Sinister way Big Tech imposes the left’s agenda
It may just have been the fact that they were beamed in virtually to the hearing room, but our billionaire Big Tech overlords looked more cyborg than human when they testified before a Senate committee Tuesday.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, 43, in funereal black, with a castaway beard and nose ring, stood stiffly in front of an austere shelf of white bowls and empty bottles and talked about "humans" versus "algorithms."
Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg, 36, was freckly and clean-shaven, but came across as equally robotic. He wore a white shirt, blue jacket and striped tie against a bland backdrop of silk drapes and a potted plant.
Both spoke in a slow monotone.
Science fiction devotees could be forgiven for imagining that Facebook and Twitter had assigned holograms to answer senators' questions while Jack and Zuck hung out at one of their San Francisco mansions and played the new Call of Duty video game: Black Ops Cold War.
Obviously, that can't be true. They don't like each other. Dorsey even "unfollowed" Zuckerberg on Twitter in December, and no one knows better what an ostentatiously hostile act that is. He could have used the "mute" button, and no one would have been any the wiser.
In any case, Tuesday's Senate hearing was called to address Big Tech censorship of The New York Post's Hunter Biden laptop story, which had provided bombshell evidence that Joe Biden knew about his family's lucrative influence-peddling scheme.
It was the second time in three weeks Zuckerberg and Dorsey had been hauled before the committee, not that they seemed overly concerned.
Pretty soon, a disturbing pattern emerged. Democrats want more censorship, not less, as long as it silences conservative voices.
Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn) described what Twitter and Facebook had done to silence The Post and other conservative voices as "not censorship, that's moral and civic responsibility".
Sen Cory Booker (D-NJ) said he wanted more censorship of the President to stop him tweeting because "very dangerous (and) unprecedented waters" were ahead.
"Are there steps that you are prepared to take?"
Booker also complained that Facebook hadn't banned former President Trump adviser Steve Bannon and wasn't fast enough to ban the "Stop the Steal" page set up by Trump supporters to challenge election results.
Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del) went a step further, telling Dorsey he must do better to censor "climate denialism".
In other words, "impose our agenda or else".
"Helping to disseminate climate denialism … further facilitates and accelerates one of the greatest existential threats to our world," Coons said.
This is a sinister trajectory, whereby the power of Big Tech is used to perpetrate a globalist left agenda and silence opposition.
The rot set in more than a year ago, when Twitter and Facebook caved in to bullying by left activists to equate ambiguous election "integrity" issues with the unequivocal evils of terrorism and child exploitation.
This opened a Pandora's box of "harms" that may have influenced the election in ways we can barely perceive.
One Trojan horse used to bully Big Tech into doing the bidding of Democrats was the myth of "voter suppression" that took on added power in the context of pre-election Black Lives Matter protests. This shibboleth of leftist thinking equates voter suppression with racism. It also equates protections against electoral fraud, such as photo identification or signature verification, as voter suppression. Ergo, Voter ID equals racism.
Failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams is an energetic proponent of the voter suppression myth, which she blames for her loss in 2018. Kamala Harris echoed Abrams' claims last year and alleged that "voter suppression" also cost Andrew Gillum the 2018 governor's race in Florida.
But the truth is that black voter registration in Georgia outpaced white voter registration between 2010 and 2018, despite the fact that state voter-ID requirements were tightened, according to the Manhattan Institute's Jason Riley.
Nationally, black voter turnout in 2012 was actually higher than for whites - at 66.6 to 64.1 per cent - according to the Census Bureau.
Yet the false narrative has been cemented by liberal media to the point where Facebook and Twitter urgently introduced policies to address "voter suppression" before this year's election, which ultimately weighted information in favour of Democrats.
Dorsey on Tuesday described Twitter's election-related censorship as a consequence of pressure from "the public" (a k a progressive activists).
Twitter implemented a "civic-integrity policy to address misleading or disputed information that undermines confidence in the election, causes voter intimidation or suppression."
It also applied warning labels to more than 300,000 tweets from Oct. 27 to Nov. 11, he said, about 2.2 per cent of all US election-related tweets, including at least 65 times to Trump but never to Biden.
Zuckerberg must have received the same memo, as Facebook introduced new policies to "combat voter suppression and misinformation" including "a network of independent fact checkers." His claim of "independence" is dubious based on history, including Facebook's decision to throttle The Post's Hunter Biden story, which was neither "hacked" nor "misinformation."
"Hate speech" is another totem of the left, an amorphous concept used to describe an idea or person that runs counter to progressive ideology.
Coons mentioned a letter he and 14 colleagues sent Zuckerberg urging Facebook to "do more to address hate speech."
The devil is in the definition. For some people, every word out of Trump's mouth is "hate speech" that they have tried to stamp out for four years. Twitter's suppression of the President's tweets was the culmination of those efforts.
The pandemic offered another opportunity to stomp on American liberties. Twitter's and Facebook's "civic integrity" policies were extended to suppress the speech of lockdown critics.
Make no mistake, this is information warfare.
It has given a Big Tech elite, whether human or algorithmic, unchecked power over our elections.
Miranda Devine is in New York for 18 months to cover current affairs for The Daily Telegraph. This column originally appeared in the New York Post.
Originally published as Sinister way Big Tech imposes the left's agenda