When you hear the term “Search Engine,” your first thought is probably “Google.”If you hear “Social Media,” you probably think of sites like “Facebook,” “Twitter,” and “YouTube” and not “Online Blackjack.”
All these companies are a part of Silicon Valley – a famous area in California where many of these tech giants conglomerate. When I say “Tech Giants,” I mean it too. Nowadays, more people are getting their news sources from the internet than anywhere, ergo; Google, Facebook, YouTube, etc.
However, rather than being the paragons of the future and emissaries of progress and forward thinking, it’s becoming more and more clear that these tech giants are power drunk and sliding backward into 1984.
The Rights of Sites
First, let me describe what rights these sites have.
If they’re a private corporation, the rules are different. I can establish whatever rules I want in my private home (more or less), and, whether you like it or not, I can kick you out of my home for violating my karaoke-ban (or whatever).
For online websites, it’s slightly different. First, a website is designated as either a “Platform” or a “Publisher.”
A blog, where articles like the one you’re reading are edited and reviewed before being uploaded, is a publisher, and therefore responsible for everything they post. If I violate copyright by claiming Star Wars is my own, the website is responsible for that, and the consequences fall on the site.
If, however, the website does NOT moderate its content, but merely acts as a tool for others to use, then it is a platform, and the individual user is responsible for whatever they post. Tech companies like Google and Facebook are protected, but should they be?
Facebook, in the last few years, has been dragged through the mud because of the concerns of many regarding privacy violations of their personal data. Privacy is a whole issue unto itself, but the more concerning issue is Facebook censorship.
Facebook actively monitors and moderates its content beyond what I believe is acceptable. It bans users based on guidelines that are vague and throws around terms such as “Hate speech,” “Extremist,” and “Nazi” without defining or equally applying these terms.
Relatively recently, Facebook banned Alex Jones, Louis Farrakhan, and Paul Nehlen (Conspiracy Theorist, Antisemite, and White Supremacist, respectively). Okay, why should we care that Facebook removed these people, surely that’s a good thing?
Well, what about Paul Joseph Watson, Laura Loomer, and Diamond & Silk? These people are hard “extremists.”
The point is that whether you agree with these people or not, they have a right to speak just like anyone else does. In the modern age, the internet is an invaluable platform for sharing opinions, ideas, and disagreements, and it’s a violation of one’s rights to simply take that speech away, especially when the rules are inconsistent, sometimes nonexistent, and full of bias and double-standards.
And that’s JUST Facebook.
Google is just as bad, if not worse.
For example, a few years ago, Google was participating in a project they called “Project Dragonfly.” This was a codename used for a version of Google that would meet China’s censorship standards and be allowed past the infamous Chinese firewall. When it became publicly known that Google was willing to enforce authoritarian censorship just to get access to a wider market, there was an outcry, and Google backed out of the deal.
That doesn’t mean Google has stopped.
Recently, a whistleblower from inside Google, working with the independent journalist group “Project Veritas,” released documents and undercover footage detailing Googles internal biases. For instance, Google moderates its suggested searches. If you type into Google “Men Can,” the top three suggested results are “men can have babies,” “get pregnant,” and “have periods.”
Google has been lying and claiming that these suggestions are based on what people are searching for, but the documents and testimony of this whistleblower suggests otherwise. In fact, it’s possible to check using tools like Google Trends and various other programs to find out what people are really searching for.
Big Tech Verses Christianity
Now, you may have read the title and have gotten to this point and be wondering, “What does any of this have to do with Catholicism?”
The answer is simple. Big Tech really does not like Christianity. Or religions in general, for that matter (except Islam, but that’s a whole topic by itself).
Another whistleblower working with Project Veritas released documents that Pinterest (!) of all sites, flagged and blacklisted a Christian, pro-life website by “accidentally” mislabeling it as pornography. Twitter has blocked and deleted posts of JUST direct quotes from Mother Teresa. A Christian Mother was banned for three days from Facebook for quoting the Bible.
The list goes on.
So… what is there to be done? Can’t “we the people” just make our own sites to compete if they don’t like Facebook?
Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. A social media site called Gab has done exactly that, but it has been hounded since day one, being targeted as a “hate platform,” or a retreat for “dangerous trolls.” Financial companies and ISP’s alike have shunned it, making it almost impossible for it to exist.
The solution is to be noisy, to point out censorship where it exists, and to put our votes with candidates that are knowledgeable and willing to take action against these tech giants. It might take years, they will go kicking and screaming, but we the people can and must hold onto our Freedom of Speech.
REAL Freedom of Speech.