Erasing history, being spiteful and a danger to free societies
Culturally significant information is being lost
The shifting sands of corporate opinion have created a minefield that independent thinkers need to navigate to avoid being ‘cancelled’
Non-conformist views have come under particular attack
The Enlightenment tradition of rational debate and scientific enquiry is being increasingly marginalised
Free speech advocates have traditionally battled government censorship. But corporate censorship by the global Big Tech behemoths is now the larger threat, a paper published today by the Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF) warns.
In Big Bad Tech: When censorship goes corporate, Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise shows that Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube aren’t just distorting current political discourse. They are erasing history.
Records of what ordinary people said and thought at specific historical moments are priceless. Archives and libraries go to great trouble to preserve them. When YouTube deletes videos for violating its ever-changing policies, the historical record becomes like Swiss cheese – full of holes.
When Facebook obliterates 350,000-strong groups discussing current events everyone, including scholars, lose access to massive amounts of culturally significant information.
Laframboise, a former vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, says tech behemoths aren’t simply private companies:
“By hosting public forums in which thousands of people participate, these corporations have become the custodians of important historical records. They have a moral obligation to preserve these records. Instead, they’re wiping them off the face of the planet.”
“Big Tech is like an abusive spouse,” says Laframboise. “It changes the locks, burns your stuff in a bonfire, and asks what you’re going to do about it.”
“Big Tech censorship isn’t random,” adds Dr. Benny Peiser, GWPF director. “This report shows that non-conformist thought about climate change and many other matters is being systematically stifled.”
“Western societies are at serious risk of returning to the censorship culture of Europe’s Dark Ages and are rapidly losing their hard-earned freedoms.”
Big Bad Tech: When censorship goes corporate (pdf)