By now we’re all familiar with the ways liberal, technocratic wingnuts at Oogle, Faceblock, SpewTube, and Tweaker operate. They start with a belief that anyone who disagrees with their political perspective is in some way hateful or bigoted. They craft vague terms of service so that anything they don’t like can be classified as a violation of those terms.
When an individual user makes a complaint about a post espousing political views that people like Mark Zuckerberg disagree with, then that person will have their content removed, their access restricted, or their posts sequestered. In extreme cases, where all of the major media companies are lagging behind in popularity, they will simply ban the account. Alex Jones and Info Wars is the most famous example, but many channels critical of mainstream views have been shut down without explanation.
Now, an engineer at Facebook has come forward to discuss the “political monoculture” that exists at FB HQ. Last week, Brian Amerige, sent the following internal memo to his fellow Facebook employees;
“These problems can be solved — just not by me, not anymore, at least. I care too deeply about our role in supporting free expression and intellectual diversity to even whole-heartedly attempt the product stuff anymore, and that’s how I know it’s time to go.”
He went on to say that he’s starting his own media company which he describes as existing, “on the intersection of applied philosophy and technology.”
Two months ago, Amerige came under scrutiny for a memo in which he denounced the intolerant culture in Silicon Valley. It read, “We are a political monoculture that’s intolerant of different views … we claim to welcome all perspectives, but are quick to attack — often in mobs — anyone who presents a view that appears to be in opposition to left-leaning ideology.”
This memo inspired a Facebook group entitled, “FB’ers for Political Diversity.” It is made up of hundreds of conservative FB employees who decided that they needed to take a stand and support the only kind of diversity that truly anti-racist people respect- diversity of thought and opinion.
Another former Facebook employee said the following to Business Insider recently, “There have also previously been some incidents in which Facebook employees have refused to work with or talk to certain colleagues because of their political beliefs.”
Amerige told interviewers that he has decided it’s time for him to move on.
“I am leaving because I’m completely burnt out on Facebook, its strategy, its culture, and its product. We’ve taken a strategic stance on how to balance offensive speech with free expression. We’ve embraced the inevitability of government based regulation. And we’ve chosen not to defend ourselves in the news media. Our policy is pragmatism — not principles. Our PR strategy is appeasement — not ethics or morality.”
What’s interesting about Amerige’s comments is they seem to denote, not a conspiracy within Facebook to censor conservative thought- but to appease forces within the government. He seems to suggest that it is some entity or network working within the federal government that is pushing the social media company to censor conservative views.
He continued, “I remain in love with our mission and good intentions. But I disagree with the direction we’re heading in on these issues. These issues hang over my head. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life fighting over them.”
At present, federal regulations controlling the behavior of social networking sites are limited. They are regarded as private companies who have the right to offer and restrict services as they see fit. At the same time, many are calling on Uncle Sam to impose rules that forbid companies like Facebook for hindering the ability of conservatives to express themselves on the platform.
Until such regulations exist, massive concerted shutdowns across multiple platforms such as what Alex Jones suffered, can happen to anyone at any time with no recourse. But do we really want the bureaucratic hand of government taking control of our digital public square?
If Facebook and companies like it are not shutting down conservatives because they want to but because of pressure from the “deep state,” then government regulation could be the worst thing possible for free speech. We could find that any regulations would be weighted down with unwieldy language that can be loosely interpreted to deliver whatever result a censorious interpreter sees fit.
We already know Google works closely with intelligence agencies. Amerige’s resignation letter may have given us a glimpse into a social media company that has come under the power of entities whose mission is weaponized thought control.