Can Internet Oligarchs Tilt the Playing Field to the Left?

Can Internet Oligarchs Tilt the Playing Field to the Left? By John Hinderaker.

In January 2005, I participated in a conference at Harvard’s Kennedy School on new media. … At one point, another participant who was also a conservative took me aside and expressed concern about the fact that the infrastructure of the internet was controlled by leftists. Google, Wikipedia — I don’t remember who else he had in mind; Facebook and Twitter were still in the future at that point.

He was convinced that the Left would use its control over central internet resources to try to control political discourse. I recognized the danger but didn’t know what we could do about it. In any event, the day that guy predicted is now at hand.

One could multiply examples endlessly, but here are a few: …

  • The CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, labeled a “great read” an article that calls for the utter destruction of conservatism.
  • Meanwhile, Twitter has been credibly accused of countless instances of discrimination against conservatives, most recently “shadow banning” [US Senator] Ted Cruz, which means making his tweets invisible to most of his followers. …
  • Facebook has undertaken to stop “the spread of false news” and “false narratives” (!) in time for the midterm elections. They are doing this by empowering “fact checkers” who are almost monolithically liberal.

One could go on and on, but I don’t think there is any serious doubt that much of the infrastructure of the internet is controlled by leftists, and they are putting their thumbs on the scale in favor of left-wing policies and candidates. The question is, what to do about it?

Conservatives could boycott Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, but that would bring about exactly the result that liberals want — an absence of conservative voices from the most-used modes of communication. Conservatives could try to start their own competing services, but network effects guarantee that such efforts would by difficult at best, and probably impossible. …

Some advocate antitrust action against Google, Facebook, and so on. But on what grounds? Monopolization, presumably, but the trouble with these companies is not that they have used improper means to gain or perpetuate market dominance, but rather that they are misusing their market dominance to further their collateral political goals. …

In the meantime, tedious though the task is, it makes sense to continue exposing the leftward bias of the internet’s key players.