Much has been said lately about Silicon Valley’s desire to end free speech online through what appears to be a coordinated campaign of censorship designed to facilitate the latest definition of “hate speech” or “fake news.” Leftists dismiss this as a “conspiracy theory,” despite a growing mountain of evidence to the contrary. Nevertheless, an internal document leaked to Breitbart News would seem to be the “smoking gun,” detailing Silicon Valley’s apparent desire to eventually abandon and eliminate free speech online for “safety and civility.”
On Tuesday, Allum Bokhari noted:
Despite leaked video footage showing top executives declaring their intention to ensure that the rise of Trump and the populist movement is just a “blip” in history, Google has repeatedly denied that the political bias of its employees filter into its products.
But the 85-page briefing, titled “The Good Censor,” admits that Google and other tech platforms now “control the majority of online conversations” and have undertaken a “shift towards censorship” in response to unwelcome political events around the world.
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Examples cited in the document include the 2016 election and the rise of Alternative for Deutschland (AfD) in Germany.
Bokhari said that an official Google source responded to the leak, saying the document should be considered “internal research” and not official company policy.
But, he noted, the document, which can be seen below, calls unfettered free online speech a “utopian narrative” that has been “undermined” by events and “bad behavior” on the part of users. “Bad behavior,” by the way, can include users simply expressing non-politically correct feelings or opinions about a particular topic.
It also notes that online platforms like Google, Facebook and Twitter initially promised free speech to consumers but later shifted to censorship and moderation of certain points of view.
Now, Bokhari says, these tech giants — which control what we see online — “are caught between two incompatible positions, the ‘unmediated marketplace of ideas’ vs. ‘well-ordered spaces for safety and civility.'”
If this all sounds rather Orwellian, it is. It would also seem to acknowledge something activist Chris Sevier noted in his explanation of the “Stop Social Media Censorship Act,” a proposal now being considered by lawmakers in several states:
Those individual websites are engaging in contracts with users in the states and can be regulated for bad faith, unfair dealing, and fraudulent inducement. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 would safeguard Internet providers and search engines from this act but not interactive individual websites with more than 75,000,000 people who market themselves as being open to the public and open to the sharing of ideas only to prove otherwise.
In my opinion, Facebook has perpetrated a form of fraudulent inducement, tortious interference of business relations, breach of the duty of care, unjust enrichment, and the intentional infliction of emotional distress by at first allowing conservatives and Christians to build a platform where they were supposedly free to express themselves only to then turn around and arbitrarily find some speech permissible and other speech impermissible.
Bokhari noted several key bullet points found in the document, some of which can be seen below:
- P2 – The briefing states that “users are asking if the openness of the internet should be celebrated after all” and that “free speech has become a social, economic, and political weapon.”
- P12 – The briefing says the early free-speech ideals of the internet were “utopian.”
- P14 – The briefing admits that Google, along with Twitter and Facebook, now “control the majority of online conversations.”
- P15 – Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is linked to Google’s position as a platform for free expression. Elsewhere in the document (p68), Google and other platforms’ move towards moderation and censorship is associated with the role of “publisher” – which would not be subject to Section 230’s legal protections.
- PP19-21 – The briefing identifies several factors that allegedly eroded faith in free speech. The election of Donald Trump and alleged Russian involvement is identified as one such factor. The rise of the populist Alternative fur Deutschland (Alternative for Germany) party in Germany – which the briefing falsely smears as “alt-right” – is another.
- PP26-34 – The briefing explains how “users behaving badly” undermines free speech on the internet and allows “crummy politicians to expand their influence.” The briefing bemoans that “racists, misogynists, and oppressors” are allowed a voice alongside “revolutionaries, whistleblowers, and campaigners.” It warns that users are “keener to transgress moral norms” behind the protection of anonymity.
- P37 – The briefing acknowledges that China – for which Google has developed a censored search engine – has the worst track record on internet freedom.
- P45 – After warning about the rise of online hate speech, the briefing approvingly cites Sarah Jeong, infamous for her hate speech against white males (Google is currently facing a lawsuit alleging it discriminates against white males, among other categories).
- P45 – The briefing bemoans the fact that the internet has until recently been a level playing field, warning that “rational debate is damaged when authoritative voices and ‘have a go’ commentators receive equal weighting.”
- P49 – The document accuses President Trump of spreading the “conspiracy theory” that Google autocomplete suggestions unfairly favored Hillary Clinton in 2016. (Trump’s suspicions were actually correct – independent research has shown that Google did favor Clinton in 2016).
- P53 – Free speech platform Gab is identified as a major destination for users who are dissatisfied with censorship on other platforms.
- P54 – After warning about “harassment” earlier in the document, the briefing approvingly describes a 27,000-strong left-wing social media campaign as a “digital flash mob” engaged in “friendly counter-commenting.”
- P66-68 – The briefing argues that Google, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are caught between two incompatible positions, the “unmediated marketplace of ideas” vs. “well-ordered spaces for safety and civility.” The first is described as a product of the “American tradition” which “prioritizes free speech for democracy, not civility.” The second is described as a product of the “European tradition,” which “favors dignity over liberty and civility over freedom.” The briefing claims that all tech platforms are now moving toward the European tradition.
- P70 – The briefing sums up the reasons for big tech’s “shift towards censorship,” including the need to respond to regulatory demands and “expand globally,” to “monetize content through its organization,” and to “protect advertisers from controversial content, [and] increase revenues.”
- P74-76 – The briefing warns that concerns about censorship from major tech platforms have spread beyond the right-wing media into the mainstream.
Keep in mind as you read the document below that this is the same Google with a lead designer who claimed that Republicans will “descend into the flames” of hell, while describing members of the GOP as “treasonous” and “evil” after the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
Here’s the document, as posted by Breitbart:
The Good Censor – GOOGLE LEAK by on Scribd
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