Social media will be the next big battleground for free speech
May 16, 2019 (American Thinker) — Imagine a day when newspapers publish articles regarding only the benefits of late-term abortions, socialism, and open borders. Where history books vilify Republican conservatives for fighting to defend slavery, inciting segregation, and founding the KKK. Cable news shows report crimes committed only by conservatives or capitalists, and social media allow only leftist ideas to be communicated over their platforms.
Well, if the Left continues its scorched-earth policy against free speech, in no time at all, the United States will have no resemblance to what the Founding Fathers envisioned. So many examples exist to fully detail the poverty, violence, and atrocities that quickly emerge when free speech is taken away that it raises the question of why so many younger Americans are indifferent to the loss of such an important right.
In a chapter titled "The Mass Media in the Service of Soviet Communism and Post-Communist Russia," written by Lee Edwards as part of Paul Hollander's book Political Violence, Lenin is reported to have said, "A newspaper is not only a collective propagandist and a collective agitator, it is also a collective organizer." In other words, today's mainstream media would fit quite well into Lenin's view of what a newspaper is meant to be. However, the communication landscape is now rapidly changing, and a noticeable shift by leftists to control the new social media powerhouse has emerged.
As of March 31, 2019, there are over 2.38 billion monthly active Facebook users (MAU) worldwide, with Twitter reporting 326 million global MAU for the third quarter of 2018 and YouTube claiming 1.3 billion users. All three companies are solidly left-leaning and quickly heading to the far left. If social media had been around during Lenin's time, there is no doubt that he would have focused his efforts to propagandize that powerful platform as well.
According to a piece in the June 2017 publication Social Media Insider, "social media's real killer app is spreading propaganda, disinformation, and fake news, according to a new study from the University of Oxford's Computational Propaganda Research Project." Also mentioned, "in Russia, the researchers discovered the conversation on Twitter is carefully managed by automated accounts: in fact, 45% of all Twitter activity in Russia is produced by bots." It is not only Russia, but also China that controls every aspect of the lives of its people with the super-life-directing app called "WeChat" developed by the Chinese tech company Tencent. With over one billion registered accounts, the app collects and shares with the Chinese government every conceivable bit of data about its users.
In the beginning, social media in the United States were seen as the new oasis of free thought and speech, but after making a hard left turn, they are quickly painting conservative viewpoints into a corner. The handful of leftist cyberspace dictators are forcing users to think and say only what has been deemed appropriate. When Facebook states that it is protecting its users by preventing certain kinds of speech, in reality, what the company is doing is tilling the soil for future propaganda and control.
A 2018 Investor's Business Daily editorial stated that GovPredict, a Silicon Valley political data research firm, found that over the last 14 years, employees of Alphabet (the parent of Google) "gave 90% of their political donations, or $15.5 million, to Democrats. Republicans took in a mere $1.6 million." The editorial added that another study found that since 2006, Amazon employees gave 90% of their political donations to Democratic political action committees. "So claims that the social media giants are politically neutral is a joke," the editorial concluded.
Donations are one thing; actively eliminating free speech and different points of view is another. Conservative radio talk show host Michael Savage became an early example of how the Left systematically eliminates conservatives one by one by first selecting an individual and then separating him from the herd to be attacked. On May 5, 2009, Savage was banned from the U.K. and added to a list containing terrorists and racist leaders from around the world. The reason given is that comments made by Savage fostered hatred, although no specific examples were given.
A short time ago, Facebook took it upon itself to ban Louis Farrakhan and Alex Jones, saying they violated its rule against "dangerous individuals." The San Francisco AP stated that Facebook "also removed right-wing personalities Paul Nehlen, Milo Yiannopoulos, Paul Joseph Watson and Laura Loomer, along with Jones' site, Infowars." It added that the ban extended to fan pages and other related accounts. Also, recently, conservative writer David Horowitz was banned from Twitter without explanation.
Apart from criticism from President Trump and a few conservative cable TV hosts, objections have quickly died down. Right-leaning users who have survived the initial purges might consider themselves lucky and feel relatively secure as long as they do not cross the leftist line, but that is more wishful thinking than fact. As with all cases of tyranny, the list of who is guilty of saying whatever is considered inappropriate at the time continually expands until a moment arrives when only particular kinds of thoughts and words are allowed.
With their freedoms in jeopardy, will young conservatives take to the streets like their counterparts and protest the unfair treatment by social media? According to an August 2018 Gallup Poll, a little over a third of Americans, 36%, say they have "ever felt the urge to organize or participate in a public demonstration about something," but of that figure, 60% were liberal, and only 21% were conservative. The bottom line is that a majority of conservatives do not protest or even get involved when it comes to politics.
For the most part, conservatives have acknowledged that mainstream media have been overtaken and controlled by the Left. However, they may not be aware that they are perilously close to losing their ability to communicate their opinions via social media. With the mainstream media overwhelmingly rigged against conservatives, there is little chance for them to publicly mount any objections and publicize countermeasures via the traditional media methods. It is going to require a bold move way outside the box to have conservative views back in the public square.
What we are seeing is more than just an assault on free speech; it is the laying down of the groundwork needed for changing the consciousness of America by brainwashing its youth. Case in point: According to a September 2017 Forbes article, a Brookings Institution poll found that 40% of college students don't believe that the First Amendment protects hate speech, 50% said the proper way to deal with upsetting speech is to shut it down, and 19% said physical violence is an acceptable way of shutting it down.
Social media are slowly and methodically chiseling away at what they see as offensive conservative views by outlawing conservative expression in a hypocritical call for decency. The First Amendment does not have to be abolished in order for all Americans to lose the remaining Bill of Rights. All it takes is the inability of a society to communicate openly with one another. Social media can either help this nation counter the lopsided propaganda of the mainstream media or help turn the American people into a suppressed collection of like-minded robots.
Published with permission from the American Thinker.