In 2017, Google fired one of its highly paid engineers, James Damore, merely for raising questions about his company’s “diversity and inclusion” programs and policies. In a thoughtful essay he shared with fellow Googlers last year, Damore slammed the Silicon Valley “monoculture” with its “ideological echo chamber” where contrary viewpoints are shamed into silence.
Other tech workers have told the Wall Street Journal that the echo chamber extends beyond Google to the entire industry whose “groupthink and homogeneity [HOMO-GE-NEE-ITY]” make it a worse place to live and work. Among tech workers polled in a survey quoted in the Journal, 59% of conservative respondents said they know someone who left the industry because they felt conservative views were unwelcome.
It’s also become apparent, thanks in part to undercover work by Project Veritas and James O’Keefe that these social media monopolies ban “unwelcome” viewpoints in from their users as well!
Two of the devious ways a social media platform can penalize conservatives are demonetizing and shadow banning. Demonetizing a site means that it is prevented from carrying the advertising it needs to defray its costs, while shadow banning means that the service provider is throttling back access to recent posts or systematically hiding them from viewers.
Cartoonist Scott Adams, a Trump supporter who draws the Dilbert comic strip, wrote last year that “hundreds of my Twitter followers have reported that I am being shadow banned on Twitter.” Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey denied it, but Scott Adams insisted that “anecdotally, the evidence is overwhelming” and that “a number of other high-profile Twitter users report the same problem.”
The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, pointed out last year that Twitter “appears to have a double standard when it comes to suspending or deverifying conservative users’ accounts as opposed to those of liberal users.” He cited the case of U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn whose campaign announcement was blocked because it featured a pro-life message.
Facebook and Google dominate their industries just as Standard Oil and AT&T once did, which were broken up under the antitrust laws. Competition and accountability are badly needed for these social media monopolies.