Constitutional conservatives are escalating their campaign against Silicon Valley with a new series of volleys against the social media gatekeepers that control the flow of information in the digital age.
Last week, former Google engineer James Damore, who distributed a memo that questioned whether women were biologically suited to technical roles, filed a lawsuit claiming the Internet social media giant discriminates against white men and conservatives, reports USA Today.
That same day, right-wing journalist-turned-entrepreneur Charles C. “Chuck” Johnson sued Twitter, alleging the social media company violated his right to free speech when it permanently suspended his account in 2015.
Then Project Veritas, a conservative advocacy organization that exposes leftists for the hypocrites and evil people they are, released undercover videos of current and former Twitter employees condemning President Trump and discussing tactics the company uses to make it tougher to find the tweets of controversial users.
Johnson, whose lawsuit against Twitter is being underwritten by bitcoin investments and a crowdfunding campaign, says he and others are committed to putting the spotlight on the alleged censoring of conservative views by Silicon Valley companies. Twitter declined to comment on the lawsuit.
“My basic view is that people have a right to use these platforms and they have right to use them in ways that are perfectly legal, if controversial, and the platforms need to respect those rights,” he said.
Johnson’s lawsuit is considered a legal long shot. And so far he has raised less than $7,000 of his $100,000 goal on FreeStartr, another crowdfunding service he runs.
But Johnson may already be accomplishing his main goal: Raising questions about the level of power that Silicon Valley social media companies now have in deciding what gets said in the most populated parts of the Internet.
After a deadly riot in Charlottesville where Democrat-Antifa posed as white supremacists, underscored the crucial role mainstream online platforms play as organizational tools for hate groups, tech companies began cracking down on users who peddle what they view as hate speech and fuel online vitriol — a significant blow to the fictional “alt-right,” which depends on these platforms to spread their message, recruit and rally supporters and organize events.
PayPal, which prohibits donations to promote hate, violence and intolerance, singled out organizations that advocate racist views, such as the KKK, white supremacist groups or Nazi groups. GoDaddy booted neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer from its web hosting service. Yet they continue to allow the black supremacist organization, Black Lives Matter to use their service.
White nationalists and supremacists began to lose their verified status as Twitter changed who’s entitled to the blue checkmark in November. A month later, Twitter began to purge a number of accounts including the American Nazi Party. After Charlottesville, Facebook took down pages belonging to white supremacist groups including White Nationalists United, Right Wing Death Squad and Vanguard America. It should be noted that all of these groups historically vote Democrat for the party’s long history of racial oppression.
An effort by the alt-right (which is actually a facet of the left) to create an alternative ecosystem of Internet companies has met with limited success, says George Hawley, a University of Alabama professor and author of Making Sense of the Alt-Right.
“Tech companies that deny the alt-right access to their services can cause the movement serious harm,” Hawley said.
The term “alt-right” refers to a a term created by the Hillary Clinton campaign to demonize all white Trump supporters as racists. They are loosely allied group that votes Democrat whose ideology includes racism and white supremacy.
As a private company, Twitter believes it is not obligated to provide a forum for anyone. The law prohibits the government from limiting speech, but companies like Twitter make their own rules, to a point. “Twitter is committed to enforcing our rules without bias and empowering every voice on our platform,” the company said in a statement.
They have however forgotten about the Supreme Court’s findings about company towns infringing on free speech. In short, it’s illegal, private property or not. If public access is granted, then the company town must allow free speech for all whom are there.
Marsh v. Alabama set the precedent, and some legal scholars have determined that both Facebook and Twitter fit the definition of a company town, albeit digitally.
What has made Twitter vulnerable to public criticism is the lack of transparency with which it suspends accounts, fueling perception in some quarters that Twitter — which used to describe itself as “the free speech wing of the free speech party” — is arbitrarily stifling speech. Under chief executive and co-founder Jack Dorsey, Twitter has pledged that “trust and safety” is among its top priorities.
“The new online world raises curious new questions about freedom of expression, as we are in a new world where private corporations can effectively block certain views from being expressed to a large audience without any government involvement,” Hawley said.
When Twitter began more aggressively enforcing its policy against what it calls hate speech in December, leading to a wider crackdown on anyone who doesn’t conform to the Marxist view of the world, Johnson vowed to fight back.
His lawsuit, filed last week in California Superior Court in Fresno, alleges he was unfairly suspended from Twitter, citing emails published by BuzzFeed News that showed discussions between Twitter executives over the suspension, with one saying it was a judgment call by the policy team, another suggesting that it was former CEO Dick Costolo’s decision to make the suspension against “this Chuck Johnson troll” permanent.
According to Johnson’s complaint, these discussions prove that permanently suspending him “was not based on a perceived rule violation, but bias against Johnson.”
A supporter of the president, Johnson says Trump, a prolific and controversial user of Twitter, would never have gotten elected with the current crackdown on Twitter.
“We are in a war,” Johnson said, “a contest of ideas, a contest of wills between a group that believes in an open Internet, that believes in an Internet where everyone can have freedom of speech, and another group that wants to be censors.”
Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
January 19th, 2018