On February 9, 2021, Young Women for America (YWA) National Director Annabelle Rutledge was honored to host Rachel Bovard, Senior Director of Policy at the Conservative Partnership Institute, on the topic of Big Tech and Censorship. Rachel is also a senior adviser to the Internet Accountability Project and has submitted testimony to Congress on the dangers of viewpoint discrimination and censorship from Big Tech.
If you missed YWA’s Leader Call and want to watch it back, you can view it here. Below are key talking points from our time learning from Rachel.
- The issue of Big Tech and Censorship is no longer merely a debate on what we can say on social media, but about power colluding to control free speech and the marketplace of ideas in the United States.
- Google, Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, etc., control the public space and thus, control the narrative.
- These platforms aren’t even just social sites anymore; they are market access retail sites, which means their censorship has an impact on small businesses.
- The way that they control access to information has an unparalleled effect on society. We saw this most dramatically when the platforms collectively engaged in a total blackout on the New York Post Hunter Biden story.
- Original – (As a result, Americans couldn’t access information on corruption in a presidential candidate’s family that has a significant impact on how we vote in this country. This is no small thing!)
- We have also seen censorship in regards to COVID- 19. Social sites decided what information you were allowed to access, even censoring medical professionals. They seemingly declared themselves smarter than medical doctors by deciding what information you have access to about the disease and its treatments.
- As Conservatives, we were ill-prepared for this moment. It was a slow fade until it wasn’t! Our propensity towards the free market tends toward a hands-off approach, but in this case, the level of market manipulation demands change.
- When people say that these platforms are just private companies making content moderation decisions, there is a gross misunderstanding of the one-sided viewpoint discrimination taking place at the behest of the government and veiled by private companies.
- The government is hiding behind Big Tech and relying on them to censor the American people as an extension of the government.
- In the summer of 2020, Facebook interfered with private citizens’ constitutionally protected free speech by not allowing anti-lockdown protesters to organize using their platform.
- In this case, Facebook was working on behalf of the government. The government could not shut down constitutionally protected free speech, so Facebook, acting as the arm of the government, took care of it for them. This is a real danger.
- Google, Facebook, and Amazon worked together to get Parler taken off of the App Store, the Play Store, and Amazon Web Services because “It was used to plan insurrection.” In reality, Facebook, and Instagram by proxy, were more widely used in the planning leading up to January 6.
- When Michelle Obama tweeted out that she wanted Donald Trump banned from the big tech platforms, Big Tech did it. This should scare us. Big tech should not have the ability to silence political opponents.
- When corporate power fuses with government power, it is the literal definition of fascism in that it is dictatorial power and forcible suppression of opposition.
- A healthy government, and even private companies, should recognize that there is room for everyone in the marketplace of ideas.
- The answer to bad speech should be more speech by allowing our ideas to flourish and having a healthy debate. Big Tech is trying to put an end to that – to a deliberate and one-sided end.
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