Conservatives charge social media ‘menace’ goes far beyond Alex Jones

by WorldTribune Staff, August 22, 2018

“It appears that Google, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter have all gone to war with President Trump, and are punishing anyone who dares to speak up for him,” columnist Doug Wead wrote for The Federalist on Aug. 17.

Wead noted that new membership on his Facebook page “stopped dead,” and his best YouTube videos “cannot be found” … “All because I posted videos of myself going on Fox News.”

Wead, a New York Times-bestselling author and special assistant to the president in the George H.W. Bush administration, said the “troubles began” after he purchased an ad promoting his appearance on Fox News. The ad was blocked for “hate speech.”

Google told Wead that his ad was not blocked due to the content of the interview, but because in the “crawler of words along the bottom of the video” was a quote from President Donald Trump declaring that the Robert Mueller investigation was a “witch hunt.”

“This was apparently hate speech,” Wead wrote.

Wead said he agreed not to “promote this Trump-contaminated video again, and they would restore my account. That was one year ago, June 2017. All this time I have kept my promise, but it has apparently gotten me nothing.”

In January of this year, Wead said his channel “was hit by shadow-banning. Sometime that month, Google allegedly hired thousands of outside actors supplied by the infamous Southern Poverty Law Center. They were apparently the new arbiters of decency.”

Wead said, that point, is videos on YouTube “got hammered. But only my pro-Trump material. My interviews defending the Obama children or talking up Chelsea Clinton’s wedding went untouched.”

A viral YouTube interview with Wead and Fox Anchor Neil Cavuto about why Hillary Clinton lost the election “was penalized. The video had more than 861,000 views and was earning an average of 15,000 views a day when it suddenly went dark. On February 17, after the new censorship took hold, this video dropped to 50 views a day. That is where it has stayed ever since.”

Likewise, Wead noted, “a viral YouTube interview with me and ‘Fox and Friends’ co-host Brian Kilmeade about the election, a video that had 961,000 views and was clicking off 20,000 views a day, suddenly dropped to 30. It all happened in one day. And it has stayed there ever since.”

Wead said he then “checked out Cavuto on YouTube and found a long list of anti-Trump titles on his search engine results pages: ‘Cavuto says Trump should stop blaming predecessors.’ ‘Cavuto responds to backlash to his Trump criticism.’ ‘Cavuto: Is Trump giving the media very real ammunition?’ ‘That’s your stink Mr. President.’ ”

But, Wead noted, “you will have to scroll deep into YouTube to find anything positive about Trump from Cavuto. Google hides those videos. You can go 300 videos deep and still not find the interview with me that has the second-most views of any Cavuto video. You will pass videos with 22 views and many that are nine years old. I have been censored out of the Cavuto stream.”

James S. Robbins, a former senior editorial writer for The Washington Times, wrote in an Aug. 22 column for USA Today that while most reporting on social media’s censoring of conservatives focuses on Alex Jones “the censorship drive goes well beyond Infowars.”

Google also heavily cracked down Dennis Prager and his Prager University videos, “and when Prager went to court over it, Facebook piled on and reduced the reach among his 3 million followers to zero,” Robbins wrote. “And a confidential memo by Media Matters from 2017 detailing how major social media platforms can collude to eliminate ‘right-wing propaganda’ and ‘fake news’ was recently exposed.”

“Private companies can become a public menace,” he continued. “It is becoming clearer that these social media platforms are having a corrosive effect on public debate and expression generally.”

A recent report claims that a Chicago pastor saw his podcast drop from the top 25 in iTunes to less than 200 only 24 hours after posting a Facebook message “to pray for Donald Trump.”

Wead also noted that a source he interviewed “found his business shadow-banned on Facebook after he expressed pro-Trump sentiments. He went through three businesses and thousands of dollars before finally realizing what was happening. He has since changed his online identity, IP address, and bank accounts, and after months of scrubbing he is up and running again. But of course, this time he will keep his mouth shut.”

Wead asked: “Is this the end of free speech? Or will Americans have the courage to break up an abusive monopoly? Will there be some neutral replacement for YouTube? An Internet version of Fox News, where both sides of an issue can be discussed? None of that will happen anytime soon, and probably not in time for the next presidential election.

“We have entered the twilight of the American version of the Soviet Union. You can think what you want, but don’t you dare say it out loud, even to your children. Someone may hear it and quote you online.”

For conservatives, Robbins wrote, “the answer is to tune out. There are social media alternatives, and there is nothing that is stopping people from developing their own networks if they want. It is a fantastic business opportunity. Facebook, Twitter and other such platforms are 100 percent dependent on the users who voluntarily provide information to them. The algorithms that increasingly control your life are your fault. And if people stopped using these services, they would go away.”

Robbins then invited readers to “try to share this article on Facebook” before noting that “It has probably already been banned.”

View Wead’s full column here

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