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Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

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Former Google employee: It’s important to ‘fight monopolies’ like Google

Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 9, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Online social media monopolies like Facebook and search engine companies such as Google threaten American democracy by censoring free speech and thought, according to a researcher fired by Google.

Many Christian groups and other conservatives have complained that Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, PayPal and Google ban politically incorrect speech, forbid ads, take videos off their platforms, disallow donations, and even remove group pages in the name of “violation of policy.”

“Google, Facebook and to certain degrees also Amazon have captured the flow of information and ideas between citizen and citizen,” former New America Foundation senior fellow Barry C. Lynn announced. “Our ability to communicate freely with one another in this country, which is the primary basis for being able to protect our democracy, is now threatened in very real ways today.”

Lynn isn’t the only one pointing out the increasing tyranny of social media giants. Zephyr Teachout, a former colleague of Lynn’s at NAF, warned that Google was “coming after critics in academia and journalism” and “forming into a government of itself … incapable of even seeing its own overreach.”

“Google has established a pattern of lobbying and threatening to acquire power,” Teachout wrote in The Washington Post. “It has reached a dangerous point common to many monarchs: The moment where it no longer wants to allow dissent.”

A popular Google slogan is “Don’t be evil.” Teachout says Google has become what it warns others against. “It appears that Google may have lost sight of what being evil means, in the way that most monarchs do,” she penned. “Once you reach a pinnacle of power, you start to believe that any threats to your authority are themselves villainous and that you are entitled to shut down dissent.”

Teachout advocates that citizens demand enforcement of antitrust laws against monopolies. She said “great, innovative companies” should not be allowed “to govern us.”

New America Foundation is a “think tank” group funded largely by Google that seeks to influence public policy. When Lynn and other colleagues praised a European Union decision to sanction Google for its strong-arm monopolizing of internet search engines, Lynn and others were fired.

NAF head Anne-Marie Slaughter warned Lynn that his public support of European sanctions against Google financially jeopardized NAF. “Just THINK about how you are imperiling funding,” she rebuked, despite NAF’s theoretical independence.

Another NAF team member, Matt Stoller, wrote in the Huffington Post of “the deep dysfunction in our corporate and political sectors.” “The misbehavior in the search market and the attempt to suppress research into how Google operates shows that the actual issue at hand is one of political power,” he revealed.

“Monopoly power, and Google itself, is a threat to the free flow of ideas upon which our democracy depends,” Stoller charged. “If we do not stand up to monopolists, they will keep our public institutions quiet about their growing power. ... (But) we can reclaim our democracy if we try.”

Teachout is now chairing a new “think tank” organization, Citizens Against Monopoly, made up of the fired NAF members. “Google’s actions make it more important than ever that we stand up to fight monopolies,” she said. “At the end of the day, this is about freedom.”

Breitbart News’ Steve Bannon, former chief strategist to President Trump, said tech companies like Google and Facebook should be regulated like utility companies are.

Congress may decide to regulate monopolizing tech companies like Facebook and Google and Amazon in light of their influence on elections via social media ads. The Guardian reported that $1.4 billion was spent on online advertising during the 2016 election. 

The New America Foundation is now called “New America.”  

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