2022-06-05 update: Leaked Docs Show Obama FTC Gave Google Its Monopoly After Google Execs Helped Obama Get Re-Elected (The Federalist, March 2021)
New Tool Unmasks Big Tech’s Social Media Sock Puppets (The Federalist, July 2021)
Big Tech, Big Cash. lobbying and campaign contributions from Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google (Public Citizen, March 2021). End of the update.
The current crop of the Big Tech social media platforms blossomed under the Obama administration. During Obama’s terms, the US government created thousands of accounts on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube etc. Ordinary citizens reasonable assumed that this massive governmental presence indicates that these platforms are state actors obligated to be politically neutral, and joined them in droves. Over time, these platforms became a public forum and the main channel of communication between the government and the public.
However, after the 2016 elections, Big Tech platforms memory-holed these facts and claimed the right to act as they please. Additionally, the platforms started pointing out their Terms of Service, which reserve all benefits to the company and leave no rights for their users. So one-sided terms of service do not create a valid contract, of course.
But the real shocker is that the US government signed almost identical agreements with Big Tech companies in 2009-2014. These agreements subjected the US government to Big Tech’s policies, rules, and content guidelines; allowed the platforms to unilaterally change those policies, rules, and even the agreements. The platforms were allowed to remove any government content at will or under slim pretexts. Additionally, the Obama administration claimed that these agreements had been negotiated, rather than boilerplate (adhesion) agreements. The negotiations and huge negotiating power of the federal government put the US government into a much worse legal position than an ordinary user.
Big Tech platforms also received the right to decide what government communication to send to each user. For example, different Twitter users, who follow @CDCgov, receive different selections of CDC tweets, determined solely by Twitter. Communication from citizens to government accounts is even more skewed. Twitter deters or even prohibits users from communicating certain information. A good example of this would be any information regarding the use of Ivermectin for COVID-19.
The US Government had everything needed for legitimate bi-directional communication with the public on the Internet: websites, emails, and RSS for updates. Big Tech platforms provided no added value to legitimate communication needs of the government but encouraged its officials to spread propaganda.
Essentially, these agreements subjugated (attempted to subjugate, because nobody in the government has an authority to do that) the US government to the chosen Big Tech platforms. The deplatforming of President Trump on January 6 of 2021 was allowed by the text of these “agreements”.
The platforms are one-sided politically by selection. Unrestricted by the Constitution, immune to citizen’s vote and market pressures, these Obama-backed platforms became an ultimate insurance policy against elections. The political selection of the platforms becomes clear if we remember that the leading social media platforms in 2008 were Facebook and MySpace. MySpace was owned by Rupert Murdoch, so the Obama administration opened almost no accounts on MySpace. Instead, it adopted and endorse Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. MySpace use soon plummeted, and the company was sold at 0.3% of its peak valuation. Twitter and Facebook skyrocketed. In 2012 elections, Facebook shared private users’ data with the Obama campaign. Now, even as the Orwellian Disinformation Board is officially on hold, Big Tech platforms continue to covertly act as a Disinformation Board, actively promoting the Democrat’s agenda, as they have done for years.
The immunity of these platforms to the voice of the people and market pressures was further boosted by Obama-era net neutrality (Obamanet). It forced individual internet users to subsidize the dominant platforms. Big Tech services are supposedly free. However, this is only an illusion, because Obamanet simply shifted internet traffic costs fees from the platforms to all internet users via ISP fees.
This is not how publishing businesses have historically functioned. If not for Obamanet (repealed on the federal level but effectively preserved by similar laws in the blue states) Internet access would be almost free. Internet users would then pay fees directly to the publishers and social media providers of their choice. Those publishers and service providers would pay ISP fees for the traffic to/from their users. Obamanet eliminated the users’ choice in favor of the centralized and politically allied Big Tech. The Obama administration also re-distributed intellectual property from authors and publishers to Big Tech, while accommodating its friends in Hollywood and RIAA.
Our society is based on the flow of information, not just political information, but scientific, medical, market, business, and all other imaginable types of information. Big Tech manipulates all parts of society by manipulating information. With such unbridled influence, Big Tech easily squelches criticism of itself which does not come from the far left. The readers can draw their own conclusions as to how Big Tech platforms influence their stock prices.
Big Tech developed an iron grip on tech talent in the country, making investigating it and prosecution of criminal misconduct nearly impossible even for state AGs. It also deploys an army of lobbyists, paid “scholars” and media outlets to slow down and even deter such investigations.
Through government endorsements, agreements, Obamanet, and failure to enforce anti-trust and other laws, Big Tech essentially became an entity above all branches of the government, but independent of and unaccountable to voters’ decisions and unrestricted by the Constitution.