Alexander Hall is a staff writer for MRC TechWatch
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Millions of Americans’ medical data was reportedly shared with Google, and even liberals are calling foul. Democratic leaders, including House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ), Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) have all condemned a business arrangement between Google and Ascension, the leaders “asking for more information about how patient health data is being used and shared” as reported by CNBC.
It’s all just a conspiracy! News Editor trashes The Wall Street Journal for its exposure of Google’s biased practices. Search Engine Land's News Editor Barry Schwartz wrote an article “Misquoted and misunderstood: Why we, the search community, don’t believe the WSJ about Google search” in an attempt to dismiss The Wall Street Journal’s damning exposé.
Facebook released a “report” on Wednesday, which is anything but transparent concerning its censorship and deplatforming of millions. “The company said it removed more than 3.2 billion fake accounts between April and September,” and it also “removed 11.4 million pieces of hate speech” during the same six-month period the previous year.
If skeptics needed any more evidence that Big Tech is liberally biased, Amazon delivered in a big way. Amazon published a policy list to “provide customers, investors, policymakers, employees, and others our views on certain issues,” the manifesto read. Though it tried to claim shortly thereafter that “there is much room for healthy debate and differing opinions.” We’ll see about that. Founder and CEO of Amazon Jeff Bezos also conveniently owns the liberal Washington Post, who unveiled its melodramatic motto “Democracy Dies in Darkness” after Donald J. Trump won the presidency.
You might not be exciting enough to be on a government watchlist, but Big Tech companies have allegedly taken a great interest in users’ private lives. Facebook may have been watching users through their cameras while they scroll through their newsfeeds. A web design firm owner named Joshua Maddux claimed in a tweet that he, “Found a @facebook #security & #privacy issue. When the app is open it actively uses the camera. I found a bug in the app that lets you see the camera open behind your feed. Note that I had the camera pointed at the carpet.”In the footage, his camera appears to be operating outside of his control in the background of his Facebook newsfeed.
Skeptical of Big Tech’s power over your life? Recent reports reveal Google may know all about your medical history. One of the world’s largest companies is reportedly involved in a massive plan to “collect and crunch” the personal health info of millions of Americans. The project code-named “Project Nightingale,” was reported on by The Wall Street Journal as “the biggest effort yet by a Silicon Valley giant to gain a toehold in the health-care industry through the handling of patients’ medical data.”
The Internet’s biggest video hosting site can delete your account if your use of its service is no longer deemed “commercially viable.” YouTube posted a terms of service update of new policies to take effect on December 10, 2019. One of the new rules states that “YouTube may terminate your access, or your Google account’s access to all or part of the Service if YouTube believes, in its sole discretion, that provision of the Service to you is no longer commercially viable.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) was forced to eat a slice of humble pie after she lost a lawsuit over free speech. The far-left Democrat apologized Monday for blocking one of her critics on Twitter, and as the Wall Street Journal summarized, she “agreed to settle a First Amendment lawsuit that challenged her practice of barring people from her account.” WSJ recounted how this particular lawsuit lawsuit filed back in July accused Ocasio-Cortez of “trying to suppress views contrary to hers in violation of the First Amendment.”
Too scared to show their faces? Apple and TikTok chose not to appear at a congressional hearing where political leaders took them to task. Josh Hawley (R-MO), Chairman of the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, hosted a hearing titled “How Corporations and Big Tech Leave Our Data Exposed to Criminals, China, and Other Bad Actors.” on Nov. 5.
The Heritage Foundation released a video that blasts the biggest video platform on the net for alleged censorship.This video is “the first public acknowledgment of a months-long, behind-the-scenes dispute” between the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation and Google partner organization YouTube, reported Axios.
If you thought Big Tech wasn’t confusing enough, Apple has released gender-neutral emojis for those confused about their biology. The latest iOS 13.2 update issued in late October gave users 398 new emojis ranging from more animals and new foods to more diverse inclusion. “Many of the added emoji include new foods, shapes, and additional variations on emoji depicting people and professions, including a gender-neutral option for a painter, welder, and scientist,” USA Today wrote in its coverage.
Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey has proclaimed that the platform will stop all political advertising going forward. “We’ve made the decision to stop all political advertising on Twitter globally. We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought,” Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey proclaimed in a Twitter thread.
Do you enjoy internet memes featuring everything from superheroes to Spongebob? The House of Representatives voted to approve a new measure that could eradicate internet jokes which use copyrighted characters forever by threatening users with up to $30,000 fines.
Facebook is undertaking radical changes to protect American elections, from labeling state-controlled media to announcing free speech protections. In recent weeks, Facebook has been walking a tightrope to keep both political sides happy in light of accelerating calls for regulation and other pressures to allow for free speech online as the 2020 election approaches. Facebook recently launched its “News” tab, where news stories will be picked by human curators to be shown to Facebook’s users. Facebook has reportedly approved more than 200 sources, and Breitbart is among them, much to the ire of liberal news outlets.
“This is why we’re fighting for the soul of America.” Conservative thought leader Dennis Prager and celebrity comedian Adam Corolla teamed up to create what looks to be a no-holds-barred brawler of a film to defend free speech. Dennis Prager and comedian Adam Carolla are co-stars in “No Safe Spaces,” a soon to be smash hit documentary that premieres tonight in Phoenix, Arizona. “It will open in dozens of theaters — producers hope hundreds — nationwide next week,” The Federalist observed.
Facebook is launching a “News” tab today, which will provide stories from hundreds of news organizations. This is the second time the social media site tried to decide what is news for its users. The first time exploded under allegations of bias against the right. “Facebook’s service will include some human curation by a small editorial team of journalists, who will select top stories” according to The Washington Post. Much like asking “who fact-checks the fact-checkers,” the question of “who curates the curators” will likely be on conservatives’ minds. After all, based on Facebook’s troubled history with truth, conservatives would be right to be concerned about their commitment to free expression.
It’s a time of unlikely allies when a Republican has to come to the defense of a Big Tech CEO to protect free speech from the far-left. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was put in the hot seat as the sole witness during the Oct. 23 hearing titled “An Examination of Facebook and Its Impact on the Financial Services and Housing Sectors.” But he was not entirely alone in his defense of free speech before the House Financial Services committee.
Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), tried to rake Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg over the coals for the way Facebook has decided to handle political ads. Zuckerberg, however, doubled down and went to bat for freedom of speech. The hearing, titled “An Examination of Facebook and Its Impact on the Financial Services and Housing Sectors” as cited by the official Financial Services House Government website had Zuckerberg as the sole witness.
Twitter has announced upcoming policy changes to ostensibly protect users from content that could “threaten someone’s physical safety” or “lead to offline harm.” Twitter Safety announced on its official account Oct. 21, that the company is “working on a new policy to address synthetic and manipulated media on Twitter” but want to hear back from their users before changes are finalized.
Without Russians to blame, liberal media have gone from scapegoating foreign agents to now condemning Facebook’s advertising itself. "That campaigns are now being fought largely online is hardly a revelation, yet only one political party seems to have gotten the message,” The New York Times lamented. In its Oct. 20 article “Trump Campaign Floods Web With Ads, Raking In Cash as Democrats Struggle,” The Times observed, “While the Trump campaign has put its digital operation firmly at the center of the president’s re-election effort, Democrats are struggling to internalize the lessons of the 2016 race and adapt to a political landscape shaped by social media."