Whatever you think about whether the most recent election was conducted fairly and above board (and I am less certain than many friends and family that something nefarious did happen), what is clear is that Big Tech is intent on making it clear that there is no doubt about the integrity of the election results and we should do openly question them. Post anything on any social network and your post will at least be tagged with a notice to that effect and at worst removed from sight.
Daniel Gelertner writes about the danger of the age of social media censorship we live in. Normally, we think of censorship as something governments do to their people, but we’ve entered a new age where it is the corporations that provide the public squares of our time (especially in 2020) who tell us what we are allowed to say and how we are allowed to say it, without mandate from any government entity, at least through any law that is passed, regulation enacted, or ruling handed down.
We are told that our memes are “false” or that our commentary is “taken out of context” or, even worse, that we have “violated community standards,” and usually without any recourse or even any explanation on what those standards are. We can be removed from Facebook or Twitter, de-emphasized on Google, blacklisted on YouTube and so on, effectively silencing us.
The biggest problem, however, was that Facebook had decided that this question—remote and unimportant as it might be in our daily lives—was not something you should be allowed to think about. If you thought about it yourself, unguided, as though you were, say, an adult and not a schoolchild, you might come to the wrong conclusion. And lest you be misled into thinking there was a connection between gun control and tyranny, Facebook had looked into the matter for you. And don’t worry, they found there wasn’t any connection, so you can rest easy and move on to the fluffy kitten pictures.
Gelertner points out that this is a dangerous game they’re playing because it furthers the intellectual and emotional divide in society between people who see the other side more and more as an enemy not to compromise with but to defeat. Because once there is no means of communication, when the public square is roped off and free speech is banned, then understanding departs and othering begins. A dangerous game indeed.