Tik Tok each day? The average user spends 52 minutes per day on Tik Tok, but keep in mind these are short, bite-sized videos of 15 seconds. Sometimes 4 15 second videos are strung together but imagine the brainwashing power of 52 minutes worth of 15-second intervals. (source)
- How many videos are watched on Tik Tok per day? One billion videos per day are viewed on this social media site. (source)
- How much time do people spend on the internet, in general, every day? In 2019, it was noted that people spent on average 6 hours and 42 minutes on the internet per day. (source) I’d be willing to bet with the Covid restrictions that number has skyrocketed.
When you look at these utterly mind-blowing numbers, it’s pretty easy to see how the opinions of the masses are being shaped in exactly the manner desired.
I’m updating to highlight this part for the folks who just seem to think me closing my Facebook account solves all the problems.
It’s not about us.
It’s about the billions of other people who are only getting one side of the story, who are getting opinions presented as facts, and who are never getting access to anything that counters these philosophies. Big Tech has unfettered, uncontradicted access to the brains of BILLIONS. OF. PEOPLE.
Is that clear enough for you? It has nothing to do with you and your encrypted email, me and my Facebook account, or Jimmy Joe and his Twitter. Open your minds and understand we are looking at a mass shift in the philosophy of billions of people through the use of a technology empire that is nearly too large to combat. Go back up and look at those numbers above. Look at them again. And maybe even one more time if that’s what it takes for you to understand what we’re up against.
It’s all about “othering.”
You’ve probably heard the term “othering” used if you are a regular reader of violence dynamics and history text. Put simply, it means that a person or group of people are somehow different. They’re not like you. They’re more like animals than you and can therefore be treated differently. It’s a way to lessen our mutual humanity.
Here’s a better definition.
Othering is a phenomenon in which some individuals or groups are defined and labeled as not fitting in within the norms of a social group. It is an effect that influences how people perceive and treat those who are viewed as being part of the in-group versus those who are seen as being part of the out-group.
Othering also involves attributing negative characteristics to people or groups that differentiate them from the perceived normative social group.
It is an “us vs. them” way of thinking about human connections and relationships. This process essentially involves looking at others and saying “they are not like me” or “they are not one of us.”
Othering is a way of negating another person’s individual humanity and, consequently, those that are have been othered are seen as less worthy of dignity and respect.
On an individual level, othering plays a role in the formation of prejudices against people and groups. On a larger scale, it can also play a role in the dehumanization of entire groups of people which can then be exploited to drive changes in institutions, governments, and societies. It can lead to the persecution of marginalized groups, the denial of rights based on group identities, or even acts of violence against others. (source)
When you can freely insult and threaten one group of people on social media, but the other group is protected and sheltered, that’s some grand-scale othering happening right there. If I were to mention a different time in history when groups of people were othered to the point of brutal death, I’d be digitally crucified but any critical thinker can figure out exactly to what I’m referring.
I regularly receive messages threatening me with physical abuse, death, sexual assault with all manner of horrifically creative objects, as well as assorted ill wishes for myself, my offspring, friends, and family. But it’s never, ever considered to be “against community standards” when I report these messages. I’m just told to block them. However, I once got banned from Facebook for a month for posting a meme of a cat that looked like Hitler that said “Godwin’s Law.” (It’s a famous internet argument ender when someone gets called a Nazi. Well, it used to be. Before anyone slightly right of far left was considered a Nazi.) If someone beloved by the left got the messages I receive it would be front-page news. For me, it’s just another day in the life of being a blogger.
I’m far from the only person getting these types of messages. Non-public figures who are unfortunate enough to express an opinion that is politically incorrect are regularly excoriated on social media, their lives ruined, their livelihoods threatened, and their entire family subjected to massive public humiliation. Anyone can be “canceled” now and it’s okay because we’re seen as people who “deserve” it if we’re even seen as people at all.
Selco has warned us diligently about how the media bombarded people with the hate the inspired a modern genocide during the Balkan War, which was only 30 years ago. The same thing is happening right here in the United States of America and it’s being buried in 15 second clips and trendy social media pages.
There is no more discussion.
We’re basically living a real life version of Godwin’s law because the argument is over. Social media outlets have combined their extremely significant power to end the argument by silencing anyone who says, “Hey, wait a minute, let’s talk about this.” The rules are not applied evenly and the laws make it so that social media outlets can do this without being held legally responsible.
This is why civil dissent has gone to hell in a handbasket. Nobody knows how to have a debate where two people can disagree and remain friends. Now, every disagreement seems to end with someone being digitally burned at the stake. And speaking of fires, what about the digital book burning going on with things being stricken from the internet because it’s unpopular?
Big Tech has far too much power and influence and the government isn’t stopping it because the government fucking loves it.
THIS is how we can be censored and silenced but still be told we have our First Amendment rights. Because, golly gee, it’s not the government silencing Republicans and Libertarians and free thinkers. It’s social media and Amazon and Google and they’re a private business, remember?
Big Tech is the fourth branch of the United States government.
Big Tech is the shadow fourth branch of the government. It’s the Ministry of Propaganda cloaked as “private business.” They tell us, “If you don’t like our rules, go somewhere else.” Well, we did, and look what happened to Parler. Suddenly Parler was a “threat to democracy” and it was demolished in short order. I hope to see them regain their former popularity but since Big Tech conspired to silence them, they’ve lost a lot of ground. There are other alternative social media outlets but none have anywhere NEAR the reach of the ones I mentioned above and even those aren’t places for discussion. They’re echo chambers that just happen to be a lot friendlier to my point of view.
I want to be able to talk with my liberal friends and my conservative friends and discuss philosophies. That’s how we find common ground and how we win back our Republic – a Republic in which differing opinions can coexist without one person trying to destroy the other. We’re watching the fall of our Empire, being livestreamed on Facebook and YouTube (unless you step out of line – then your livestream will get cut mid-sentence like this one did).
A lot of people think we have gone too far for that kind of peace to ever be achieved and I hope that isn’t the case.
But it certainly can’t be achieved when the only information being accessed by literally billions of people is under the control of those with a Marxist agenda. It can’t happen when there’s a shadowy secret branch of the government masquerading as private industry adding insidious hatred to every interaction, hiding opposing opinions, and turning us against one another.
Our entire culture is being upended and taken over by those with an agenda. That agenda is cloaked in a sunny garment of fairness, equality, and tolerance but underneath that cloak lies hatred, rage, and violence. That agenda is all about control and if you can’t be controlled, you’re going to be silenced.
What do you think?
Does Big Tech have too much power? Should they be treated as private businesses and protected under the Communications Decency Act? If they have that protection, should they be able to moderate dissenting points of view?
Let’s talk about it in the comments section. Because here, for now, we can.