Big Tech's Authoritarian Practices Are Accelerating. Will You Submit?
Glenn Reynolds has deactivated his Twitter account, citing the banning of Jesse Kelly for no apparent reason as the immediate cause of his disillusionment with the platform. Explaining his decision, he wrote:
Why should I provide free content to people I don’t like, who hate me? I’m currently working on a book on social media, and I keep coming back to the point that Twitter is far and away the most socially destructive of the various platforms. So I decided to suspend them, as they are suspending others. At least I’m giving my reasons, which is more than they’ve done usually.
He may have beaten the digital bouncers to the door by only a little. The Thought Police are rushing to ensure that everyone toes the line. The Straits Times reports that "Facebook will allow French regulators to 'embed' inside the company to examine how it combats online hate speech, the first time the wary tech giant has opened its doors in such a way, President Emmanuel Macron said."
The trial project is an example of what Mr Macron has called "smart regulation", something he wants to extend to other tech leaders such as Google, Apple and Amazon.
The move follows a meeting with Facebook's founder, Mr Mark Zuckerberg, in May, when Mr Macron invited the chief executive officers of some of the biggest tech firms to Paris, telling them they should work for the common good.
The officials may be seconded from the telecoms regulator and the interior and justice ministries, a government source said. Facebook said the selection was up to the French presidency.
It is unclear whether the group will have access to highly sensitive material such as Facebook's algorithms or codes to remove hate speech. It could travel to Facebook's European headquarters in Dublin and global base in Menlo Park, California, if necessary, the company said.
This is the same Emmanuel Macron who is worried that protests by the French miserables against his crushing environmental fuel taxes could hurt the government's image:
The French president told ministers at a cabinet meeting on Monday that the government must respond after images were relayed around the world of police firing teargas and water cannon at protesters who set up barricades, lit fires and smashed restaurants and shopfronts on the Champs-Élysées.
It's not just Macron who is leaning on Google. The government of China is also exerting pressure on the tech companies to help them to build a social media surveillance state. Here's Ben Gomes, Google's search engine chief who "joked about the unpredictability of President Donald Trump and groaned about the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China, which has slowed down Google’s negotiations with Communist Party officials in Beijing, whose approval Google requires to launch the censored search engine":