The Kyle Rittenhouse trial has brought out just the latest in a continuing, epic series of examples of how Big Tech is grossly skewed to the left, and how they use their power and influence to push the political narrative embraced by their corporate owners. For example, though Twitter posts abound calling Rittenhouse a murderer, a cold-blooded assassin, and wishing death upon him, this (admittedly hyperbolic and bizarre) take earns censure:
But, of course, no one needed this Kenosha trial to know that Twitter and friends are anything but level playing fields for conservatives. Despite having spent years using Google searches, I’ve recently had to kick the habit and migrate routinely to DuckDuckGo because the former manipulates returns to skew towards left-wing sources. Many times, on a given subject, I would have to skip to the fourth or fifth page of results before I would find anything remotely resembling a conservative take.
And all of this is done with no compunction or reservation by progressive tech lords. They likely see it as their civic duty, like this New York Times opinion that asserts a need to silence online conservative views when it comes to a serious issue like “climate change.”
The silencing of opinion even goes to simple “likes” and “dislikes” of posts. Google-owned YouTube has recently announced its decision to hide dislikes on videos to “discourage trolling,” conspicuously timed to the cultural moment where clips advocating now-debunked COVID mitigation approaches from supposed experts are facing increasing censure from the population.
It can all be quite frustrating not just for conservative voices, but for anyone who values the open exchange of ideas. Please note that I’m avoiding calling these left-wing shenanigans an infringement of free speech. Constitutional prohibitions against banning unpopular or disfavored speech are directed towards the government. Private companies have different rules, and that’s why hearing small-government conservatives recommend using government power to “break up” these tech companies concerns me. I think there’s a better way.
In fact, here are three things I think conservatives should embrace in dealing with the progressive stranglehold on Big Tech.
1. Where possible, create alternatives. The emphasis there should be on create.
Though people generally enjoy mocking Parler’s 15 seconds of fame, or MeWe’s recently attempted Facebook face-off, the internet remains wide open for innovation and creativity. That means while carbon-copy substitutes for the giants are likely to look like cheap imitations, there’s nothing saying the next platform that breaks the mold has to be controlled by power-hungry progressives.
Is there a way to beat the big social media giants using their own formula and format? Anything is possible. But for every example of conservatives beating liberals at their own game (like what The Babylon Bee did to The Onion), there are hundreds of examples of those efforts falling flat. There’s nothing written in stone that requires conservatives to use the same model and game plan as liberals, and we’re likely to be most effective when we don’t.
2. Keep it in perspective.
Social media, while increasingly dangerous in terms of stoking outrage and facilitating cyber-bullying, represents a very small segment of the population. There are many other avenues that speak to far greater numbers that are extremely effective in communicating your message to the masses – including the far more persuasive person-to-person conversation.
3. Stop thinking of social media outlets and Big Tech in general as a neutral battleground. Instead use them and shame them.
It will drive you nuts if you, as a conservative, hold an expectation to be treated equally on Twitter. Know that it’s not going to happen, but choose to use it to your advantage.
To the degree that liberals let you play on their field, shrewdly use it against them. Multiple conservative accounts boast millions of followers. There are plenty of voices saying the right things on a platform whose owners believe the wrong things. If the enemy is going to let you use their roads to carry your supplies, don’t whine when they block a couple of interstates along the way.
And when they do, to the degree that they mistreat you, or don’t play fairly, shame them. It’s now conventional wisdom that academia is overrun with leftists. That public knowledge weakens any claim that those institutions promote objective knowledge and pursue truth. It’s now conventional wisdom that the entertainment industry is overrun with leftists. That public knowledge costs them credibility when members of that community opine on cultural issues. It’s now conventional wisdom that media is overrun with leftists. That public knowledge damages their claims of objectivity to the point that they have become one of the least trusted institutions in America.
Conservatives can neuter the influence of Big Tech in much the same way by making it conventional wisdom that Big Tech is overrun with leftists. In some ways, that’s already happening: