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(LifeSiteNews) – Economic challenges may be forcing Big Tech to soften some of its censorship of disfavored political views while censorship advocates complain that platforms are not “preparing” for the critical 2024 elections.

For years, conservatives and other dissenters from left-wing orthodoxy have criticized the world’s largest online information and communications platforms, including Google, Facebook, and (until late last year) Twitter, for using their vast influence to slant the news, sources, ideas, and arguments their users see and share through their services. One of their chief rationales for doing so was to prevent “misinformation” from influencing elections, which critics say is merely a pretext to sway elections in their favor.

Iconoclastic tech mogul Elon Musk purchased Twitter (since renamed X) in October 2022 and set to work making it more speech-friendly and politically neutral, but other tech giants such as Google-owned video platform YouTube continue to affirm their intentions to police content. 

Earlier this month, however, the group Global Coalition for Tech Justice (GCTJ) declared that it does not consider Big Tech “ready” for next year’s elections in the United States and around the world, in part because leading companies have not answered the group’s summer call to develop and share “fully resourced election action plans, both at the global and country levels.”

“Once again, Big Tech is showing the world that they are playing their own game. While they continue to count their profits, our democracies are left vulnerable to violent coup attempts, venomous hate speech, and election interference,” the group complained. “Big Tech’s chronic lag in addressing these threats means that our global democracies will be paying the price.”

On Tuesday, the Singapore-based Strait Times recalled that YouTube had agreed in June to stop removing claims that the 2020 U.S. presidential election suffered from “fraud, errors or glitches,” claiming at the time to be sensitive to concerns that such censorship had the “unintended effect of curtailing political speech.”

However, the Times noted that such changes have also come during a “climate of layoffs [and] cost-cutting measures,” meaning tech giants may simply not have the manpower to regulate as much content as they have in the past.

The report also cites Berin Szoka, president of the think tank TechFreedom, for accusing Big Tech of “appeasing Republicans” who have criticized their censorship regimes, a claim that would come as a surprise to many on the political Right.

The only major Big Tech leader to actively oppose such censorship is Musk, who on Wednesday stood by his decision to gut the old Twitter’s so-called “Election Integrity Team.”

One of the biggest variables in the issue, which may be coming to a head in the near future, is government actively encouraging private companies to censor disfavored speech, something in which emails and public statements have implicated the Biden administration and which has been alleged to convert private property decisions into violations of the First Amendment. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito has hinted that the nation’s highest court may be taking up the matter soon.