By Beau Rothschild
The Liberty Movement is fighting back against liberal elites in corporations like Facebook, Google, and Twitter using corporate power to marginalize their message. The Daily Beast reports that Twitter had no problem with Chinese disinformation about origins of the coronavirus. “Coronavirus disinformation spread by senior Chinese government officials does not violate Twitter’s terms of service, a spokesperson for the company told The Daily Beast on Monday.” This would be fine if Twitter had not already targeted conservatives for temporary and permanent bans.
The double standard is outrageous.
It is time for right-leaning users of social media to punish these companies using the free market. One way is for users to choose new cutting-edge social media platforms, like Parler, to use the power of the consumer to drive demand away from the big social media platforms to ones more friendly to open discussion and diverse political opinions.
Government policies have enabled these companies to use politically correct rules to moderate political speech. The giants of tech today benefit from Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act that provides a de facto massive subsidy for our nation’s largest social media platforms. Many of the ideas politicians are promoting to carve out exceptions to that law miss the boat. Section 230 has served to protect these companies when they moderate political speech in a way that violates the idea behind the First Amendment to the Constitution.
The Electronic Freedom Foundation makes the case that this law is “the most important law protecting Internet speech.” The benefits of this law are great, yet there is a strong case to be made that Twitter, and other social media giants, have used this protection to go after conservatives.
Twitter is a classic case of how one company can abuse conservative users in a way that limits speech. Twitter has engaged in the banning of many conservatives for a subjective violation of the platform’s rules. Look at the case of James O’Keefe of Project Veritas. Twitter blocked O’Keefe’s access to his Twitter account after he released a video showing a New York Democratic election commissioner admitting to voter fraud. The company also “shadowbanned” Dilbert cartoon creator Scott Adams because he asked his followers to tweet examples of supporters of Hillary Clinton violently confronting Donald J. Trump–supporters back in 2016. Shadowbanning is when a Twitter user’s comments are invisible to that person’s followers. That type of politically biased activity was not considered when Section 230 was made law.
Signing up for alternative platforms as a supplement to Twitter will put pressure on the media tech giants to change behavior without a change in law. The act of diversifying social media use will provide an outlet to conservatives who want to reach out to a targeted audience of conservatives and open-minded people who are OK reading messages they disagree with. Twitter has a monopolistic hammerlock on short-form social media communication, but that can be broken by right-leaning social media users diversifying and signing up for other means of communication.
The new social media company Parler has taken on Twitter with a business model that is friendly to the voices that have been stifled by social media giants. The company put out a statement after Katie Hopkins, a British conservative, was banned from Twitter for violating the subjective rules of the platform. Parler made the case: “Big tech has once again failed to take a moral stance and protect debate, discussion, and free speech when bullied by the censorship mob.” Parler correctly pointed out that the “cancel culture” that allows a liberal mob to stop speech it doesn’t like had won again, and Twitter showed “cowardice” in dealing with it.
At CPAC this year, Jeffrey Wernick, an investor in Parler, made a strong economic case about the “contestability of markets” with regard to social media giants. He cited the return on investment of Google (44%) and Facebook (51%) as examples of companies ripe for competition, yet they have grown market share. These companies are acting like monopolies with a market that is not being contested because of some obstacles to entering these markets.
It is time for conservatives to use the market power to fight back and move consuming to friendly sites like Parler.