The Biden administration boasts about controlling discourse on Facebook
For years, I've been telling anyone who will listen that the tight link between government and Big Tech is a hallmark of fascism: unlike fascism's socialist brother, communism, which has government take over the means of production, fascism, as Hitler and Mussolini practiced it, is an intertwining of private enterprise and government, with each serving the other. Genocidal megalomania is not a prerequisite for fascism, so I'm not calling Biden "Hitler." However, we should all be concerned when Biden's spokesman boasts that the White House is flagging "problematic" content for Facebook so it can know what to censor.
Here is Jen Psaki, telling a roomful of admiring "reporters" (read: flacks) that the Biden administration is making sure that only government-approved information ends up in the hands of the social media outlets that are the way many Americans get their news:
In relevant part, she states:
In terms of actions...that we have taken or that we are working to take from the federal government, we've increased disinformation research and tracking within the Surgeon General's office, we're flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread disinformation, we're working with doctors and medical professionals to connect to connected [sic] medical experts with popular who are popular [sic] with their audiences with accurate information and to boost trusted content so we're helping get trusted content out there[.]
Some of that "trusted content" came from Olivia Rodrigo, an 18-year-old TikTok star who showed up with Psaki on Wednesday to assure her fans that it's really important to get a vaccine. Clearly, this is vaccine information from on high. Nobody would ever get vaccine disinformation from an 18-year-old pop singer.
But back to that bit about the White House serving as one of Facebook's fact-checkers. Glenn Greenwald, a political leftist who nevertheless has tremendous reverence for the First Amendment and a free society (yeah, I know, there's cognitive dissonance there, but he's still fighting the good fight), was livid about this latest Biden initiative:
If you don't find it deeply disturbing that the White House is "flagging" internet content that they deem "problematic" to their Facebook allies for removal, then you are definitionally an authoritarian. No other information is needed about you to know that.— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) July 15, 2021
The White House is admitting that they're compiling lists of people who they claim are posting content they regard as "problematic" and that constitute "misinformation" and are demanding Facebook remove them. This is authoritarianism:https://t.co/gxrdUDblyS— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) July 15, 2021
Has the Biden WH also begun identifying books carried by Amazon that it regards as "problematic" and instructed Amazon to take them down and stop selling them immediately?— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) July 15, 2021
What's the difference between that and what it's doing with FB? What % of liberals would also support that?
Wondering if @ACLU plans on weighing in at some point soon about the fact that the Biden WH today boasted it is flagging posts it regards as "problematic" and telling FB to take them down immediately. Seems like a relevant issue for them.https://t.co/KBMZpFiSzL pic.twitter.com/qbzGIErlmJ— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) July 15, 2021
The whole thing smells especially bad because the social media companies effectively destroyed the physical public square. They did this, first, by giving people the sense that their platforms were the precise equivalent of a public square: places in which people could freely share their opinions. Then, once most of America was on board, the platforms began cracking down on speech in the same way any tyrannical government does.
The social media outlets were the equivalent of hotels that used to allow Blacks and then suddenly went all Jim Crow on them. It took the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to end that pernicious problem with places of public accommodation. The First Amendment should be sufficient to end the denial of Civil Rights in which the tech tyrants — which are acting in a public capacity — are engaged. Instead, we have an administration that not only is allowing their unconstitutional wrongdoing, but is complicit in it.
Image: White House and Facebook logo from the public domain.
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