Tech censorship, more thoughts

In regard to recent podcast with Joe Rogan, much of Greenwald’s criticism is focused on the overreach of the US government, but another problem is private sector having too much control , such as tech censorship. The private sector, unlike the public sector, has far fewer avenues for redress of wrongs. Try restoring a terminated Fakebook, Twitter or YouTube account. The public sector at least has some accountability, which you do not see in the private sector. Civil lawsuits are very expensive, arbitration is not that effective, etc.

Google spends considerable money on the top legal talent in the world, and has a near unblemished record of beating its cases even when the contested amount is small, to serve as a deterrent to potential litigants that Google does not settle. Same for Facebook, which has built formidable reputation of being impervious to lawsuits. Sure, you can sue Facebook, but like Google or Amazon, your odds of getting anything are about zero. That is why the ambulance chasers always target small and medium-sized businesses.

The private sector has less power than the public sector, in that it only has the power to restrict people from using its services (such as Twitter banning users from its platform), and in certain instances can resort to civil litigation to enforce this (such as in rare instances ISPs suing spammers), but otherwise cannot do that much, as its power is limited to the domain, either digital or physical (such as a theme park evicting a line jumper), of its property.

The public sector has much more accountability than the private sector; for example, defendants in criminal cases (as opposed to civil) are guaranteed counsel, and the government must adhere to federal and local constitutions, and must make its case in a court of law. It is way easier to contest a parking ticket than a Gmail account suspension, that is for sure, in that the officer must prove that the ticket was warranted, whereas Google (or any other social network or tech company) can ban an account for any reason, without any recourse for the account holder (although the account holder can sue, this is expensive and almost doomed to fail as discussed above). But the public sector, unlike the private sector, has much more absolute power, in that it has the power to arrest someone and bar such an individual from use of all services, not just a pustular service.

To add, the idea that social networks should be treated as utilities, is also ill-conceived. The reason why this argument fails and will not hold up in court is, is that a utility provides a service to a paying customer and only that customer, and there are no externalities. So a Klansman using PG&E’s services does not affect any of PG&E’s other customers. A social network is different in that it’s an interconnected system and thus the behavior of a single user affects multiple users on the network. The social network can argue that the Klansman creates a hustle environment for other users who do not consent and thus should be ejected from the platform to improve the user experience for everyone else. In regard to Section 230, it does not bar tech companies from moderating content on their platforms, only that they cannot be held accountable for content by its users that may break the law. Because political views are not a protected class, freedom of association is almost always upheld if challenged in court. And even many conservatives, as much as they hate censorship by the left, probably would concede that it is better this way. Would someone like Vox Day tolerate a bunch of SJWs on his blog out of principle; certainly not, and he bans them on sight.

How about the woke-left losing power due to Trump, assuming he is reelected? Again, the answer is no, because by controlling the platforms, left has power to set the terms and condition of discourse , as to what is allowed or not (the so-called Overton window). Sure the left may not have power in so far as they do not control the exec branch, but if they have the power to frame what is acceptable. vs unacceptable discourse, and conservatives are unable/unwilling to do anything about it, then does it really matter who sits in the round office? Anything to the right of the IDW and Ben Shapiro, is in the danger zone, and although you can get away with skirting the boundaries for awhile, they only need a single tweet/re-tweet or other incriminating post to give them all the justification they need to nuke the account , and they are always waiting for that moment. The private sector , for a long time, has typically been the domain of the ‘right’, until the rise of big tech over or the past decade changed that, effectively acting a a 4th branch of government. Having 5 $1-trillion dollar companies espouse your worldview is better than being president anyway. Moreover, there has not been enough follow-through or assertiveness on the part of Trump to do anything (assuming he actually can do anything), beyond half-baked proposals (such as in 2019 that website to report censorship, which predictably went nowhere and likely nothing more than a ploy to collect emails) and threats that are never carried out on.