VDARE Radio: Facebook Edition
April 12, 2018, 01:14 PM
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Welcome to VDARE RADIO, this is your host Virginia Dare.

Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress earlier this week. One of the more worrying signs was how many Senators were asking him about how the platform would ban so-called “hate speech.” As we know from experience, what they call “hate speech” is really just whatever speech the anti-American Left hates. Zuckerberg said Artificial Intelligence would eventually be able to solve the problem by closely examining language and penetrating its nuances. [Mark Zuckerburg ‘Optimistic’ He Will Have AI System To Root Out ‘Hate Speech’ Within 10 Years, by Ian Mason, Breitbart, April 10, 2018] That’s something beyond Orwellian.

Zuckerberg dodged a question from Senator Ted Cruz as to whether Facebook is a neutral platform or not. [Ted Cruz Grills Zuckerberg On Facebook Censorship: Who Moderates Your Moderators? By Allum Bokhari, Breitbart, April 10, 2018] In other words, he’s leaving open the possibility that he regards it as his legitimate right to simply censor the entire platform however he wishes.

Of all people, it was Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska who actually attempted to pin down Zuckerberg on the crucial question. What is “hate speech?” Who gets to define it? This is especially surprising because Senator Sasse is usually quite weak and is a fierce opponent of President Trump.

Senator Sasse asked, “Can you define hate speech?”

Zuckerberg appeared stunned by the question and confessed the company is struggling with it. However, chillingly, he seemingly referred to the European style laws limiting free speech as an example to follow.

“I do think that’s a question we need to struggle with as a country because I know other countries are in there putting laws in place,” Zuckerberg said. “I think America needs to figure out and create the principles we want American companies to operate under”. [Zuck Says He Wants To Ban ‘Hate’ Speech, Sasse Asks What That Means For Pro-Lifers, by Benny Johnson, Daily Caller, April 10, 2018]

Yet we already know what those “principles” are. We’ve known for a long time. Our principles are laid out in the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

Unfortunately, America is becoming a college campus writ large. As Senator Sasse pointed out, an increasing number of college students simply do not believe free speech is a value worth protecting if it conflicts with their right not to be offended. As Senator Sasse did not point out, but we will, support for free speech also varies depending on the demographic being asked about it. Whites are far more likely to support free speech than non-whites.

Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana, a Republican, said he doesn’t particularly want to regulate Facebook, but “by God I will”.  [GOP senator to Zuckerberg: ‘Your user agreement sucks, by Morgan Chalfant, The Hill, April 10, 2018] I’ll believe it when I see it. Though there was the Kabuki theater on the Hill today, conservatives don’t seem to be actually doing anything about Facebook’s increasing stranglehold over online media. In the end, what they’ll probably do is cut Zuckerberg’s taxes.

Social media is incredibly important because studies show Facebook is deliberately discriminating against conservative websites, possibly in an attempt to drive them out of business. [Facebook Bias: It’s Baked Into The Algorithms, WND, May 15, 2016] If politics is downstream from culture, Facebook increasingly controls the culture. By promoting certain news outlets and driving others out of business, by promoting certain narratives and destroying others, Facebook and other tech giants can shape opinion on a mass scale. They can completely freeze out opinions they disagree with.

Ultimately, this raises fundamental questions about the nature of democracy. What is the point of having people vote if their opinions are going to be determined by a small group of people in Silicon Valley? And how do we get out of this trap when the people who are being victimized by this, the conservatives, are so committed to this rhetoric about limited government and the so-called free market that they can’t do anything about it?

President Trump would not have won in 2016 if the online environment was as censored as it is today. Unfortunately, he may not realize that. He may after the 2018 mid-terms. But by then, it might be too late. The American Right needs to act now, or their entire movement will continue to be wiped out, one deleted account at a time.

I’m Virginia Dare and we’ll talk again soon.