May 27, 2021
Remember when Facebook used to be about sharing pictures and wishing online friends “Happy Birthday”?
Social media has since evolved into a huge facet of the Big Tech machine… And its censorship of different viewpoints became even more apparent last year (remember the Parler fiasco?).
This recently hit a little too close to home… An incident with Facebook truly stunned me.
If you think the social media communities’ efforts to suppress libertarian and conservative economic and political thought were already bad, then this will concern you, too.
My Firsthand Experience Being Shadow Banned
After the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack, I went to work right away, filming a segment about how vulnerable our nation’s infrastructure is.
The red camera light blinked on when I started filming…
“You know what the real threat is?” I said, staring into the camera lens. “The real threat, the one no one wants to talk about… is the threat of an EMP attack on our nation’s grid.”
An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack would be deadly to this country. The government-commissioned EMP Task Force has reported three times to Congress that in the event of an EMP attack, 90% of the American population would be dead within a year.
This is extremely serious… But according to Facebook, I’m apparently not allowed to talk about such things.
Within minutes of posting my report, my team got a note saying that the content was “too sensitive” and could therefore neither be monetized nor would it be fully distributed to my followers.
I’m not quite sure I comprehend why there’s an effort to suppress this discussion. As a journalist, I firmly believe there are issues that should be open to public debate – national security is one of those issues.
And yet, given a social media giant’s effort to suppress my reporting, I’m beginning to think the U.S. has more in common with North Korea than we ever imagined.
In social media lingo… I’d just been shadow banned.
You see, when Facebook demonetizes a video, they also often bury it in the feeds – a process known as shadow banning.
I’ll even go so far as to give Facebook the benefit of the doubt for its refusal to monetize content it doesn’t like – because a company should have a right to say, “We don’t like this, and we will protect ourselves and our advertisers.”
But what downright infuriates me is the idea that a company – which purports to be a kind of “town square” for speech (and enjoys legal protections as such) – would deliberately suppress news that Americans deserve and need to hear.
It’s high time the anti-trust eggheads in D.C. wake up to this reality… Facebook is a monopoly and must be broken up.
I’ve written at length for American Consequences about this crucial vulnerability before…
And last week, I spoke with the head of the EMP Task Force, Dr. Peter Pry, on my podcast. Dr. Pry created the aforementioned original report that Congress has repeatedly been debriefed on… the one that states that grim statistic that in the event of an EMP attack, most of the American population would be dead within a year.
It’s a scary and sobering thought… I wish I weren’t reporting on it… And I’m sure Facebook doesn’t want to alarm or frighten its users…
But the stat is real and the threat is real, which means someone has to report it.
The recent Colonial Pipeline cyberattack got me wondering… If a Russian-linked group could take out a pipeline distributing 45% of the fuel to the Northeast… what else could they do?
Dr. Pry is also thinking this way. He told me…
The Colonial Pipeline attack was a warning… Russian-linked hacking groups are capable of much, much worse.
Interestingly, like the Facebook roadblocks I’m hitting when trying to report on the topic, Dr. Pry is also hitting obstacles when trying to address this crucial topic. He tells me that there’s almost a refusal to really look at the issue in Washington.
So instead of researching, investigating, discussing, and preparing… America will just bury her head in the sand and we’ll cross our fingers?
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And it seems Facebook, a monopolistic enterprise started by a socially awkward computer guy who went to my own high school, is out entirely for itself… not the country, not the world, but apparently whatever is best for shareholders.
Roger McNamee, an early investor who introduced Mark Zuckerberg to Sheryl Sandberg, wrote in his book Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe that, effectively, Facebook is a dangerous company that could even ruin the world.
And he’s right… We aren’t yet prepared for some of the ethical questions Facebook is forcing us to look at.
But here’s what we should all recognize – In the best, most healthy version of capitalism, the monopoly should be shunned.
Facebook is a monopoly… And its monopolistic power must be both shunned and ended.
While I admire Zuckerberg’s gumption… his experiment in censorship is failing the world.
By not allowing people to hear the truth, and by not allowing people to listen to opinions, Facebook has become one of the oppressors.
If we had many different social media platforms to choose from, I wouldn’t care as much that Facebook wanted to influence what news we all hear.
But we don’t… The one alternative to Twitter, Parler, for example, was taken offline last year in the dead of the night with barely a warning. (The app was started as a “free-speech platform” – the irony is thick on this one.) Parler was shut down because Big Government worried it had too many freedom advocates, and possibly January 6 riot supporters, on its site. I suspect Big Tech was also looking for a scapegoat and a reason to dismantle a growing competitor.
Now Parler is back online. And Rumble, a Canadian online video platform, is trying to make a go of it as a Facebook alternative.
A competitor is needed… Americans deserve to hear real news and real opinion – and content providers and publishers like me deserve outlets for their voices and their reporting.
It’s one of the reasons I’m so glad you’re here at American Consequences, reading these e-mails where I will always write the truth.
Let’s hope that many new great companies are in the works to give Facebook a run for its money. I have my eye on a few… All are still private and will likely remain that way for a bit… But the key now is to make sure Facebook doesn’t buy them first.
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Publisher, American Consequences
With Editorial Staff
May 27, 2021