National Review: The Social-Media Panic

I am saddened by the effort to silence voices online. We were supposed to be better than this.

(From The National Review)

Make no mistake: 2016 will never happen again.” Historians are not always reliable predictors of the future, but Niall Ferguson’s analysis of how Silicon Valley and the center-Left would react to the successive and surprise victories of Brexit and Donald Trump is proving correct. Conservatives and populists will not be allowed to use the same tools as Democrats and liberals again, or at least not use them effectively.

Silicon Valley is working with its media and governmental critics to limit the damage to the center-Left going forward. You can see the dynamic in the way that the media generates a moral panic out of stories about how Brexit and the Trump election happened, and the way Silicon Valley responds. Fake news becomes a problem, and Silicon Valley responds by hiring progressive journalists as censors. I mean “fact-checkers.” You can see it in the demonetization of YouTube videos. Or in the new sets of regulation being imposed in European countries that deputize the social-media networks themselves as an all seeing social censor

…At the macro level, mass broadcast media was a boon to the Left and center-Left. It allowed a new class of people to shape public opinion as never before. But the appearance of social media represented the return of the repressed. It allowed common conservatives and populists to broadcast their own views, and in some sense legitimate them within their social circle. The efforts to criminalize conservative groups who use social media, and legally suppress citizens’ openly sharing unapproved views, are an attempt to put the new class filter back on.

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