By Michael Patrick, Ph.D.
In the 20th Century’s wars and conflicts, we learned the hard way about how tactics of propaganda might be put to terrible use. We saw what happens when governments control free speech.
At the start of the 21st Century, we are witness to what happens when corporations, armed with their technical weapons and algorithms, make us incredibly dependent on them.
Free speech is the proverbial “canary in the mine shaft” warning for all of us. When free speech is caged by algorithms and media corporations, the canaries die first.
First and foremost, Facebook is a for-profit corporation. Your words may be transmitted on their site on a limited basis as a means of generating revenue for them and as a form of addiction we call “social media”. It is a corporation with its own global ambitions, many of which are increasingly and inevitably in conflict with free speech.
Most of us can cite examples of friends who have felt the sharp sting of corporate social media. People who have had their posts or accounts appended, warned, or suspended when they veered from the party line.
Personally, I’ve suffered little. I found a few workarounds when Facebook misbehaved. As a former executive with a First Amendment legal organization, I’m very alarmed by the rising tide of corporate social media controls.
We are now witnessing the most dangerous threat in the last generation; namely, the uneasy alliances between government, political movements, the pharmaceutical industries, and corporate media sites to influence and guide what you think, curb what you hear, and silence what you may say.
Case in point: One of the most accomplished Covid-19 scientists in China, Dr. Li-Meng Yan, has a global reputation, with her immunology work that was recognized at the World Health Organization’s Viral labs and the scientifically prestigious South China University of Technology. Her peer-reviewed work on the Corona virus has been published in respected journals such as “Lancet” and “Nature”. In a paper published in February, 2020, she and her colleagues discovered evidence that the virus had been “cut” or tampered with genetically and was not “from nature”. She says that she has direct knowledge of Chinese military work that also reflects the “cut” nature of the virus. She had to flee China to the United States in April this year.
She escaped the grasp of Chinese authorities, but not the censoring reach of Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook, Instagram, nor Twitter, who have worked in concert to silence Dr. Li directly or indirectly.
Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are in lockstep with sources who claimed Covid-19 was all-naturally occurring. This was prior to Dr. Li coming forward as a whistleblower, who now angers the Chinese military and others. What makes these social media tech giants prepared to silence her free speech in America is not their superior scientific opinion or direct evidence, but their private alliances made. They have become the social enforcers.
Throughout history, it has been the multiplicity of reasoned and informed opinions, not sole government or corporate voices, that has enabled truth to defend itself or that has kept us free. Ask the people of Belarus who now struggle to get the word out in an Internet environment where one strongman and his authority controls what can be shared via their Internet provider that might threaten his own future.
I am deeply concerned about the vitality of free speech in the impending elections. Evidence is mounting that major social media corporations are preparing to act in concert with partisan political movements to silence large swaths of popular opinions in the midst of violent unrest and chaos across the country. Rather than supporting free speech at a critical hour, these corporate social media outlets appear to be gearing up to curb American free speech, and bend it in their favored direction by means of silencing control, manipulation, propaganda, and coercion.
Bottom Line: I am withdrawing from creating daily posts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter until I see how they actually handle things from a free speech perspective. I will still read your posts periodically to hear from you. As for my own daily contributions, I will post more often on my own WordPress blog here – wordpaladin.press – where you can sign up to receive updates automatically when I publish or you can check my musings at your leisure.
History proves repeatedly that when a government or heavy political interests align with those who control the dominant media, in this case corporate social media, our freedoms are in the worst kind of danger.
Be careful out there. Covid-19 is not nearly the greatest threat to America’s immediate future.