Tags: Media Bias | Net Neutrality | Supreme Court | expression | hate | speech

Do We Want Tech Giants as Internet Censors?

Do We Want Tech Giants as Internet Censors?

By Monday, 28 August 2017 02:07 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Monopolistic tech giants are increasingly acquiring massive amounts of control over the manner in which the public is obtaining and communicating information.

Interestingly, the Internet companies concurrently seem to have altered in an alarming way their corporate perspective on free expression.

In addition to assuming increasingly greater power over entertainment content itself, there appears to be an escalating influence that is being exerted in a general sense with regard to what is seen, heard, and read.

The operating systems that control smart phones and tablets are almost all governed by two companies, Google and Apple. Moreover, Google is king when it comes to the market for search advertising. The tech giant also collects data on the search habits of every person using a smart phone, tablet, or computer.

In times past, these companies were heralded for being champions of a free and open Web. Unfortunately, this is not the case anymore. They seem to have pretty much abandoned the idea of Internet freedom and chosen instead to embrace censorship as a viable policy.

The catalyst for the change of direction toward the regulation of speech by the tech companies appears to correlate with the inauguration of President Donald J. Trump in January of this year.

A mere weeks after the president was sworn into office, Google and Google’s parent company Alphabet began to implement technology to ostensibly eliminate hate speech from the Web. This is the same Google that in a recent move unceremoniously terminated an employee for criticizing the company's diversity policy.

Both Google and Apple recently evicted a new free and open app, Gab, from each of their app stores, which effectively banned Gab from the Web.

The smart device market has substantially taken over the Internet. When Google and Apple combine to become the gatekeepers of speech and eliminate content from their operating systems, the deleted content all but disappears from most of the web universe.

Gab was no fly-by-night concern. Rather, it was a company with a seven-figure financial backing, more than 200,000 users, and a legitimate business mission.

Apple refused to approve Gab’s app for its store. And Google, which had originally authorized the app in its store, recently banned it. Both companies purportedly based their decisions on a hate-speech policy.

Google also recently announced that a machine learning tool will be used to rid its search engine of speech that the company deems hateful. In order to accomplish the purge of offensive content, Google has partnered with the ProPublica coalition to create what the company is referring to as a "Hate News Index."

The partners in this coalition are a virtual Who’s Who of left-wing distortion, the names of which include BuzzFeed, Univision News, The Advocate, Latino USA, New America Media, and The New York Times. The coalition intends to rely on the so-called expertise of the highly partisan Southern Poverty Law Center.

The tech firms, in their newly found anti-speech plans, are clearly moving away from a time-honored American principle. It is a basic understanding that along with free expression comes the expression of ideas that may be repugnant.

In June of 2017 the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held that a band called "The Slants" could trademark a name that some found offensive.

The Slants, an Oregon-based Asian-American band, was denied a trademark because its name was considered offensive. At issue in the case was a law that prohibited the registration of trademarks that "may disparage . . . persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs or national symbols."

The band argued that the law imperiled free speech rights. "Speech that demeans on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, disability, or any other similar ground is hateful; but the proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express the thought that we hate," Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the High Court’s opinion.

Even the liberal American Civil Liberties Union lent support to The Slants. The group’s attorney on the case, Lee Rowland, called the ruling a "major victory for the First Amendment."

James Hirsen, J.D., M.A., in media psychology, is a New York Times best-selling author, media analyst, and law professor. Visit Newsmax TV Hollywood. Read more reports from James Hirsen — Click Here Now.

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Monopolistic tech giants, in their newly found anti-speech plans, are clearly moving away from a time-honored American principle. It is a basic understanding that along with free expression comes the expression of ideas that may be repugnant.
expression, hate, speech
Monday, 28 August 2017 02:07 PM
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