If a conservative expresses a belief in a social-media forest and no one hears it, does he make a sound?
Yes — but nobody hears it.
That’s the whole idea behind the censorship of conservatives being effected by Google, Twitter, and Facebook, GoogTwitFace. It’s sneaky, too, with these companies claiming to serve all users but now, that they enjoy near monopoly control, slowly but surely exiling conservative voices to Internet Siberia.
Commentator John Hawkins warned about this recently in a piece entitled “How Conservatives Are Being Destroyed by Facebook, Twitter and Google Without Even Realizing It.” He announced that on Saturday, his website Right Wing News (born in 2001) shut down — or, in a sense, was shut down — withered on the vine.
Hawkins tells his tale about how his site went from hero to zero on Facebook:
Remember the mainstream media liberals going out of their minds because the Russians reached almost 150 million people with their $100,000 Facebook ad buy? In July of 2015, in just a week, the Right Wing News Facebook page reached 133 million people. Because conservatives were sharing content they were interested in, little ol’ Right Wing News (well, I guess nearly 3.6 million Facebook likes isn’t so little) was driving the same amount of web traffic as some of the biggest newspapers in America. Barack Obama’s Facebook page was 36 times bigger than our page; yet we had 7 times as many people talking about our content.
Ironically, that’s a big part of what killed the website.
You see, what Facebook giveth, Facebook can take away. So, why would Facebook want to kill extremely successful Facebook pages that its users enjoyed?
If you don’t know the answer to that question, you haven’t been paying attention. “Knowledge is power” and the “Pen is mightier than the sword”; GoogTwitFace now largely controls the flow of knowledge and whose pens will be seen, and conservative nails that stick up will be hammered down by this leftist leviathan.
How does this happen? Twitter has its shadow banning, Facebook its censors, and Google its blacklists. For example, American Thinker’s Jonathon Moseley wrote in 2014 about how Mark Zuckerberg was “blocking Republican candidates from his social media website Facebook in the GOP’s bid to retake control of the U.S. Senate.”
In 2016, it was announced that Facebook would, essentially, bury “fake news,” using as fact-checkers Snopes, ABC, the Associated Press, and Politifact — left-leaning entities all. This is likely what destroyed Hawkins’ site.
Conservative firebrand Milo Yiannopoulos was permanently banned from Twitter in 2016 after developing a huge following (he’s now suing the company). But far worse is shadow banning, where the idea, as a former Twitter software engineer admitted, “is that you ban someone but they don’t know they’ve been banned, because they keep posting and no one sees their content. So they just think that no one is engaging with their content, when in reality, no one is seeing it.”
Then there’s Google. Using the threat of denial of ad revenue, last year the company strong-armed website The Liberty Conservative into removing what the Google deemed a “hateful article.” Yet as with Twitter, it’s what you don’t see that’s most damaging: While Google once ranked websites based on popularity, it was announced in 2015 that it would work on ranking them based on “truthfulness” — as determined by the company’s desert-mystic, do-it-in-the-road techies, of course.
Moreover, I provided examples in 2016 and 2017 of how Google was burying The New American and other conservative sites. One tactic is to simply place a conservative article that warrants being on the first page of search results on a much lower page. Note that 75 percent of Web users never scroll past the first page. Anything below the second is Internet Siberia.
This matters because the three most important things in business are location, location, and location. When GoogTwitFace downgrades you, it’s essentially changing your location. As your Internet traffic tanks, so does ad revenue. And without ad revenue, sites can’t afford to pay writers and provide premium content. (Note here that GoogTwitFace is responsible for more than 80 percent of referrals to news and commentary sites.)
What this means is that GoogTwitFace’s censorship is in one sense almost as bad as government censorship; in another sense it’s worse. People know it when government denies freedom of speech, so they may expect lies. Our current system presents the illusion of information’s free flow, but it’s more and more a managed flow. Of course, the average person is unaware of this, that when he searches for the “truth” on the matter or is being shown “top news,” he’s often getting techies’ views.
Yet it’s also true that GoogTwitFace works hand-in-glove with Western governments, many of which demand it eliminate “hate speech” (read: politically incorrect views). This just cements and lends legitimacy to the entity’s censorial instincts.
Having said the above, my article is insufficient; Hawkins’ article is insufficient — because words are insufficient to truly relate the magnitude of this problem. Hawkins correctly states that social media — increasingly synonymous with GoogTwitFace — are the new public square. It’s a bit as if we were back in the newspaper age and GoogTwitFace existed and controlled not only all the advertising, but all the distribution mechanisms: the paper trucks, paper boys, and post office. Sure, you could print 100,000 copies of your paper, but how would you advertise it and get it to prospective customers if a hostile, quasi-monopolistic entity blacklisted you? You’d be relegated to selling it at your own little newsstand to whatever passersby were interested.
Hawkins sums up the problem, writing, “It’s easy to say, ‘Build your own social media website and compete with them,’ but we’re talking about companies with billions of dollars and monopolistic control of their markets.… We are now in a very oversaturated, corporation-dominated media environment. If you don’t already have a legacy website that captured traffic years ago and held onto it, huge traffic you can bring in from elsewhere, or millions of dollars to spend, your chances of getting a political website off the ground today are infinitesimal.”
It’s not so much that absolute power corrupts absolutely, but that it allows the absolutely powerful’s true self to emerge. GoogTwitFace’s monopolistic character is allowing its fascistic character to be revealed.