How the Tide is Turning Against Social Media:
- Justice Department Is Preparing Antitrust Investigation of Google
According to a Wall Street Journal article, the Department of Justice has started an antitrust investigation of Google.
The Justice Department is gearing up for an antitrust investigation of Alphabet Inc.’s Google, a move that could present a major new layer of regulatory scrutiny for the search giant, according to people familiar with the matter.
The department’s antitrust division in recent weeks has been laying the groundwork for the probe, the people said. The Federal Trade Commission, which shares antitrust authority with the department, previously conducted a broad investigation of Google but closed it in 2013 without taking action.
(Read more at the Wall Street Journal)
Nobody likes seeing the giant standing at the hilltop threatening everybody. Recently, with its demonetizing of vocal elements on both the left and right, Google (and Facebook and Twitter with similar actions) has made itself a target for politicians needing a cause.
Additionally, for those of us who feel like our message has been pushed under by an overburdening self-appointed bureaucracy, we are ready for releaf.
- Trump to Mandate Social Media Disclosure for All Foreign Nationals Seeking Visas to U.S.
Breitbart reported in a 31 May 2019 article how the Trump administration may be in preparation to mandate the disclosure of social media accounts of all foreign nationals who seek U.S. visas.
President Trump’s State Department will soon mandate that all foreign nationals seeking to enter the United States on a visa provide their social media accounts to screen out national security threats.
In the Trump administration’s latest immigration directive, the State Department will begin mandating that foreign nationals seeking any visa to the U.S. — including all nonimmigrant, employment, student, tourist, and business visas — disclose their social media accounts if they are on social media.
Should a visa applicant claim that they do not have social media accounts when in fact they do, a State Department official said they would become eligible for a permanent visa ban to the U.S.
The agency’s initiative to increase screening measures of the more than 1.2 million legal immigrants that are admitted to the country every year is part of an executive order signed by the president in 2017, with a senior White House official calling the new rule a “critical step forward in establishing enhanced vetting of foreign nationals.”
“As we’ve seen around the world in recent years, social media can be a major forum for terrorist sentiment and activity,” the senior official told Breitbart News. “This will be a vital tool to screen out terrorists, public safety threats, and other dangerous individuals from gaining immigration benefits and setting foot on U.S. soil.”
The lack of mandatory social media disclosure for foreign nationals seeking visas to the U.S. first came to the forefront following the December 2015 Islamic terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California, when two terrorists murdered 14 people.
One of the terrorists, Tashfeen Malik, was able to enter the U.S. as a legal immigrant through the K-1 visa after State Department officials failed in three background checks to catch the Pakistani national’s social media posts in which she gushed over jihad.
Already, the Trump administration’s travel ban from eight countries that sponsor terrorism has been effective in ending nearly all legal immigration to the U.S. from those regions.
(Read more at Breitbart)
If AT&T had grown too big for the marketplace in 1984 (and it only controlled networks of landlines and newly-developed cell phones), then how can anyone justify the gargantuan reach of Google, Facebook, and Twitter? Since each of these social media giants (especially Google with its YouTube division) controls major swaths of the electronic discourse of the free (and not free – since they have dealings in China) world.
Additionally, in an era when we have seen these social media giants cooperating with the Obama administration to violate American’s rights against unlawful search and seizure (remember Mr. Snowden and Obama’s NSA scandal), my recent reading has indicated that the social media giants have shown an unwillingness to work with the Trump administration in finding foreign threats to national security. They need to recognize that American rights afforded by the American Constitution need to be protected by American companies — maybe smaller American companies that will appreciate the freedoms afforded them.
All the while, these corporations find it easy to work with socialist dictatorships.
- Google Should Be Afraid. Very Afraid.
Even Yahoo Finance has decided to pick up the drumbeat against Google in a 1 June article outlining the beginning of problems for the left-wing social media bastion.
This is the moment the U.S. technology superpowers surely knew was coming: The U.S. government is preparing to crawl all over Google to figure out whether it is an abusive monopolist. Google parent company Alphabet Inc. and the other tech giants should be quaking in their fleece vests.
Bloomberg News and other news organizations reported late Friday that the U.S. Department of Justice is preparing to open an investigation into Google’s compliance with antitrust laws. If it goes forward, an investigation will no doubt be broad, lengthy, messy, and impossible for Google and its investors to predict.
That should terrify Google and every other big technology company — because there’s no guarantee that the antitrust Klieg light will turn on one company alone.
This isn’t Google’s first antitrust rodeo. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission in 2013 closed without further action its own antitrust investigation into whether Google wielded its dominant web search engine like a cudgel to disadvantage rivals, drive up prices for advertisers and ultimately harm consumers. (Google did agree to some voluntary changes.)
And in recent years, the European Union antitrust watchdog imposed billions of dollars in fines after finding antitrust violations, including over how Google conducted business with its Android smartphone software and its internet shopping service. In the U.S. and elsewhere, politicians from all party stripes have sought to attack Google or other tech giants for various perceived sins, including being too big for the good of industry and consumers. Being Google has meant dealing with perennial regulatory and political nightmares.
(Read more at Yahoo Finance)
In this article, Bloomberg and Yahoo Finance acknowledge the concept that Google, Facebook, and other social media giants have loomed so large over us peons as to deserve being brought down.
- Should Big Tech fear U.S. antitrust enforcers?
Reuters tries to explain how the social media giants may (but likely won’t) see repercussions for their anti-conservative actions.
It is difficult to show a violation of U.S. antitrust law, legal experts said.
It is not enough for regulators to establish that a company has monopoly power. They must also show anticompetitive conduct – an abuse of that dominant position aimed at bypassing fair competition.
“You can get a monopoly just by being a good competitor and that’s fine,” said Chris Sagers, a professor of antitrust law at Cleveland State University.
Under current precedent, the Department of Justice and the FTC also need to show that consumers are being harmed, something that in recent decades has typically been measured by whether prices are going up and innovation is slowing.
What can the U.S. government do if investigators find an antitrust violation?
The FTC and Justice Department can both file civil lawsuits in federal court and ask judges to order changes to a company’s business model.
The Justice Department can also bring criminal antitrust cases, but those prosecutions usually relate to cartels and price-fixing, making charges against big technology firms unlikely.
(Read more at Reuters)
Although these writers at Reuters would have us believe that the government is too inbred with those they should be overseeing to faithfully do their job, I don’t think that I fully buy it. If we can light a fire under a conservative or more in the Senate, I think that break-up of the media giants might put the fear of God (or at least the fear of the people) in some of these companies.
Why the Tide is Changing Against Social Media
- Here’s The Eye-Popping Amount Of Cash Google, Amazon, And Facebook Dumped On DC Lobbyists In 2018
The Daily Caller provides us a 5 June 2019 article on the lobbying practices (aka, both “our first amendment right to have our voice heard” and “legalized bribery”) of the social media giants.
Google, Amazon and Facebook plowed a record amount of money into Washington, D.C., a year before congressional Democrats announced a wide-ranging antitrust investigation into the Silicon Valley giants.
They dumped a combined $48 million into lobbying in 2018, up 13% from 2017, government disclosures from January show. House Democrats announced a planned probe of Google and Facebook’s business practices Monday, nearly a year after the companies made their contributions.
Google was the biggest spender in 2018, increasing its lobbying contributions 18% to $21.2 million. Facebook’s spending amount grew nearly 10% to $12.6 million. All three companies spent the bulk of their lobbying on in-house lobbying crews. The efforts largely went toward market and data regulation issues, according to the data.
Neither Facebook, Amazon, nor Google have responded to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment about Democrats’ potential probe.
The House’s investigation comes several days after a Wall Street Journal report noted that the Department of Justice is preparing an antitrust probe against Google’s search engine and business model. It would be the first such investigation since the Federal Trade Commission conducted a probe of Google but closed it in 2013 without taking action.
(Read more at Daily Caller)
When these social media companies were just start ups, they were not a problem. However, now that they seem to have decided that they should eliminate all discussion of anti-liberal ideas (that is, when conservatives, moderates, or liberals offend the sensibilities of their liberal censors, those ideas get blocked), they have become the Big Brother enemy of freedom.
One Facebook lawyer has been quoted in a 31 May 2019 article in The Daily Dot as claiming that Facebook users have surrendered their privacy rights to the company that Zuckerberg helped start.
A lawyer for Facebook argued in court Wednesday that the social media site’s users “have no expectation of privacy.”
“There is no invasion of privacy at all, because there is no privacy,” Snyder said.
In an attempt to have the lawsuit thrown out, Snyder further claimed that Facebook was nothing more than a “digital town square” where users voluntarily give up their private information.
“You have to closely guard something to have a reasonable expectation of privacy,” Snyder added.
Although Snyder said that the social media site would be focusing more on privacy in the future, U.S. District Court Judge Vince Chhabria reportedly pushed back on Facebook’s argument.
“What you are saying now sounds contrary to the message that Facebook itself disseminates about privacy,” Chhabria said, according to Law.com.
(Read more at the The Daily Dot)
Maybe this might be something that I can incorporate into my life.
- YouTube investigating conservative commentator Steven Crowder
The Hill reports in a 1 June 2019 article how YouTube has demonetized and limited the video capabilities of conservative commentator Steven Crowder.
YouTube is investigating conservative commentator Steven Crowder after Vox host Carlos Maza accused him of harassment and making derogatory comments about his ethnicity and sexuality.
YouTube responded to Maza’s tweet thread detailing his allegations, saying that it was “looking into it further.”
@gaywonk Thanks so much for outlining all of this–we’re looking into it further. Sending you a DM now.—
(@TeamYouTube) May 31, 2019
The company also confirmed to The Hill that it was investigating in response to Maza’s thread, but declined to comment further.
Maza, the host of Vox’s media literacy series “Strikethrough,” accused Crowder on Twitter this week of “repeated, overt attacks on my sexual orientation and ethnicity.” He said that the pundit has called him “an anchor baby” and “a lispy queer.” He also said that Crowder’s videos have caused him to be the “target of ridiculous harassment,” adding that “it makes life sort of miserable.”
The Vox host told his followers to flag Crowder’s videos and said he did not believe YouTube would take a stand against the commentator. He accused the company of not caring about its LGBT creators.
I've been called an anchor baby, a lispy queer, a Mexican, etc. These videos get millions of views on YouTube. Ever… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…—
Carlos Maza (@gaywonk) May 31, 2019
(Read more at The Hill)
Actually, I think the best response to Carlos Maza’s whining comes though Steven Crowder.
Steven Crowder’s response to the ordeal:
This is corporate censorship and this is yet another giant company trying to lean on this channel, your channel, and the content you’ve created. This is a war (I want to make sure that everyone understands) we will fight to the absolute bitter end both legally and publically.
So if you’ve clicked on this video, it’s the exact opposite of clickbait. The title (VOX is Trying to Ban This Channel… | Louder with Crowder), it’s pretty much what you would expect of the host of Vox.
Vox has actively (it’s been brought to my attention) been on a campaign to get this channel banned (removed from YouTube).
By encouraging viewers in massive flagging campaigns to directly communicating with YouTube in order to try and get me and these videos completely removed from the platform. A couple of th tweets read “by refusing to enforce its anti-harassment policy, YouTube is helping incredibly powerful cyberbullies … go to this dude’s videos and flag them?” (sic @gaywonk tweet).
Let me explain the real (the more sinister) context at play here. First, I’ve been accused of playing a part (or this person, Carlos Maza, has accused me in playing a part) in his in his having been doxed. I have always condemned and continue to condemn and discourage any and all forms of doxing or targeted harassemnt of anyone online. Ok. I’ve been consistent, so please don’t do that, here. I know some of you will get mad — maybe a little enraged with the information you are about to hear — but please don’t do that. Be above that.
If there’s any proof that I’ve actively encouraged people to dox this person or anyone, I will profusely apologize. Any proof.
Here’s the thing. Of the tens of millions of cumulative plays of our rebuttals to Vox on this channel, every single one of them is about criticizing their ideas or incorrect assumptions. Every instance has been about fighting bad information with better information.
Now, Carlos Maza is upset.
Ok, have I ever called you “Carlos, the gay, Latino host at Fox?” Yes, of course. But it’s friendly ribbing and you know I genuinely wouldn’t consider you being that upset about it considering your Twitter handle is “@gaywonk.”
Did I ever offhandedly use the term “lispy queer?” I really don’t remember it, but it sounds like me. Why? because you speak with a lisp and you refer to yourself as a queer. That, along with the LGBTQ moniker, has made me think that “queer” is one of the more suitable terms. If not, I don’t understand the rulebook. Please, please correct me.
Note: the following graphic came up during the video, showing screen captures from Carlos Maza’s Instagram account which use the “offensive” terms.
Also, by the way, it’s funny and this is a comedy show. “Let’s be queer” is harmless and I enjoy saying it. You’re not alone. Quarterblack Garrett, half-Asian lawyer Bill Richmond. I won’t apologize for it just like I won’t apologize for the “Socialism is for Figs” shirt which thay now want to have actively removed (available at CrowderShop.com).
If using your words, taken directly from the acronym you regularly tout is not Hate Speech — no one can understand the rules. And that’s kind of the point isn’t it.
… (There is much more.)
Considering the corporate sponsorship Vox enjoys (starting with $200 million from NBC Universal) and the self-funding of the Louder with Crowder show (where they fund themselves by selling their “Mug Club”), I really can’t wait for Google, Vox, Facebook, and Twitter to be diced into bite-sized bits. I want to see Carlos Maza eat more than his fill of the bits of Alphabet.
- Update: YouTube Demonetizes Stven Crowder videos
Washington Times reports in a 5 June 2019 article how Steven Crowder will now be denied income from the videos he produces (but YouTube will continue to draw income).
Comedian Steven Crowder’s YouTube victory in the wake of a deplatforming campaign was short-lived due to a “continued review” by YouTube.
The social media giant, which rejected calls by Vox host Carlos Maza to terminate Mr. Crowder’s channel for alleged “harassment,” returned to the issue on Wednesday by demonetizing the channel.
“Update on our continued review — we have suspended this channel’s monetization,” YouTube wrote. “We came to this decision because a pattern of egregious actions has harmed the broader community and is against our YouTube Partner Program policies.”
Fans of the conservative comedian thought he was in the clear on Tuesday after YouTube said an “in-depth review” of his channel showed zero violations of its rules.
The initial review, YouTube said, took “days.”
Steven Crowder (@scrowder) June 05, 2019
(Read more at Washington Times)
Breitbart reports in a 5 June 2019 article how YouTube has gone on a conservative-demonetizing quest.
YouTube has begun a purge of what it calls “hate” and “misinformation” from the platform, as well as a push to strip ad revenue (“demonetize”) channels that “brush up” against the platform’s increasingly draconian speech codes. The move follows a pro-censorship campaign led by Vox Media reporter Carlos Maza.
YouTube also pledged to push more “authoritative” content from “trusted” sources to users — mainstream media like NBC and CNN fall into this category.
The channels that have been demonetized include independent journalist Ford Fischer, libertarian anti-globalist news channel Press For Truth, SJW critic Sinatra_Says, and conservative comedian Steven Crowder.
The latest purge followed a relentless pro-censorship campaign led by far-left Vox Media reporter Carlos Maza, who objected to content produced by Steven Crowder. YouTube has now targeted not just Crowder, but a range of independent video creators.
“As an independent news producer, I don’t have any salary whatsoever. I live in DC and travel the country covering activism because I think it’s important — especially in this political moment — to have raw documentation of everything that goes on” said Ford Fischer, a former production assistant at Fox News. “Good, bad, or ugly, we as press have an obligation to film it as impartially as we can.”
“It’s true that the mainstream media covers many of the same issues that I do, and they never seem to encounter the same censorship” Fischer continued. “There are numerous examples, but as a simple one I’d note that Vice has embedded with neo-Nazi organizations many, many times. I’ve worked alongside them in doing so, and I’ve licensed [reports] to them about a dozen times for their coverage. Vice will probably never find itself on the chopping block.”
“The demonetization of my work on Youtube effectively cuts my bottom line livelihood in half” said Fischer.
Black conservative author and media personality Jessie Lee Peterson claimed on social media that YouTube demonetized his account after he condemned “anti-Jewish hatred by whites and Muslims.”
YouTube demonetized my channel right after taking down videos *condemning* anti-Jewish hatred by whites & Muslims!… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…—
Jesse Lee Peterson (@JLPtalk) June 05, 2019
Conservative commentator Hunter Avallone also told Breitbart News that some of his videos were demonetized today.
(Read more at Breitbart)
Nothing screams “fascism” more than a host from a company that cooperated with the Obama regime in the suppression of information now demanding the figurative book-burning of unapproved ideas.
Ironically, the sycophants in Antifa call conservatives fascists when they are the real book burners.
- Twitter Suspends Researcher Who Exposed Antifa-Journalist Connections
Breitbart reports in a 31 May 2019 article how the researcher who exposed a network of Antifa members posing as journalists has now been suspended by the bigots at Twitter.
Twitter has suspended the account of Eoin Lenihan, a researcher who mapped out connections between mainstream journalists and the violent far-left Antifa movement on Twitter, following a mass-reporting campaign by left-wing activists.
Lenihan published the results of his research at Quillette, where he explained the twofold objective of his project — first, to discover the journalists who were most closely linked to Antifa via social media. Second, to discover if those journalists covered the extremist movement favorably or negatively.
In October 2018, my research partner and I decided to investigate the truth of this impression by using a mix of network mapping and linguistic analysis to see which prominent journalists who covered Antifa also were closely connected to leading Antifa figures on social media. We then inspected the Antifa-related stories these journalists had written.
We created a data set of 58,254 Antifa or Antifa-associated Twitter accounts based on the follows of 16 verified Antifa seed accounts. Using a software tool that analyzed the number and nature of connections associated with each individual account, we winnowed the 58,254 Antifa or Antifa-associated Twitter accounts down to 962 accounts. This represents a core group of Twitter users who are connected in overlapping ways to the most influential and widely followed Antifa figures. Of these 962 accounts, 22 were found to be verified—of which 15 were journalists who work regularly with national-level news outlets.
The journalists included contributors to The Guardian, The New Republic, Al Jazeera, and the Huffington Post.
(Read more at Breitbart)
This really speaks towards the level of integrity within Twitter.
Hit the road, Jack, and never come back — no more, no more, no more, no more.
Twitter needs to be in the dust bin of history in pieces.
- Zuckerberg security chief placed on leave amid racism investigation
SF Gate reports in a 31 May 2019 article how the shadow of racism has descended on Facebook.
Mark Zuckerberg’s personal security chief has been placed on administrative leave amid allegations that he made racist and homophobic remarks about people including the Facebook founder’s wife.
Liam Booth allegedly made the remarks about Zuckerberg’s wife, Priscilla Chan, and some of the employees at their household, Business Insider reported earlier, citing legal letters from the former household staff. A spokesman for the Zuckerberg and Chan family office said Booth has been placed on leave while an outside law firm investigates. It didn’t confirm the precise nature of the allegations published by Business Insider.
“The family office takes complaints of workplace misconduct very seriously,” the spokesman told Bloomberg News in an email. “The allegations against Liam Booth were brought to the office’s attention for the first time by the Bloom Firm after both former employees had left employment by the family office and engaged legal counsel.”
Lisa Bloom of the Bloom Firm confirmed by email that she represents “the two individuals who have raised claims.” She declined to identify the people involved or share details on the allegations.
Booth is a former Secret Service officer, according to his LinkedIn profile. He didn’t immediately reply to a message outside of U.S. business hours.
(Read more at SF Gate)
For this and all of the other things that would get the rest of us banned for life, Facebook needs to be broken up.