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Americans Paid To Create The Internet; They Demand Freedom of Speech On It

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Quick note: Tech giants are snuffing us out. You know this. Facebook, Twitter, Google et al have shadowbanned, suspended and in some cases deleted us from your news feeds. They are disappearing us. But we are here. Subscribe to Geller Report — it’s free and it’s critical NOW more than ever. 

2016: “The freedom of speech is under strenuous attack. This is not just about me. If I am silenced, a dangerous precedent will be set that people can be denied access to the means of communications if their views aren’t acceptable to the elites. This would mean the end of a free society in the U.S. Every American should care about this. There is nowhere to flee, nowhere else to go.”

The great Democrat-totalitarian dream is a gated worldwide web completely under their control.

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Daniel Greenfield: The internet is our economy and our marketplace of ideas. And it is under the control of a handful of individuals and companies who, beyond becoming fabulously wealthy, believe that they are socially obligated to uphold their own political and cultural norms by banishing those voices they disagree with and promoting those voices they agree with. No railroad or oil baron ever had the power to shape political discourse that the bosses of Google, Facebook, Amazon and other FAANGS (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Alphabet) do today.

[…]

Big tech has already decided what it’s going to do about us. The question is what are we going to do about it? If we want a free and open Internet, we have to fight for policies that will bring one about. That means championing the breakup of big tech monopolies and cutting off the government contracts that enrich them at the political level. But it also means changing how we use the internet.

That’s easier said than done. It requires a change of perspective.

Big tech and big government both promise convenience in a single package. They both offer lots of things for free as long as you don’t contemplate how you’re paying for all those freebies. Why not get free health and education from the same government? Why not get your phone, your search engine and all your news from Google? And your entertainment and retail orders from Amazon?

Wait, not so fast.

Why Freedom of Speech Should Apply to Google, Facebook and the Internet

Americans paid to create the internet; they deserve Freedom of Speech on it.

By Daniel Greenfield, May 14, 2019:

The driving force behind the censorship of conservatives isn’t a handful of tech tycoons. It’s elected officials. Senator Kamala Harris offered an example of that in a recent speech where she declared that she would “hold social media platforms accountable” if they contained “hate” or “misinformation”.

The second fact is that the internet is not the work of a handful of aspiring entrepreneurs who built it out of thin air using nothing but their talent, brains and nimble fingers.

The internet was the work of DARPA. That stands for Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. DARPA is part of the Department of Defense. DARPA had funded the creation of the core technologies that made the internet possible. The origins of the internet go back to DARPA’s Arpanet.

Nor did the story end once the internet had entered every home.

Where did Google come from? “The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine,” the original paper by Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the co-founders of Google, reveals support from the National Science Foundation, DARPA, and even NASA.

Harvard’s computer science department, where Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg learned to play with the toys that turned him into a billionaire, has also wallowed in DARPA cash. Not to mention funds from a variety of other DOD and Federal science agencies.

Taxpayer sank a fortune into developing a public marketplace where ideas are exchanged, and political advocacy and economic activity takes place. That marketplace doesn’t belong to Google, Amazon or Facebook. And when those monopolies take a stranglehold on the marketplace, squeezing out conservatives from being able to participate, they’re undermining our rights and freedoms.

“A right of free correspondence between citizen and citizen on their joint interests, whether public or private and under whatsoever laws these interests arise (to wit: of the State, of Congress, of France, Spain, or Turkey), is a natural right,” Thomas Jefferson argued.

There should be a high barrier for any company seeking to interfere with the marketplace of ideas in which the right of free correspondence is practiced.

Critics of regulating dot com monopolies have made valid points.

Regulating Google or Facebook as a public utility is dangerous. And their argument that giving government the power to control content on these platforms would backfire is sensible.

Any solution to the problem should not be based on expanding government control.

But there are two answers.

First, companies that engage in viewpoint discrimination in response to government pressure are acting as government agents. When a pattern of viewpoint discrimination manifests itself on the platform controlled by a monopoly, a civil rights investigation should examine what role government officials played in instigating the suppression of a particular point of view.

Liberals have abandoned the Public Forum Doctrine, once a popular ACLU theme, while embracing censorship. But if the Doctrine could apply to a shopping mall, it certainly applies to the internet.

In Packingham v. North Carolina, the Supreme Court’s decision found that, “A fundamental principle of the First Amendment is that all persons have access to places where they can speak and listen.”

The Packingham case dealt with government interference, but when monopolies silence conservatives on behalf of government actors, they are fulfilling the same role as an ISP that suspends a customer in response to a law.

When dot com monopolies get so big that being banned from their platforms effectively neutralizes political activity, press activity and political speech, then they’re public forums.

Second, rights are threatened by any sufficiently large organization or entity, not just government. Government has traditionally been the most powerful such organization, but the natural rights that our country was founded on are equally immune to every organization. Governments, as the Declaration of Independence asserts, exist as part of a social contract to secure these rights for its citizens.

Government secures these rights, first and foremost, against itself. (Our system effectively exists to answer the question of who watches the watchers.) But it also secures them against foreign powers, a crisis that the Declaration of Independence was written to meet, and against domestic organizations, criminal or political, whether it’s the Communist Party or ISIS, that seek to rob Americans of their rights.

A country in which freedom of speech effectively did not exist, even though it remained a technical right, would not be America. A government that allowed such a thing would have no right to exist.

Only a government whose citizens enjoy the rights of free men legally justifies is existence.

If a private company took control of all the roads and closed them to conservatives every Election Day, elections would become a mockery and the resulting government would be an illegitimate tyranny.

That’s the crisis that conservatives face with the internet.

 

A couple years back I wrote the following:

We were the first to sue the social media giants for our First Amendment rights. In light of that fight, I began to focus AFDI activism to pursue anti-trust laws be used to break up social monopolies and duopolies. The Wall Street Journal suggests the same thing, albeit for the wrong reasons. For the WSJ, it’s all about the Benjamins, but for principled Americans, it’s all about freedom. Please contribute to that fight here. Make no mistake, it is the most pressing issue of day. If we are going to fight against the forces of far-left authoritarianism, and we must, freedom of speech in the social media public square is essential. Freedom of speech is the foundation of a free society. Without it, these leftist tyrants can and are wreaking havoc unopposed, while we are silenced. I have written extensively on this here.

Quick synopsis here: Pamela Geller, American Thinker: Urgent Case for Legislation against Facebook and Google

Here is what I argued back in 2016:

If the US government could break up Ma Bell, the USG can break up Facebook. Today’s IP address is yesterday’s phone number. It’s how we communicate today — whether by FB comment, messenger, Twitter DM etc.

Facebook adhering to the most extreme and brutal ideology on the face of the earth should trouble all of us, because Mark Zuckerberg has immense power. He controls the flow of information. He controls what you see and don’t see on Facebook. We did not give him the power to abridge our unalienable freedoms.

The US government used anti-trust laws to break up monopolies. They ought to break up Facebook. Section 2 of the Sherman Act highlights particular results deemed anti-competitive by nature and prohibits actions that “shall monopolize, or attempt to monopolize, or combine or conspire with any other person or persons, to monopolize any part of the trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations.” Couldn’t the same be applied to information? The United States government took down Standard Oil, Alcoa, Northern Securities, the American Tobacco Company and many others without nearly the power that Facebook has.

I do not know how far my lawsuit against the social media giants will get but I do know that something must be done. Whether through legislation or anti-trust lawsuits, the chokehold that the uniformly leftist corporate media managers at social media giants like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google have on our means of communication must be broken.

Facebook, Google search, AdSense, Twitter, YouTube have banned, blocked, shadowbanned and scrubbed my site, my work, from their platforms and my millions of followers. And I am hardly alone. It is now standard operating procedure to silence conservatives and counter terror activists.

2016: Pamela Geller on leftist social media censorship: “They mean to cut off everything from those who are working in defense of the free and the brave”

Related: Pamela Geller, Breitbart News: DoJ Responds to Our Social Media Lawsuit

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