New Foils for the Right: Google and Facebook

New Foils for the Right: Google and Facebook, by Michael Grynbaum in the NYT.

Conservatives are zeroing in on a new enemy in the political culture wars: Big Tech.

Arguing that Silicon Valley is stifling their speech and suppressing right-wing content, publishers and provocateurs on the right are eyeing a public-relations battle against online giants like Google and Facebook, the same platforms they once relied on to build a national movement. …

If the mainstream media is a perennial enemy of the right, Big Tech is a fresh and novel foe, arguably more relevant to 2018. Facebook, Google and their ilk are facing tough questions about their inability to police the content they distribute, including Russian propaganda during the 2016 presidential campaign. The companies have also been accused by lawmakers, critics and activists of monopolistic tendencies and manipulative product design.

The critique from conservatives, in contrast, casts the big tech companies as censorious and oppressive, all too eager to stifle right-wing content in an effort to mollify liberal critics.

This could end up being the free speech issue of our time,” said Alex Marlow, editor in chief of Breitbart News, which has published articles accusing Google and Facebook of, among other sins, political bias. “The Silicon Valley elites are saying: ‘We don’t care what you want to see — we know what you should see. We know better.’” …

Google, Facebook and Twitter loomed large at last month’s Conservative Political Action Conference in Oxon Hill, Md., where dozens of guests squeezed into a standing-room-only ballroom for a discussion called “Suppression of Conservative Views on Social Media: A First Amendment Issue.” …

Former President Barack Obama said at an off-the-record conference at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology last month that he worried Americans were living in “entirely different realities” and that large tech companies like Facebook were “not just an invisible platform, they’re shaping our culture in powerful ways.”