Alexander Hall is a staff writer for MRC TechWatch
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After previously being banned in mid-May, One America News Network’s White House correspondent Chanel Rion has been mysteriously suspended from twitter once again. “And just like that, Twitter no longer deemed me worthy of existence” she tweeted on her backup account before adding “No reason given for my suspension. Absolutely unacceptable.”
Big Tech representatives from Facebook, Twitter and Google will testify September 18 on their platforms’ supposed “digital responsibility” to prevent “mass violence.” ABC News reported that Big Tech representatives such as “Facebook's head of global policy management Monika Bickert, Twitter's public policy director Nick Pickles and Google's global director of information policy Derek Slater” are all slated to represent their companies as witnesses for the September 18 hearing.
Once again, Twitter does not seem to understand satire. Titania McGrath is a parody Twitter persona created by comedian and Spiked columnist Andrew Doyle to satirize social justice advocates. “She” was suspended by Twitter for 7 days in mid-September after sending a satirical insult to a Twitter user.
Many fans were dismayed when PewDiePie, YouTube’s biggest individual creator, planned to donate to the censorious ADL. Today he has recanted after the backlash and says he will instead donate his money elsewhere. Yesterday PewDiePie, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, appeared to pledge $50,000 to the ADL, an organization that attacked him and has famously put out hit lists of politically-incorrect YouTubers worthy of deplatforming.
The most popular YouTuber on the platform is attempting to gain favor with the organization that wrote no company “has any obligation to support his wide dissemination of hate speech.” PewDiePie, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, announced on September 10 that he will donate $50,000 to the Anti-Defamation League. Because of his previous dust-up with the ADL, subscribers and fans are skeptical.
If nothing else, the sordid story of Jeffrey Epstein has done some good by exposing possible corruption in academia, science, and Big Tech. Business Insider wrote that LinkedIn founder and Microsoft board member Reid Hoffman is the latest in a long list of “powerful figures attracting scrutiny for their connections to now-deceased sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.”
Amazon, whose labor practices have been criticized from the left and right, is now facing a strike, over climate change activism. Amazon will face its first worker’s strike in its meteoric 25-year history. Many other Big tech giants from Google to Riot Games and Wayfair. Now the bell of worker’s activism tolls for Amazon.
Big Tech companies are facing their day of reckoning from the Pro-Life movement. Leading pro-life organization Live Action has gone through its fair share of confrontations with Big Tech, and now is taking the fight to the next level. In early September, Live Action’s attorneys sent cease and desist letters to YouTube and Pinterest. These letters accused them of suppressing content and breaching contracts, which resulted in money loss and damaged reputations.
Hundreds of millions of Facebook users’ phone numbers have been exposed online to the public. According to TechCrunch’s September 4 story, a compromised server exposed over 419 million users across multiple countries, “including 133 million records on U.S.-based Facebook users, 18 million records of users in the U.K., and another with more than 50 million records on users in Vietnam.”
Both Republicans and Democrats are chomping at the bit to take Big Tech to task over antitrust concerns. The Hill reported on September 3 that Senate Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust will host an upcoming hearing to “explore issues relating to competition in technology markets and the antitrust agencies’ efforts to root out anticompetitive conduct.”
The left is trying to steer Facebook into doing more censorship. Sen. Ron Wyden, (D-OR) proclaimed that Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg should face dire consequences for how he has chosen to run the platform. However, he also calls for more censorship of the internet as a whole.
YouTube deplatformed tens of thousands of videos for being “hateful,” then defended its actions as “responsibility.” The blog post said the company balances the dual goals of that being “preserving free expression, while also protecting and promoting a vibrant community.” “Openness comes with its challenges,” the blog explained, adding that is “why we also have Community Guidelines that we update on an ongoing basis.”
After discovering Instagram’s plan to “hide the public like counts of photos,” reverse engineer Jane Manchun Wong observed that Facebook may follow suit. In her September 2, blog, she made clear that she works at neither Big Tech company, but has merely discovered these experiments by “reverse-engineering the app and playing with the code underneath.”
YouTube has been giving mixed messages about whether it is an open platform or not. The day after deplatforming multiple right-wing accounts, YouTube released a creator blog titled ”Preserving openness through responsibility.” It proclaimed itself an open platform for diverse, even controversial, ideas. The next day, YouTube mysteriously reinstated some of these deplatformed channels, while leaving others offline.
When is the best time to pretend to be a neutral and open platform? Probably not after banning several accounts for content. YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki released a creator blog ”Preserving openness through responsibility” Tuesday August 27. She declared her commitment to the video sharing website being an “open” platform while also proclaiming a commitment to liberal values.
Forget education. Now academics are mad that free speech YouTubers are turning students against liberal brainwashing. The Verge wrote on August 21, “As misinformation and hate continues to radicalize young people online, teachers are also grappling with helping their students unlearn incorrect, dangerous information.” The professors and The Verge blamed YouTubers like Canadian Academic Jordan B. Peterson and The Post Millennial columnist Lindsay Shepherd for teaching the youth to think critically.
One conservative media outlet’s battle over free speech can shake up the country’s future. On Tuesday August 27, PragerU held a press conference after their hearing at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals during the saga of their lawsuit against Google/Youtube. Prager is a popular conservative media outlet known for its academic but easy to understand videos which explain conservative ideas.
Facebook has banned pro-Trump news outlet the Epoch Times from any further advertising on its platform. As NBC News observed, the organization “spent more money on pro-Trump Facebook advertisements than any group other than the Trump campaign.” The ban which NBC News reported August 22 will not scour Epoch Times content from the platform. Facebook's ban only impacts paper's ability to buy advertising.
After waves of criticism — from accusations of bias to firing employees for their political beliefs — Google has rolled out new internal rules for people of all political stripes. Don’t be political. Recode wrote about Google’s new rules, announced Thursday August 22, which include “restrictions on political expression and guidelines on internal debates about company activity.” The guidelines themselves forbid “disrupting the workday to have a raging debate over politics” and encouraged employees to report violations via a “central flagging tool.”