In the aftermath of President Trump’s tweet that targeted such “big tech” web sites and social media platforms as Google, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and the controversy that swirled around it, it appears that former White House advisor Steve Bannon has weighed in with his views.
On Wednesday, Trump tweeted suggested that Google had promoted President Obama’s State of the Union addresses, but not his. “#StopTheBias,” Trump tweeted.
A Google spokesperson responded: “On January 30 2018, we highlighted the livestream of President Trump’s State of the Union on the google.com homepage. We have historically not promoted the first address to Congress by a new president, which is technically not a State of the Union address. As a result, we didn’t include a promotion on google.com for this address in either 2009 or 2017.”
According to a CNN report, Bannon has raised the issue of whether free speech is being intentionally stifled by the big tech giants in a premeditated plan to silence politically conservative voices.
Bannon agreed with Trump’s aggressive posture on calling for accountability from the big tech titans. Speaking to CNN’s Oliver Darcy, Bannon said that he would like to see government institute new regulations that would allow them to gain access to private information about precisely how the algorithm method is manufactured and who is behind the tendentious climate that exists on these platforms. Bannon added that for the good of the public and for the protection of fist amendments rights that the data received from the big tech sites should be placed in a public trust.
Specifically, Bannon said, “I think you take the data away from the companies. All that data they have is put in a public trust. They can use it. And people can opt in and opt out. That trust is run by an independent board of directors. It just can’t be that [Big Tech is] the sole proprietors of this data…I think this is a public good.” Bannon added that Big Tech companies “have to be broken up” just like Teddy Roosevelt broke up the trusts.”
CNN reported that Bannon attacked the executives of Facebook, Twitter and Google. “These are run by sociopaths,” he said. “These people are complete narcissists. These people ought to be controlled, they ought to be regulated.” He added, “These people are evil. There is no doubt about that.”
Bannon said he thinks “this is going to be a massive issue” in future elections, according to the CNN report. He said he thinks that in 2020 it will become a major campaign issue, explaining, “I think by the time 2020 comes along, this will be a burning issue. I think this will be one of the biggest domestic issues.” Bannon said the “#MeToo movement has brought the issue of consent front and center” and argued that “this is going to bring the issue of digital consent front and center.”
On several previous occasions the Jewish Voice has voiced its outrage over the fact that its Facebook page has also been targeted by the liberal staff that oversees content at the social media platform.
David Ben Hooren, the publisher of the Jewish Voice said that the newspaper’s numbers in terms of “likes” and viewer participation has been significantly and intentionally altered for the worse.
To illustrate his point, Ben Hooren said, “Throughout the months of February, March and April of this year, our “like” clicks went down by 250. We have lost 100 likes and we have seen no gain. It is very clear to me that our page is being manipulated and targeted by those at Facebook who do not want us to succeed as a legitimate news portal.”
Ben Hooren added that, “back in January we had 1000 people join our Facebook page. For quite some time we had 10,000 people per engagement on Facebook and now we have 1000. We know that there are outside forces who are attempting to place infringements on our constitutional right of free speech.”
In a previously published article in the Jewish Voice about Facebook’s enigmatic algorithm protocol and the behind-the-scenes machinations, it said that Breitbart news recently reported on how the engagement on Trump’s Facebook posts have dropped 45% in recent months. Since January, response to Trump’s posts have dropped from close to 5 million a post to under 3 million and Trump is not posting less.
In January, Facebook introduced a major change to its newsfeed algorithm. In a post, CEO Mark Zuckerberg claimed that the change aimed to give greater emphasis to posts from “friends, family and groups” and less to “businesses, brands and media.” The change was followed by a promise to promote what Facebook calls “broadly trusted” news sources on the platform, Breitbart reported.
The Jewish Voice article made a noteworthy observation: “What is most interesting about the recent Breitbart piece is that they determined the Facebook engagements of left leaning political figures like Bernie Sanders & Elizabeth Warren has remained the same. This surely gives credence to the notion that the social media giants are censoring conservatives. If they are using an algorithm to limit exposure of the president, I think it is safe to say they can do it to anyone, and they are.”
Although claims have been made for several years by a cornucopia of politically conservative organizations and individuals that the liberal and politically left leaning staff at Facebook have been doling out biased treatment, the growing list of grievances now seems to be granted a degree of gravitas. Reports indicate that Facebook has conceded that it committed errors in moderating the seemingly infinite amount of content that gets funneled through its platform.
“It’s clear now that we didn’t do enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm as well, and that goes for fake news, foreign interference in elections, and hate speech, as well as developers and data privacy,” Zuckerberg said. “We didn’t take a broad enough view of our responsibility, and that was a big mistake—and it was my mistake and I’m sorry.”
“There are a great many Americans who I think are deeply concerned that Facebook and other tech companies are engaged in a pervasive pattern of bias and political censorship,” said Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.