This weekend, Parler was taken offline. Apple, Google, and Amazon all removed the social networking alternative to Twitter from their app stores. Amazon Web Services, who had hosted Parler, discontinued that service.
I remember earlier this year, when Twitter and Facebook were ramping up their censorship. The argument was “these companies have a right to control what’s on their platforms.” People said “it’s just the free market working.” When technological monopolies who operate like cartels are not free market actors.
They said “make your own alternatives.” And then there was Parler, which grew in popularity. For conservative journalists, writers, and media personalities, Parler had become their free speech platform to communicate with their audience.
And now that’s shut down.
Many are fine with this (because they don’t actually care about free speech). They point to the horrendous riot in Washington last week. The fact that some people used Parler for nefarious purposes is the justification for deplatforming the entire app. Millions of people were responsibly using Parler, but because some weren’t, the tech companies had to take it down.
(Note: I don’t at all support the riot that happened last week. I wrote about how terrible I thought it was).
There’s no moral high ground for Big Tech
Big tech companies are not bastions of virtue. Apple produces iPhones in Chinese sweatshops where people are paid next to nothing. Facebook was used to help fuel a genocide in Myanmar, and failed to stop it. Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have all been utilized by terrorist organizations.
I’ll give a little bit of slack to these companies, in that I’m sure it’s very difficult to keep up with people who are associated with these groups. But my point is that those platforms are allowed to continue. There was a horrible event that happened in Washington on January 6, and it took less than a week for Parler to be shut down.
I see articles that accuse it of being a “right wing extremist” platform. Any site that isn’t a leftist outlet is going to be called a right wing extremist platform.
Monopolies need to be broken up
One of the great virtues of the internet used to be that it be “free and open.” Not so anymore. Big tech has increased its censorship. They employ their own fact checkers, but it’s imperfect and one sided. Leading up to the election, legitimate stories about Hunter Biden were censored. Oops.
Sadly, the tech companies will retain their power. Especially in the current political climate. The Democrats control the federal government. They’re not interested in expanding rights to free speech. Who from the DNC has publicly questioned shutting down Parler? No one.
People might think it’s wonderful that the social media platforms all banned President Trump this week. It’s also showing just how powerful they are. They can retaliate against the president himself. Surely no congressman or congressional committee can stand up to that. They influence what we see and their fact checkers decide what’s true.
Do I think the purge is on? No. But I also don’t see what would stop big tech if they wanted to further silence those who disagree with their politics.
I hear a lot of talk of conservatives creating their own echo chambers. I always find that so ironic. The popular culture has become an echo chamber for the left.
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