The blackout went far and wide: Facebook actively policed its users for pro-Kyle Rittenhouse posts and removed the content. It even targeted posts from legal scholars arguing the merits of his self-defense case.
Whatever you think about the case, this is not the internet I signed up for.
Facebook is following the playbook for any and all companies now: monopolize a market, and then extract all of the profits from it. The problem is that Facebook has essentially monopolized online speech. Sure, they can point the FTC at other successful social media companies, in order to mitigate antitrust action, but every other company is a drop is the bucket in comparison. The most influential company besides Facebook is Twitter, and they have, like, one tenth the number of users. So, yes, there are other social media platforms, but if you want to put something “out there” for the world to see, you can’t NOT use Facebook. Is it the de facto social media platform.
Awhile back, someone pointed out the cynical interpretation of the “Facebook whistleblower,” who recently gave testimony to Congress. Rather than this being an embarrassment to Facebook, and begging for intrusive government intervention, it was, in fact, an engineered and coordinated effort to provoke Congress into creating an oversight board. Why? Because, rather than put shackles on Facebook’s hands, it would be liberating for the officers of the company to be able to point their detractors towards the governmental body regulating social media, which would, nominally, be setting policy. Except that, as we all know full well, they would be doing so at the bidding of Facebook, for the maximization of profit, and campaign contributions.
In my opinion, the so-called “mainstream media” created Rush Limbaugh and Matt Drudge by their systemic bias. They only really achieved national success after it became clear that the entire American press was going to give Clinton an editorial pass for every one of his scandals, including (and especially) Lewinsky. After that, they remained forces that every other news commentary program had to contend with and respond to. There are conservative social media and independent journalistic platforms ramping up right now in response to Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter’s hamfisted efforts at censorship. I predict that they will achieve the same sort of niche-yet-unignorable success that Rush and Drudge had. If so, it will just prove that line in Star Wars true: “the more you tighten your grasp, the more systems will slip through your fingers.” The success of Parler and Substack, et. al., are directly tied to the tactics of Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter to control any and all important social narratives online. They more content they disallow, the more those other platforms will thrive.