FreeSpeech and Censorship: Thread

grarpamp grarpamp at
Thu May 20 01:43:03 PDT 2021

Controlling the internet

Day two of the conference focused more on the coronavirus and the
threat to democracies posed by fake news and disinformation online. In
one panel titled “Regulating Social Media and Protecting the Public
>From Harm,” participants discussed how the U.S. and Europe could come
together to formulate a united approach to controlling digital
communications. The discussion was particularly notable because
panelists included Michael Chertoff, co-author of the PATRIOT Act,
which stripped Americans citizens of a wide range of rights under the
guise of national security and fighting terrorism. Also on the panel
were two British conservative members of parliament, an advisor to the
executive vice president of digital affairs for the European
Commission, and a member of Facebook’s oversight board, the body that
regulates what the platform’s 2.6 billion people see in their news
feeds. These individuals are so influential that their opinions and
decisions could well affect virtually the entire world.

Together, they agreed that more cooperation between big tech and big
government was necessary in order to reduce the amount of false
information and harmful content online. This in itself is little new:
in 2018 Facebook announced that it had partnered with the Atlantic
Council’s Digital Forensics Lab to help regulate and curate its
newsfeeds, effectively giving up partial control to the NATO-aligned
organization. It also hired a former NATO press officer as its
intelligence chief earlier this year.

The AoD conference pushed an agenda encouraging even more cooperation
between tech and media

Other big social media companies like Reddit have similar ties to the
military alliance. When organizations like the Atlantic Council, whose
board features no fewer than seven former CIA directors, control what
the world sees and reads online, it becomes difficult to see where the
fourth estate ends and the deep state begins. Perhaps unsurprisingly,
given that the entire conference was sponsored by Facebook and Google,
there was little talk of breaking up or nationalizing these online

While very few people actually watched any of these events (the
livestream rarely had more than 30 viewers at any time), that does not
mean it was not important. The lineup of presidents, generals and CEOs
makes it clear that what was stated is effectively the collective view
of the world’s elite and a window into their thinking and the debates
they are having. What they decide will affect all of us, whether we
realize it or not.

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