Dangerous to our freedom and our culture

From The Conservative Case for Breaking Up Monopolies Such as Google and Facebook.

Tucker Carlson

@TuckerCarlson

The big digital monopolies demand that we conform to their worldview and shut us down when we dissent. They have too much power. They are are threat to this country. Congress is doing nothing about it. It’s time to complain, while we still can. @FoxNews

When he tweeted these words, Carlson was expressing a sentiment that many on the right have come to embrace. People are concerned, with good reason, that big tech companies discriminate against conservatives. Numerous conservative outlets have had their videos demonetized on Google’s YouTube. PragerU is appealing their loss in a lawsuit over that. A study by The Western Journal showed that a change to Facebook’s algorithm disproportionately harmed conservative sites.

In normal circumstances, this wouldn’t be a problem for government to solve, but social media has come to dominate our national conversation. Large political websites thrive or die based on changes to Facebook and Google algorithms. Everyone from cable news to newspapers to online-only publications create and tweak their content based on how they think it will play on social media. A study has also shown that Google search results can have a frighteningly large impact on elections.

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58 Responses to Dangerous to our freedom and our culture

  1. RobK

    Isn’t this problem just an extention of the long on-going trend that more regulation and bureaucracy tends to favour globalists and centralists?

  2. Crossie

    The only thing left is communication via email and I wonder if that is the next front in this war?

  3. The thing is, the likes of Facebook and Google are ostensibly monopolies, whichever way you look at it.

    For example, there is an alternative to YouTube, that being Vimeo. I have an account with both, but my viewing audience on Vimeo could be counted on one hand, so I moved to YouTube where it’s a different world entirely. Some like Sinc say just move somewhere else. But where? There really are no alternatives for anyone that wishes to retain the social media connections that these monopolies provide.

    That’s why I believe that there needs to be some form of reform, maybe as has been suggested that these companies become carriers, like the telecommunications industry, and therefore cannot discriminate.

  4. Roger

    A study has also shown that Google search results can have a frighteningly large impact on elections.

    Special prosecutor!

    The only thing left is communication via email and I wonder if that is the next front in this war?

    That front was crossed long ago. Your emails can be hacked if someone has reason to do so.

  5. I think this is an indication what’s ahead: http://www.breitbart.com/tech/2018/05/17/facebook-partners-with-globalist-atlantic-council-to-interfere-in-elections-around-the-world/.

    Facebook has partnered with the Atlantic Council, whose members include arch-globalists like Henry Kissinger and Dina Powell, to “protect free and fair elections around the world.”

    To cite just one example, the Atlantic Council has branded Hungary’s anti-globalist Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, as a “far-right autocrat” who runs a “quasi-authoritarian regime that bears little semblance to the democracy that allowed its accession to the EU and NATO”.

  6. J.H.

    Tucker Carlson is wrong…. It’s a fraught road to tread allowing Government to regulate media. Our system can’t even manage the ABC and that has a legally binding Charter which gets completely ignored.

    Let freedom reign I say. If Google or Facebook wants to censor themselves out of their own business model…. Then let them. Their competitors will gratefully step in to fill the void…..

    Trying to get the permanent State to regulate and maintain “fairness” is just asking to be dictated to. The ABC is fair warning of that.

  7. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    They are acting as monopolies. If they could work as service providers that would be best, with content providers evolving within, but making it all financially workable would be difficult.

    As it is though they are dangerous to freedom. One view (Sinc’s?) is that alternatives can arise if the impetus of choice is still there; but as noted above there are problems with this. Note however that MySpace was knocked out by FaceBook and some smart operator could start to capitalise on disenchantment with FaceBook (and Twitter). Gaining ‘presence’ is the issue. A few ‘limits to growth’ as in the old Trust Busting models might help.

    Interested in what others have to say on this, those who might have more insider knowledge than I do, looking from the outside as a non-user. I am not even ‘on’ Facebook or Twitter or anywhere much online except here.

  8. H B Bear

    Having quasi-monopoly tech giants filled with Leftists is a 2nd order effect of having schools and universities filled with Leftists.

  9. Interested in what others have to say on this, those who might have more insider knowledge than I do, looking from the outside as a non-user. I am not even ‘on’ Facebook or Twitter or anywhere much online except here.

    I’m use neither one, but my family and friends use Facebook almost religiously; their social lives revolve around Facebook (it’s the alternative to the phone which is rarely used). And I suspect that this is the same the world over.

    So how can anyone step in and take even 25% of Facebook’s audience? If someone was able to do this, it would have started already, but I’ve seen no movement on this score. Google is much the same. Bing (from the Microsoft giant) offers an alternative, but is an also ran when it comes to search engines, just look at the statistics: https://www.smartinsights.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Search-Engine-Market-Share-Desktop-1.png.

    Google knows this, Facebook knows this, Twitter knows this. And they are only becoming more powerful.

  10. Ƶĩppʯ (ȊꞪꞨV)

    Let freedom reign I say. If Google or Facebook wants to censor themselves out of their own business model…. Then let them. Their competitors will gratefully step in to fill the void…..

    name any competitor to facebook which has any real traction?

  11. The problem as I see it, is an organization that owns all the technology on the way to the retail customer.

    No opportunity for market disruption.

    Same problem as a telco being both wholesaler and retailer.

  12. Ƶĩppʯ (ȊꞪꞨV)

    For example, there is an alternative to YouTube, that being Vimeo. I have an account with both, but my viewing audience on Vimeo could be counted on one hand, so I moved to YouTube where it’s a different world entirely. Some like Sinc say just move somewhere else. But where? There really are no alternatives for anyone that wishes to retain the social media connections that these monopolies provide.

    the business model of social platforms is entirely based on total reach, ie monpolisation. If you have one social media platform you have no need for any others as its not the platform you want it’s the other users. if they are on the platform then there is a powerful disincentive to move.

  13. Confused Old Misfit

    name any competitor to facebook which has any real traction?

    I have some contact with digitally savvy contemporary “yoof”. Instagram & a voice/text application called Discord are their tools. Some still visit FB mainly to communicate with the “wrinklies”.

  14. Kneel

    “If they could work as service providers that would be best, with content providers evolving within, but making it all financially workable would be difficult.”

    The problem is that they both want to censor AND claim carrier status so they don’t get sued for what other people say. The only way is to make them nail their colours to the mast – are you going to censor, or are you a carrier? Can’t do both, so choose. Until someone forces this choice on them in a court of law, they will continue to sit on the fence.

  15. Jannie

    They don’t operate as monopolies in China. Perhaps its not possible to defang them by an anti trust initiative, but the best way to destroy Google/Youtube, Facebook, and Amazon would be to nationalise them and have them run by public servants. But then subsidising them could be expensive.

  16. JohnA

    bemused #2713400, posted on May 18, 2018, at 6:47 am

    The thing is, the likes of Facebook and Google are ostensibly monopolies, whichever way you look at it.

    For example, there is an alternative to YouTube, that being Vimeo. I have an account with both, but my viewing audience on Vimeo could be counted on one hand, so I moved to YouTube where it’s a different world entirely. Some like Sinc say just move somewhere else. But where? There really are no alternatives for anyone that wishes to retain the social media connections that these monopolies provide.

    That’s why I believe that there needs to be some form of reform, maybe as has been suggested that these companies become carriers, like the telecommunications industry, and therefore cannot discriminate.

    The big problem is that FB YT and G want to have their cake and eat it too.

    Their business model requires that they use algorithms to discriminate about the content they carry. Speaking out of this side of their collective mouths, they don’t want to be called monopolists but competitors in a wide open field of players.

    HOWEVER, they also want to be free from any challenge on the operation of those algorithms by claiming that they DON’T actually discriminate by (ab)using the privilege of common carrier protections provided in the US law (and Australian law for that matter). And here, they want to speak out of the other side of their mouths as de facto monopolists in order to attain to common carrier status.

    This was part of the YT “win” in the Prager case, which is why Denis Prager is still pursuing them.

  17. Dr Fred Lenin

    I have never had Facebook or twitter being an old timer. My business is MY business , I correspond with my family on Viber I find it better than email , personal of financial facts are by phone or face to face .I certainly don’t miss facebool]k or Twitter , they don’t exist to me.

  18. Iampeter

    What’s actually dangerous to our freedom and culture is those calling for the regulation of private enterprise as we see here.

    This is an important post to remind everyone how far left the conservative and libertarian movements have lurched, bereft as they are of any actual political ideas.

  19. What’s actually dangerous to our freedom and culture is those calling for the regulation of private enterprise as we see here.

    Show me one private enterprise anywhere in the world, irrespective of size, that isn’t regulated in one form or the other.

  20. Makka

    What’s actually dangerous to our freedom and culture is those calling for the regulation of private enterprise as we see here.

    The most dangerous risk to our freedom is censorship which is exactly what Fb, YT and G are doing. Using censorship, they are manipulating public opinion in favour of the filth whom you support.

    As monopolies they should be busted up , better yet regulated with an Internet BoR’s.

  21. 2dogs

    For the breakup, separate account management services from forum provision services.

    We kind of have that here, where Catallaxy provides the forum but accounts are provided by Gravatar.

  22. Tel

    What’s actually dangerous to our freedom and culture is those calling for the regulation of private enterprise as we see here.

    So if an organization makes a clear statement, “These are our community standards, and this is what we expect to be followed,” then would it be reasonable to hold them to this? How about if they arbitrarily break the rules they have previously promised their customers that they will follow… still OK?

  23. Grumbles

    People don’t use Bing because its crap, Google is better, I use it as a service because I find the things I want. If I can no longer find what I want on google I will start using a different engine. Obviously people are still happy with their Google results, Google will lose dominance when people are unable to find what they want (as a result of censorship?)

    Regulation is not required, consumers vote with their feet, the lack of a credible competition is only a result of a lack of a credible competitive service.

  24. Gary

    “This is an important post to remind everyone how far left the conservative and libertarian movements have lurched, bereft as they are of any actual political ideas.”

    Sounds like a little kid finding out his mum and dad isn’t perfect.

  25. sdfc

    Conservatives are long time supporters of legislation/regulation that suits their interests.

  26. Entropy

    I use Apple devices, DuckDuckGo is my search engine and I do not have a Facebook accounts not.
    Now, it is allied ruined by a Mrs Entropy’s facebook account, Miss entropy’s Instagram and master entropy’s 4chan.
    At least littlest miss Entropy still listens to me.

  27. Entropy

    Oh and I block ads and cookies

  28. EvilElvis

    Why don’t existing laws covering the right to be served and not discriminated against cover the internet? At its core it’s about your information and push advertising, meaning it’s a platform to sell you something.

    Maybe I’m off on a tangent but I find there’s normally a way a left leaning regulation can be used against itself.

    What’s in the meat of the policies you agree to on signup? Surely a contract goes both ways in fairness and equality and discrimination.

  29. To cite just one example, the Atlantic Council has branded Hungary’s anti-globalist Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, as a “far-right autocrat” who runs a “quasi-authoritarian regime that bears little semblance to the democracy that allowed its accession to the EU and NATO”.

    Well, fuck me. Anti-democrats describing democracy as undemocratic is as dishonest as ever known to man.

    Slavery is freedom, yada yada.

  30. Having quasi-monopoly tech giants filled with Leftists is a 2nd order effect of having schools and universities filled with Leftists.

    It’s just like democracy allowing nazis, communists and islamists to vote? It’s clear that enabling rights to those that use it only for the purpose of destroying them is somewhat counter-productive.

  31. max

    historically, monopoly has almost always represented a problem in society only when created, protected or imposed by government intervention.

    https://mises.org/wire/capitalism-and-misunderstanding-monopoly

    Dominant Firms Control the Regulators

    When new regulatory bodies are created to regulate firms like Facebook and other dominant firms, the institutions with the most at stake in a regulatory agency’s decisions end up controlling the agencies themselves. We see this all the time in the revolving door between legislators, regulators, and lobbyists. And you can also be sure that once this happens, the industry will close itself off to new innovative firms seeking to enter the marketplace. The regulatory agencies will ensure the health of the status quo providers at the cost of new entrepreneurs and new competitors. 

    https://mises.org/wire/dont-regulate-facebook-%E2%80%94-thats-what-zuckerberg-wants

  32. Iampeter

    Show me one private enterprise anywhere in the world, irrespective of size, that isn’t regulated in one form or the other.

    Yes and those of us who are actually right wing oppose this, not call for more of it like a buncha confused leftists.

    The most dangerous risk to our freedom is censorship which is exactly what Fb, YT and G are doing.

    Private enterprise cannot censor you. They have every right to kick anyone off their property if they want. Those calling for regulations forcing these companies to provide a platform are the ones on the side of censorship. You’re the one who wants the state to tell companies what they can or can’t say.

    So if an organization makes a clear statement, “These are our community standards, and this is what we expect to be followed,” then would it be reasonable to hold them to this? How about if they arbitrarily break the rules they have previously promised their customers that they will follow… still OK?

    Yes absolutely OK. You don’t get to tell them what they can or can’t do with their property and if you don’t like what they are doing then don’t use it.

    It’s 20th century redux up in here, except this time a buncha politically illiterate conservatives and libertarians are making all the socialist arguments that’ve been repeatedly debunked for over a hundred years.

  33. Yes and those of us who are actually right wing oppose this, not call for more of it like a buncha confused leftists.

    Thankfully I and I would guess many others here are not right wing, but conservative. Conservatives recognise the need for limited regulation, not over-regulation.

    And it’s in instances such as these where there is ostensibly no regulation that we consider that some may be warranted.

    Only avowed Leftists and disoriented conservatives would consider the current situation with the likes of Facebook, Google etc to be just perfect, given that the current situation suits Leftists perfectly.

  34. Gary

    Iampeter

    max just laid out my own reservation about regulations more clearly. But your ideas on contracts renders them useless. If YouTube said it will ban anyone for any reason they choose I wouldn’t have a problem. In the long term Google has fostered an internal SJW culture that’s already started to implode. However I do support the of banning all government agencies from using social media.

  35. Iampeter

    Thankfully I and I would guess many others here are not right wing, but conservative. Conservatives recognise the need for limited regulation, not over-regulation.

    Bemused, what you’ve written is no different to what I’d expect to read from even professional conservative commentators, but that’s the issue. This is why I refer to conservatives as the politically illiterate arm of the left wing. It’s not to be rude or something, it’s just accurate.
    People who know what they are talking about don’t say things like “need limited regulation” but not “over regulation”. What does this vague nonsense even mean? Gotta have some authoritarianism but not too much? Why knows.

    Those who actually understand politics, understand that it is about rights and those of us who are actually right wing support rights protecting government. What this means in practice is the courts, police and armed forces and nothing else. Such a government would no more regulate private enterprise then it would regulate immirgation or marriage or speech, etc.

    The left wing on the other hand, are collectivists and don’t care about rights. They are either ideologically driven (e.g. environmentalists or unions or theocrats) or they are just clueless people who don’t really know what they are doing in politics (e.g. your average conservatives and libertarians).

    There really wouldn’t be an issue with this except conservatives constantly try to position themselves as an alternative to the left when it couldn’t be further from the truth and this post and thread are another great example of what I’m saying.

  36. Kneel

    “Private enterprise cannot censor you. They have every right to kick anyone off their property if they want. Those calling for regulations forcing these companies to provide a platform are the ones on the side of censorship. You’re the one who wants the state to tell companies what they can or can’t say.”

    If they claim these rights, then they cannot also claim the rights of a common carrier – that is, if they exercise their right to “throw you off”, “downgrade your relevance” or otherwise censor or modify any of the content they host, then they are legally responsible for everything on their site(s). Every. Single. Word. And. Picture.

    Alternately, they can lay the responsibility of the content of their site(s) on their users (ie, customers), in which case they cannot censor or modify any content other than as legally directed to. There may also be anti-trust implications WRT advertising as well.

    YT, FB and G all want to censor/modify content at their whim, and at the same time not be responsible for what is there. Doesn’t work that way, as I am sure PraegerU is slowly showing them – a very clever strategy, to take them to court (probably several times) knowing you will lose, just to have their stance nailed down. Then comes the winner and they have no escape. Risky, unless done very carefully. Makes for good viewing from the sidelines though!

  37. This is why I refer to conservatives as the politically illiterate arm of the left wing. It’s not to be rude or something, it’s just accurate.

    People who know what they are talking about don’t say things like “need limited regulation” but not “over regulation”. What does this vague nonsense even mean? Gotta have some authoritarianism but not too much? Why knows.

    Except that you’re wrong. Genuine conservatives occupy the middle ground (one of balance) on such issues. Your view is ostensibly anarchy, or perhaps a system that existed before common laws etc. Your view, for example, would have children working in coal mines and unregulated factories, as they did in the 1800s. Why not, it only stopped because of regulations.

  38. Iampeter

    You know bemused, I went to a lot of effort to make it clear I support rights protecting government which is the opposite of anarchism. I even went to the effort of explaining what that looks like in practice, the courts, police and armed forces and nothing else, which clearly demonstrates that this is the opposite of anarchism which would have none of those things.
    Anarchism is not an alternative to authoritarianism with conservatives in the middle or something. Anarchism is the transitionary stage towards authoritarianism and so belongs on the same side of the political spectrum.

    The actual political spectrum is individualism vs collectivism or freedom vs authoritarianism. And conservatives are not in the middle. Conservatives are on the side of collectivists and authoritarians (ie the left wing) and this issue and the overall leftist attack on the property rights of tech companies is just another example of this.

  39. I even went to the effort of explaining what that looks like in practice, the courts, police and armed forces and nothing else,

    So where do the kids working in coal mines and dangerous workshops fit in? You’re the sort of guy that would have supported the Pink Batts episode, unregulated installers and just a few unfortunate deaths. Let’s not have any product standards, what’s a few injuries and deaths. You really haven’t explained anything, maybe because once you start getting into the detail, it’s not so simple.

  40. Iampeter

    So where do the kids working in coal mines and dangerous workshops fit in?

    They don’t? What are you describing? Is this an example of industrial revolution children working in factories as an alternative to starving or modern children building iphones as an alternative to prostitution and starving? What exactly are you against in your own example? What are you arguing for? Children should starve or turn to prostitution instead of working in mines and factories if those are their only alternatives?

    “You really haven’t explained anything, maybe because once you start getting into the detail, it’s not so simple.”
    That’s not me you’re describing.

    You’re a leftist, making the same arguments as any leftist but you think you’re not a leftist? Sorry.

  41. You’re a leftist, making the same arguments as any leftist but you think you’re not a leftist? Sorry.

    You admit that you’re in favour of forced child labour, simply because it’s the lesser evil. Leftists are the ones that don’t particularly care about people; think Pink Batts, boat people, old folk dying from cold because they can’t afford heating, supporting MS13 ‘animals’ etc.

    You are in favour of the likes of Facebook, Google etc having unfettered control over people’s ability to have their voices heard while they claim to be impartial, yet seek government regulations to protect them, while seeking government regulation against telecoms companies. Leftists are the ones that want to have full control of people, what they do, what they think, what they say, how they live.

    I’m not sure which side you sit on, but it’s a very unpleasant one to say the least.

  42. Iampeter

    You admit that you’re in favour of forced child labour, simply because it’s the lesser evil.

    No and nothing can even accidently be interpreted this way.

    Basically I’m saying tech companies have property rights like everyone else and you not wanting to acknowledge that you are just another anti-rights leftist having shifted the argument in classic leftist terms to be about the evils of child labor which no one was even talking about until you brought it up.

    I’m on the side of property rights and that makes me right wing.
    You’re on the side of regulating private enterprise or else child labor will happen, oh noes!
    This makes you an almost quintessential leftist.
    These are the kinds of debates I expect to be having on left wing websites not on Australias “leading right wing website”.

  43. Iampeter

    You are in favour of the likes of Facebook, Google etc having unfettered control over people’s ability to have their voices heard while they claim to be impartial, yet seek government regulations to protect them

    No, this isn’t even remotely what the issue is.

    Just like you randomly bringing and mischaracterizing child labor, so you are utterly confused about the issue of tech companies and their property and what their rights are with respect to their own property.

  44. so you are utterly confused about the issue of tech companies and their property and what
    their rights are with respect to their own property.

    Do you understand what a monopoly or monopolistic powers/market means?

  45. Iampeter

    Do you understand what a monopoly or monopolistic powers/market means?

    Yes. It’s called a leftist myth.

    The only way you can actually have something like what you are trying to describe is if government starts interfering in private enterprise in the manner you are advocating for.

    Refer to Max’s second link further up in this thread for some basics on why that is.

  46. max

    “would have children working in coal mines and unregulated factories, as they did in the 1800s. Why not, it only stopped because of regulations.”

    the national law against child labor didn’t pass until the Great Depression — in 1938, with the Fair Labor Standards Act.

    as prosperity grew with the advance of commerce, more kids left the workforce. By 1930, only 6.4 percent of kids between the ages of 10 and 15 were actually employed, and 3 out of 4 of those were in agriculture.

    we get richer, we can afford children,wife and us not to work .

    regulations no needed.

  47. yarpos

    “I have some contact with digitally savvy contemporary “yoof”. Instagram & a voice/text application called Discord are their tools. Some still visit FB mainly to communicate with the “wrinklies”.”

    most of savvy yoofs are swiping pointing morons with no clue how any of it works

    Instagram owned by Facebook

  48. Thankfully I can still disagree with Leftists pretending to be conservatives, though that option is becoming shaky, just ask Paul Joseph Watson, Prager U, Milo etc. As Gillian Triggs said ‘ Sadly you can say what you like around the kitchen table at home.’ The Left would like to not only stop you saying what you believe online, but at home as well.

    But that’s where Facebook, Google, Twitter, Their ABC etc come in, private or public companies run by Leftists. And their next move of these private companies is to start interfering in politics worldwide, by stifling conservative speech. But hey! They are private companies, nothing to see here. And the Left were complaining about the Russians.

  49. Iampeter

    Bemused, you are the leftist, alongwith pretty much everyone you mentioned in your post, as are conservatives as the position you and they have taken on this issue proves.

    And their next move of these private companies is to start interfering in politics worldwide, by stifling conservative speech. But hey!

    That’s what you’re advocating for by calling for regulation of these companies.

    The whole issue with politics today is there is no right wing in mainstream politics. Just progressives and their confused counterparts in the conservative movement.

  50. Bemused, you are the leftist, alongwith pretty much everyone you mentioned in your post, as are conservatives as the position you and they have taken on this issue proves.

    Nope, you’re the Leftist. Simply calling yourself right wing gives your position away. No true conservative (or liberal conservative) calls themself right wing. Given that you don’t understand this, it’s clear that you’re a numpty Left-wing idealist trying to make out like a conservative.

  51. Iampeter

    I’m right wing because I stand for individual rights and rights protecting government, which is why I’m on the side of property rights and the tech companies on this issue.

    You are a typical leftie, even going so far as to bring up “child labour” to try and justify violating the property rights of private companies.

    None of you call yourselves “right wing” because you’re all completely politically illiterate and have no idea what you’re talking about.

  52. You’ve outed yourself and my job is done. 🙂

  53. Iampeter

    Yes, I’ve outed myself as someone who knows what he is talking about.

    I know this is a rare thing in a cat comment thread.

  54. closeapproximation

    Private platforms used by willing fools.

    The worst thing that could happen next is government regulation!

    Luckily, blockchain is here and will fix everything.

  55. Rococo Liberal

    FB, YT and Google are like Hollywood, they could make a lot more money if they were neutral or biased to the right. However, they make quite enough by being biased to the left, so they don’t care.
    The solution is easy, some right wing billionaires need to buy into these companies and enforce a right bias. In the meantime, right wing entrpreneurs need to develop new platforms that capture the youth market.
    After all, our side is supposed to be one that is into the free market and knows its way around te corporate world.

  56. Kneel

    “The solution is easy, some right wing billionaires need to buy into these companies and enforce a right bias.”

    I agree it would be amusing to watch.
    But so very short lived…

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