For perhaps the first time in her career, Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has made a good public policy proposal, saying that Facebook should be broken up and noting correctly that “Zuckerberg himself said Facebook is ‘more like a government than a traditional company.’ They’ve bulldozed competition, used our private information for profit, undermined our democracy, and tilted the playing field against everyone else.’” But now she has made clear that her problem with Facebook is not that it is behaving like a totalitarian state, demonizing and silencing those whom it hates, but that it is not authoritarian enough.
Facebook top dog Mark Zuckerburg said in the now-famous leaked audio from last July: “You have someone like Elizabeth Warren who thinks that the right answer is to break up the companies… If [Warren] gets elected president, then I would bet that we will have a legal challenge, and I would bet that we will win the legal challenge. And does that still suck for us? Yeah.”
Yeah. Especially since Warren is not backing off. “Facebook’s anti-competitive mergers,” Fauxcahontas tweeted Tuesday, “mean they face no real pressure to tackle disinformation.” What is disinformation, as far as Elizabeth Warren and her colleagues on the far-Left are concerned? Anything that dissents from their own agenda, and particularly anything that portrays in a positive light President Trump or anything he has done or attempted to do.
Warren and Facebook, as opposed as they are to each other recently, are both well aware that the Democrats went into 2016 carrying around all of the establishment media (with the partial exception of Fox News) in their pocket like so many nickels and dimes. They knew that they could count on the New York Times, the Washington Post, the TV networks, and the rest to provide relentlessly negative coverage of Trump and unremittingly positive presentations of Hillary Clinton. They knew that the major “news” outlets would do all they could to cover up Clinton’s manifest corruption and obviously off-putting personality.
Yet she still lost. She lost because Trump and his supporters took to social media to counter the media propaganda, and they prevailed. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and the rest are determined not to let this happen again in 2020, and ever since their 2016 debacle have been working assiduously to ban, shadowban, deplatform, and otherwise silence all voices that dissent from the hard-Left agenda, however mildly. The only voices they’re going to allow you to hear in 2020 are their own. Dissenters will not be tolerated.
All too many establishment conservatives, meanwhile, have waved this problem away, saying, “If you don’t like Facebook, start your own.” They fail to recognize that the social media giants today are monopolies that have more effective control over the means of communication than any totalitarian regime ever dreamed of having. No start-up could possibly hope to compete; what’s more, financial giants such as MasterCard have killed competitors to the social media giants by refusing to do business with them.
So now Elizabeth Warren has called for Facebook to be broken up. Conservatives could be forgiven if they blinked their eyes and refreshed the page when they saw the news; could one of the most radical of the Democrats’ crop of socialists, communists, authoritarians, dweebs, and wingnuts actually be coming out against social media censorship?
No such luck. She just wants more Mao, not less. And Facebook, despite its back-and-forth jabbing with Warren, is ready to give it to her. Facebook’s Instagram top dog Adam Mosseri explained: “It makes sense to me that people would be anxious about our scale,” that is, the calculus they use to hunt for and silence conservative voices, but he assured Leftists that everything would work out for the best: “There’s a few things that it’s really good for. If you want to prevent interference in elections, if you want to reduce the spread of hate speech on the platforms, we benefit massively from working together closely.”
Mosseri couldn’t have been clearer, although he was employing familiar Leftist tropes that are used to justify censorship. “Hate speech” is any speech the Left doesn’t like. “Interference in elections” refers to conservatives spreading their views. Remember that after the establishment media decided to claim that Hillary Clinton lost in 2016 because of massive Russian interference in our elections, Facebook and CNN were actually claiming that Americans who supported Trump were really just tools of the nefarious Russian plot.
So far, Warren doesn’t appear to be mollified, despite the fact that if the Democrats decide to make her their nominee, she will be the chief beneficiary of Facebook’s efforts to quash “interference in elections.”
These social media platforms must be broken up if the U.S. is going to survive as a free society. Is Elizabeth Warren the one to do it? Hardly. She would clearly see that they were replaced with something even worse. In the Facebook vs. Warren imbroglio, the best outcome for America would be if they both lose.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His new book is The History of Jihad From Muhammad to ISIS. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.