Dr. Eowyn, Texas is Doing Something about Social Media Censorship of Conservatives

There is a new, unprecedented, and very toxic phenomenon in U.S. politics.

Privately-owned businesses have become blatantly partisan and willing to lose customers and profits by discriminating against and outright banning conservatives. See, for example:

Among those corporations are the information tech giants — social media and WordPress — which have been censoring conservatives, including this blog, Fellowship of the Minds (FOTM), for some time now. See:

The latest social media censorship took place four days ago on May 2, when Facebook and Instagram, with no warning, banned a number of so-called “far-right extremists,” including Alex Jones, InfoWars, Milo Yiannopoulos, Paul Joseph Watson, and Laura Loomer, ostensibly for “safety” reasons to remove individuals who promote “hate and violence.”

But as Clash Daily points out, neither Facebook nor Instagram cited how or what the “far-right extremists” had posted that violated their “community rules” or “terms of service,” which makes their banning and take-down entirely arbitrary.

As usual, President Trump did some huffing and puffing with this tweet:

I am continuing to monitor the censorship of AMERICAN CITIZENS on social media platforms. This is the United States of America — and we have what’s known as FREEDOM OF SPEECH! We are monitoring and watching, closely!!

Instead of empty threats, Texas is doing something about the social media censorship.

The Texas Tribune reports that on April 25, 2019, in an 18-12 vote, the Texas State Senate approved SB 2373, a bill that would hold social media platforms accountable for restricting users’ speech based on personal opinions.

SB 2373 was introduced by state Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola), who said the bill applies to social media platforms that advertise themselves as unbiased but still censor users. In the Senate State Affairs Committee hearing, Hughes said:

“Senate Bill 2373 tries to prevent those companies that control these new public spaces, this new public square, from picking winners and losers based on content. Basically if the company represents, ‘We’re an open forum and we don’t discriminate based on content,’ then they shouldn’t be able to discriminate based on content.”

CJ Grisham, the founder of Open Carry Texas, spoke at the hearing in support of the bill. He said Facebook has shut down 16 of the organization’s local groups and did not explain why. Grisham said Open Carry Texas is a conservative gun rights platform and is “routinely targeted” for pushing gun rights on Facebook.

Opponents to the bill maintain SB 2373 violates a federal law that protects social media platforms under a “good Samaritan” policy that allows them to moderate content on the platform however they want.

Harvard Law School lecturer Kendra Albert, who specializes in technology law, said the federal law would likely preempt SB 2373 because “The federal law contains what we would call a ‘subjective standard. It’s based on whether the provider thinks that this causes problems, whereas the Texas bill attempts to move it to an objective standard.” Albert said it would be difficult to determine what is “objectively” offensive, which is why the federal law leaves it up to social media platforms and their users to determine what is offensive. Sometimes there’s not a particular reason why content is removed; it’s flagged by an algorithm.

But Sen. Hughes, who’s an attorney, says he and several other lawyers had looked over the bill and agreed that SB 2373 wouldn’t contradict the federal law because the bill would apply the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Consumer Protection Act, which protects consumers from bad or misleading actions in the trade industry. Users on social media platforms who believe they are censored for their views would be able to file a consumer complaint with the Texas attorney general. The attorney general could then decide whether to bring a public case against that social media platform.

Texas isn’t the only state that is doing something about social media censorship. As an example, lawmakers in California filed a bill that would prohibit anyone who operates a social media site in the state from removing content from the site based on the political affiliation or viewpoint. But given the dominance of Demonrats in the California state legislature, that bill is unlikely to pass.

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5 thoughts on “Dr. Eowyn, Texas is Doing Something about Social Media Censorship of Conservatives”

  1. Now, we’re talkin’!!! (from J Stone’s site):

    Facebook’s co-founder speaks up…..

    Surprisingly, this was approved for publication by the New York Times. Hard to believe, considering that particular publication is an enemy of the American people. But they did at least put this up.

    “The last time I saw Mark Zuckerberg was in the summer of 2017, several months before the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke. We met at Facebook’s Menlo Park, Calif., office and drove to his house, in a quiet, leafy neighborhood. We spent an hour or two together while his toddler daughter cruised around. We talked politics mostly, a little about Facebook, a bit about our families. When the shadows grew long, I had to head out. I hugged his wife, Priscilla, and said goodbye to Mark.

    Since then, Mark’s personal reputation and the reputation of Facebook have taken a nose-dive. The company’s mistakes – the sloppy privacy practices that dropped tens of millions of users’ data into a political consulting firm’s lap; the slow response to Russian agents, violent rhetoric and fake news; and the unbounded drive to capture ever more of our time and attention – dominate the headlines. It’s been 15 years since I co-founded Facebook at Harvard, and I haven’t worked at the company in a decade. But I feel a sense of anger and responsibility.

    Mark is still the same person I watched hug his parents as they left our dorm’s common room at the beginning of our sophomore year. He is the same person who procrastinated studying for tests, fell in love with his future wife while in line for the bathroom at a party and slept on a mattress on the floor in a small apartment years after he could have afforded much more. In other words, he’s human. But it’s his very humanity that makes his unchecked power so problematic.

    Mark’s influence is staggering, far beyond that of anyone else in the private sector or in government. He controls three core communications platforms – Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp – that billions of people use every day. Facebook’s board works more like an advisory committee than an overseer, because Mark controls around 60 percent of voting shares. Mark alone can decide how to configure Facebook’s algorithms to determine what people see in their News Feeds, what privacy settings they can use and even which messages get delivered. He sets the rules for how to distinguish violent and incendiary speech from the merely offensive, and he can choose to shut down a competitor by acquiring, blocking or copying it.

    The government must hold Mark accountable. For too long, lawmakers have marveled at Facebook’s explosive growth and overlooked their responsibility to ensure that Americans are protected and markets are competitive. Any day now, the Federal Trade Commission is expected to impose a $5 billion fine on the company, but that is not enough; nor is Facebook’s offer to appoint some kind of privacy czar. After Mark’s congressional testimony last year, there should have been calls for him to truly reckon with his mistakes. Instead the legislators who questioned him were derided as too old and out of touch to understand how tech works. That’s the impression Mark wanted Americans to have, because it means little will change.

    We are a nation with a tradition of reining in monopolies, no matter how well intentioned the leaders of these companies may be. Mark’s power is unprecedented and un-American.

    IT’S TIME TO BREAK UP FACEBOOK!

    We already have the tools we need to check the domination of Facebook. We just seem to have forgotten about them.

    America was built on the idea that power should not be concentrated in any one person, because we are all fallible. That’s why the founders created a system of checks and balances. They didn’t need to foresee the rise of Facebook to understand the threat that gargantuan companies would pose to democracy. Jefferson and Madison were voracious readers of Adam Smith, who believed that monopolies prevent the competition that spurs innovation and leads to economic growth.

    A century later, in response to the rise of the oil, railroad and banking trusts of the Gilded Age, the Ohio Republican John Sherman said on the floor of Congress: “If we will not endure a king as a political power, we should not endure a king over the production, transportation and sale of any of the necessities of life. If we would not submit to an emperor, we should not submit to an autocrat of trade with power to prevent competition and to fix the price of any commodity.” The Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 outlawed monopolies. More legislation followed in the 20th century, creating legal and regulatory structures to promote competition and hold the biggest companies accountable. The Department of Justice broke up monopolies like Standard Oil and AT&T.

    For many people today, it’s hard to imagine government doing much of anything right, let alone breaking up a company like Facebook. This isn’t by coincidence.

    Starting in the 1970s, a small but dedicated group of economists, lawyers and policymakers sowed the seeds of our cynicism. Over the next 40 years, they financed a network of think tanks, journals, social clubs, academic centers and media outlets to teach an emerging generation that private interests should take precedence over public ones. Their gospel was simple: “Free” markets are dynamic and productive, while government is bureaucratic and ineffective. By the mid-1980s, they had largely managed to relegate energetic antitrust enforcement to the history books.

    This shift, combined with business-friendly tax and regulatory policy, ushered in a period of mergers and acquisitions that created megacorporations. In the past 20 years, more than 75 percent of American industries, from airlines to pharmaceuticals, have experienced increased concentration, and the average size of public companies has tripled. The results are a decline in entrepreneurship, stalled productivity growth, and higher prices and fewer choices for consumers.

    The same thing is happening in social media and digital communications. Because Facebook so dominates social networking, it faces no market-based accountability. This means that every time Facebook messes up, we repeat an exhausting pattern: first outrage, then disappointment and, finally, resignation.

    This writing is literally a book in length, The rest is here. bottom line: If the government does not find a way to sideline Suckerberg, the nation is DOOMED. And that’s coming from someone who knows Zukerberg personally.

  2. The latest from Mike Adams (Natural News) via Zero Hedge…..and here’s a teaser:

    We have now reached the point of total insanity when it comes to extreme censorship by the tech giants. In what actor Rob Schneider calls a “real world Orwellian nightmare,” Facebook has now issued a gag order on 2.2 billion users, demanding that they must HATE certain selected individuals who are named as targets of censorship.

    https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-05-08/facebook-now-demands-you-hate-targeted-people-or-you-will-be-banned-too

  3. America hater Obama invited the FaceBook executives to the Oval Office many times. He loved what they were doing and encouraged them to get tough with people who opposed him.

    What we are experiencing is exactly what he wanted.

  4. I use no social media whatsoever. Bring the bastardz to their knees and do the same.
    Believe me, YOU can live without social media. IF you continue to use them, don’t blame them…blame yourself.
    That may sound harsh, especially in today’s ‘connected’ world. But it’s no different than any other product. Don’t like it, don’t use it. Find an alternative. Free enterprise is just that..free enterprise…and YOU are free not to use it or buy it.

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