Conservatives face an extremely difficult situation online. While Big Tech companies have long targeted conservative websites and public figures for fact-checks and various other forms of suppression, Facebook, Twitter, Apple, Google, and Amazon appear to have crossed a significant Rubicon in recent days. How should conservatives fight back?
PJ Media’s Matt Margolis has a list of Big Tech alternatives that offer havens for conservatives, but as of yet, these alternatives do not have the reach and effectiveness of the major platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Furthermore, more and more tech companies are bowing to the leftist mob. Much as I want alternatives to succeed, I think conservatives — and conservative media outlets like PJ Media — need a different strategy, at least for now.
In recent months, Facebook has dogged conservative sites with extra fact checks, requiring authors to update articles to include alternative points of view, to hedge strong statements, and to double-check their sources.
Facebook fact-checks throttle the traffic that news outlets receive from Facebook, so these attacks are extremely inconvenient. However, they have forced conservative outlets to adapt.
Those adaptations hold conservative news outlets to a higher standard. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. The better conservative news outlets become, the more effective we will be at countering the stifling leftist orthodoxy.
If we refine our arguments against abortion, transgenderism, and climate alarmism, acknowledging the superficial appeal of the other side while presenting facts and evidence to debunk it, we may be able to move the needle on these important issues. If we present the truth that America holds out a better promise for racial minorities than Marxist critical race theory — and we do so in a winsome manner to contrast the angry antifa agitators — we will save more minds from this destructive ideology.
I firmly support calling the Left out on its heinous tactics to silence conservatives, and I will remain dedicated to exposing Democrats and their allies. However, I think it is a good thing — in the long run — for us to hold ourselves to a high standard. In my reporting, I try to get the facts right, to check my sources, and to acknowledge that there is another side to an issue, even though I disagree with it.
Perhaps the best strategy for fighting back against the woke inquisition isn’t to rage and yell, but to evolve. We must stand firm for our principles while delivering a superior product in journalism.
For my money, this evolution would also help the companies that try to provide alternative platforms to Big Tech, such as Facebook and Twitter. It is not enough for a social media platform like Parler to be friendly to free speech and open to host conservatives — it also has to provide a superior product. Much as I appreciate what Parler has been trying to do, I join my fellow conservatives in noting that Parler’s user experience is not nearly as good as Twitter’s.
Conservative alternatives don’t just need to exist — and Big Tech is fighting to prevent even that, it seems. They need to deliver a better product than the competition. That doesn’t mean they have to be humongous from the get-go — but they need some increased functionality or other benefits in addition to being a haven for conservatives. Then they won’t just be able to exist alongside Twitter and Facebook — they might just be able to end up replacing them.
Conservatives have a long hard road ahead. Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. will not go easy on us just because he’s preaching about “unity” and “healing.” He and his incoming vice president, Kamala Harris, have made no bones about the fact that they consider some conservatives — conservative Christians who uphold biblical sexuality, it seems — in extreme contempt.
Yet if we take this opportunity to evolve, to improve the quality of our content, we can come out of this crisis purified by fire. This strategy won’t be easy, but it will likely offer us the best chance to truly win the argument.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.