The Autumn offensive for the mid-terms begins.

Over the last year, it’s become obvious there is a coordinated campaign to de-platform any and all conservative voices from all the big social media platforms. By social media I mean Facebook, Twitter and Youtube and I’ve no doubt Google is in on the act as well. The intention is to exclude any narrative other than a left-wing one in the run up to the mid terms. As it happens, I’m far from convinced the much hyped blue wave is going to appear in November even in the light of such manipulation of public opinion, but we’ll see.

The lumpenproletariat are doing very nicely under a Trump administration, thanks very much. Black and Hispanic unemployment are at historic lows, female and youth unemployment rates are also heading for 50 year lows and wages for the bottom of the pile workers are actually going up in real terms for the first time in 20 years.

Where the targets are too well-known to just be thrown off the particular platform, a regime of shadow banning is being extended. If you don’t know what that means, it’s simply letting them put up stuff, but by a bit of software sleight of hand making it invisible to their subscribers. The person putting it up doesn’t know it’s disappearing into a black hole and their subscribers don’t even know it ever existed in the first place.

Other games are being played. Subscribers are being slyly unsubscribed without either the permission of the subscriber or the person or organisation they’d originally subscribed to. They are excluding any opinion that isn’t left-wing off their platforms.

The latest conservative commenter to get the none too subtle de-platforming is Alex Jones. He’d never be my go to guy on any regular basis, but he has a really annoying habit of occasionally being right, which even more annoyingly usually occurs eighteen months later after you’d safely dismissed what sounded like yet another tin foil hat conspiracy. I suppose it’s a case of a stopped watch giving the right time twice a day.

What I don’t like and find completely objectionable, is his voice being excluded from the public discourse. I don’t care if they’re a loonie, a dissenter, conspiracy buff or just plain mad, I want to make that judgment for myself, and not have it done for me by some Californian teenage snowflake who’s still got acne all over their bovine and non-sentient face.

We’ve had nearly a year of a plodding constipated investigation into the nonsense of Russia influencing the election of 2016 which has apparently cost 10 million dollars, produced no findings of any consequence and here we have right under our nose a loose cabal of arrogant silicone valley companies blatantly trying to influence the mid terms by de-platforming any conservative viewpoint.

If that isn’t interfering with an electoral process, I don’t know what is.

What is becoming radically apparent is that these social media giants are colluding together to brutally interfere in the democratic process by abusing their position of market dominance. As with all monopolies, they eventually become too arrogant to the point where something must be done about them. I think the time has now come where anti-trust proceedings will have to be initiated against them.

Proving a market abuse case against them won’t be difficult but what to do in the aftermath is the problem. The usual solutions are either to break up the monopoly, as was done with Bell corporation, or impose a regulation regime on them, as was done with US Steel. On the regulation side, the position at the moment is that they’re judge, jury and executioner without any significant appeals process to speak of. That has proven to be a disaster for anyone whose politics aren’t left-wing, so the pressure to do something has grown steadily, and will continue to do so. It won’t go away.

The idea that you can fuck around in some superior I know better arrogant way with about half of the American electorate shows a naivety that’s beyond belief. Believe it or not, you’re not a political pressure group but the wake up call is you’re just another business conglomerate of jerks chasing a buck. You want to lose half your customers? You’re plotting that disaster yourself.

Conceivably, there could be a separate regulatory body set up to arbitrate with an appeals process but there would be too many imponderables about such a solution. Who pays for it? Who frames the rules it uses? A case stuck in arbitration for months is just as effective at stifling a dissenting voice at the right point as outright censorship. I can’t see a way of making case by case regulation work in this area.

The other option of breaking them up seems equally problematic since they all use some form of a central database. Conceivably you could keep the central database and hive off operating companies feeding off it. ie Facebook USA, Facebook UK. It’s doable and has the added advantage of making the operating company answerable to local authorities. Again, I can’t somehow see it working.

As far as I can see, the only viable option is to tell them no more censorship. If someone is pushing something blatantly illegal like child porn, fine, kill it, but everything else stays up. Where they’re caught out doing things like shadow banning, you fine them a few million. Repeat offenses, you just move the punishment into the billions and keep on going upwards. They’ll soon get the message, because despite all their do good and don’t do any evil PR spin bollocks, they’re all essentially arrogant and greedy people.

There’s a rather innocent view that social media companies can pick and choose how they do business, but speaking as a man who ran a private unlisted company for three decades, I can tell you if the government decides to fuck with your business, whether private or listed, they can make life very very difficult for you. As Sam Giancana, a Mafia boss famously said, you can take on anybody except the government, because whatever you’ve got, they’ve got a lot more of it and anyway, they’re the ones making up the rules of the game and interpreting them to suit themselves. You can’t beat that. He learnt to do business with government rather than fight it because he knew he couldn’t win against them.

A word of warning to the social media masters of the universe. In less than three years, Trump shredded the news media. They believed they were invincible and wanted to play controlling games with him, fine. He obliged and rolled games back at them in return. Nowadays, nobody believes a damn word they say, newsrooms are getting emptied of journalists, profits have plummeted and whatever they produce is despised as fake news. They themselves as individuals are despised.

Hollywood injudiciously decided to jump on the bandwagon and get into politics as well and specifically against Trump. The result was last year being the worst year in the last twenty-five as takings plummeted. They, like you, had an over inflated opinion of how influential they actually were. Many careers have been ended very abruptly as it’s become apparent certain people have managed to talk themselves into box office poison. No producers will touch them with a barge pole

You’ve decided to declare war on him and guess what? He’s a scrapper who likes a bloody good fight and is good at it. In case you haven’t noticed, he’s now turning his guns towards you. You want to get into the political arena? Fine. My feeling is you’re good at doing some smug fiddling with bits and bytes, but he knows exactly how to set the 63M people who voted for him on your business model. It wouldn’t be a first.

I’d stick to your bits and bytes if I were you, because you don’t want government in the form of Trump as an enemy. All you know how to do is rub two dollar bills together to make it into three, but he knows exactly how to kill you and your business, and on past form, that’s practically guaranteed.

Just ask a freshly humbled news media or Hollywood.

©Pointman

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Comments
16 Responses to “The Autumn offensive for the mid-terms begins.”
  1. Graeme No.3 says:

    Great article. What happens if Trump sets up a Special Counsel to investigate attempts to influence the coming election? Hoist with their own petard?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. David Crea says:

    Don’t forget Wikipedia, also.

    Like

  3. Annie says:

    Good article Pointman. I look forward to their being ‘Trumped’.

    Like

  4. Shoshin says:

    The social media have now become utilities. The best argument for regulating them is to compare them to the U.S. Mail. Reading mail, stealing mail, diverting mail and destroying mail are criminal offences. So should it be with social media. Their founder’s made billions; good for them, but crossing into interfering with the free exchange of ideas was a mistake. They need to be confined be a mere carrier of information, not a gatekeeper.

    Like

  5. philjourdan says:

    Bell is a bad example. They were actually broken up through choice (AT&T wanted to get into the competitive markets, so spun off the Baby Bells – who prospered and eventually one ate the parent). Standard oil is the example you are looking for (it was broken up into several smaller companies).

    And you are correct. There is no “easy” solution. But you are also correct that the government does not need one. It can just get in their business and make it very painful for them (ask Microsoft). The drawback to that plan is that changes with regimes. Anti-Trust is forever.

    But one thing that needs to be done is to nail Google and Apple for restraint of trade. That they can do, Then the consumer can decide what social media platform they want to use. And as you noted, facebook and the others will wither since they have decided to cut off half their potential customers.

    Like

  6. Pointman says:

    Damage Control: Twitter Says Overzealous Shadowbanning Was a Mistake, 3 Days Before Congress Grills CEO Jack Dorsey

    https://www.breitbart.com/tech/2018/09/03/damage-control-twitter-says-overzealous-shadowbanning-was-a-mistake-3-days-before-congress-grills-ceo-jack-dorsey/

    A day late and a dollar short Jack. The momentum to christianise sillycone valley people like you is growing.

    Pointman

    Like

  7. rapscallion says:

    . . . and as if on cue, and remembering your article about NOT mixing business with politics, Nike have done just that. https://www.vox.com/2018/9/4/17818162/nike-kaepernick-controversy-face-of-just-do-it.

    Considering how many of NFL attendees are straight white Americans, this is, like the Graf Zeppelin is going to crash in flames.

    What do they teach this brain dead muppets at Harvard Business School?

    Like

  8. Pointman says:

    Ajit Pai Challenges Google, Facebook, Twitter as Internet ‘Gatekeepers’

    https://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2018/09/04/ajit-pai-challenges-google-facebook-twitter-as-internet-gatekeepers/

    Shudda stuck to bits and bytes, you’ve now got the Trump train coming at you.

    Pointman

    Like

  9. Pointman says:

    Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg claims social media networks are in an ‘arms race’ to protect democracy

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6132733/Facebook-chief-says-internet-firms-arms-race-democracy.html

    Looks like it’s open warfare. It should be both interesting and instructive.

    Sam Giancana …

    Like

  10. Siamiam says:

    I believe Marsh vs Alabama should apply. In 1946 Scotus decided a constitutional right superseded property rights. Internet companies have property rights but they can’t deny free speech in what amounts to a town square.

    Like

  11. Pointman says:

    Former Clinton Ally Warns Silicon Valley Is Meddling In Elections

    https://downtrend.com/donn-marten/former-clinton-ally-warns-silicon-valley-is-meddling-in-elections/

    I see a trend developing.

    Pointman

    Like

  12. davidpng says:

    Rosa Parks got off the bus; like him or not, Ali gave up boxing for a few years. What say, to confirm your commitment to the cause, you take a knee, for a game, or a Half, or Quarter, ok how about just the first 7 plays from scrimmage? Then both you and the NFL might be sacrificing just a bit. That would be going beyond the virtue signaling of dissing the flag. How about it?

    Like

  13. Pointman says:

    White House Drafts Order To Look Into Google, Facebook Practices

    http://archive.is/W70hB#selection-1001.0-1001.64

    Here we go. The humbling of Sillycone Valley begins.

    Sam Giarcana.

    Like

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