(Via The Guardian)
When Jonathan Taplin’s book Move Fast and Break Things, which dealt with the worrying rise of big tech, was first published in the UK in April 2017, his publishers removed its subtitle because they didn’t think it was supported by evidence: “How Facebook, Google and Amazon cornered culture and undermined democracy.”
When the paperback edition comes out early next year, that subtitle will be restored.
“It’s been a sea change in just six months,” Taplin said. “Before that, people were kind of asleep.”
In the last year, barely a day has gone by without a scandal placing technology companies in the spotlight, whether for sexual harassment, livestreamed murder, Russian influence operations or terrorist propaganda.
Tech’s annus horribilis started with calls to #DeleteUber, but the way things are going it will end with calls to delete the entire internet.
“2017 has definitely been a year when tech has found there is a target painted on its back,” said Om Malik, a venture capitalist. “The big companies have been so obsessed with growth that there’s been a lack of social responsibility. Now the chickens are coming home to roost.”
The surprise election of Donald Trump acted as a catalyst for scrutiny of the platforms that shape so much of our online experience. Even so, it’s taken many months for the enormity of their role to sink in.
Perhaps the biggest wake-up call has been the showdown in Washington. Congress summoned representatives from Facebook, Twitter and Google to testify over their role in a multi-pronged Russian operation to influence the 2016 presidential election. All three companies admitted that Russian entities bought ads on their sites in an attempt to skew the vote.
In Facebook’s case, fake accounts pushed divisive messages in swing states; Google found similar activity across its paid search tool and YouTube; and on Twitter, armies of bots and fake users promoted fake news stories that were favourable to Donald Trump. Similar patterns were identified around the Brexit vote.
“The election shows the stakes involved here,” said Noam Cohen, author of The Know-It-Alls: The Rise of Silicon Valley as a Political Powerhouse and Social Wrecking Ball. “In the past, to be a critic of Silicon Valley was to say the smartphone is making us dumb. Now it’s incompatible with democracy.”
It’s not been the only example of technology companies monetising and distributing unpalatable content and acting surprised when it’s uncovered.
In March, the Times of London revealed that YouTube had paid, via an advertising revenue share, Islamic extremists to peddle hate speech, leading to a boycott from many major advertisers. A second boycott started this month after brands discovered that their ads were appearing alongside content being exploited by paedophiles.
In May, the Guardian’s investigation into Facebook’s content moderation policies revealed that the social network flouted Holocaust denial laws except where it feared being sued. Four months later, Pro Publica discovered that Facebook’s ad tools could be used to target “Jew haters”.
Facebook’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, later said she was “disgusted” and “disappointed that our systems allowed this”.
Taplin finds the technology companies’ standard response of “Oops, we’ll fix this” frustrating and disingenuous.
“Come on! What were you thinking?” he said. “If I can target women who drink bourbon in Tennessee who like trucks, then of course I could use it for dark purposes.”
The deepening pockets and growing influence of companies like Facebook, Amazon, Google and Apple has raised concerns that they have become Goliaths, threatening the innovation Silicon Valley was once known for.
You only have to look at Snap to see what happens when you nip at the heels of a tech titan like Facebook: first, it makes an offer to buy you – a strategy that worked with Instagram and WhatsApp – and, if that fails, it eliminates you.
In Snap’s case, this meant watching Facebook clone all of Snapchat’s features – awkwardly at first, but relentlessly until Snapchat’s potential slice of the advertising market shriveled to a sliver.
“[The Snap CEO] Evan Spiegel is having his hat handed to him,” Taplin said, noting how Snap’s stock had plummeted since the company went public in March.
As power consolidates into the hands of a few, the best a startup can hope for is to be bought by one of the tech giants. This, in turn, leads to further consolidation.
So the five largest tech companies – desperate to avoid the kind of antitrust regulation that disrupted IBM and Microsoft’s dominance – are flooding Washington with lobbyists, to the point where they now outspend Wall Street two to one.
“Regulation is coming,” said Malik. “We have got to prepare for that. Everybody has figured out that we are the enemy number one now because we are rich and all the politicians smell blood.”
It doesn’t help that there’s a rising number of former Silicon Valley engineers and business leaders who have morphed into tech dissenters, complaining about the addictive properties of the platforms and call for people – particularly children – to unplug.
In November, Facebook’s founding president, Sean Parker, said the social network knew from the outset it was creating something addictive, something that exploited “a vulnerability in human psychology” – a damning critique somewhat undermined by the fact that it was being delivered from the top of an enormous money pile generated by that exploitation.
The vast wealth on display in Silicon Valley – in the private commuter buses, sprawling campuses and luxury condos – does little to endear the companies and their employees to the rest of the world. Like it or not, tech workers have become the shining beacons of prosperity and elitism, shining a bit too brightly at a time of increasing income inequality.
The fact that $700 internet-connected juicers can raise $120m in funding before folding adds to the sense that Silicon Valley has lost its grip on reality.
“Silicon Valley at its core wants to solve problems. I just think we’ve lost touch with the types of problems that actual people need solving,” said Ankur Jain, who set up Kairos Society to encourage more entrepreneurs to solve problems where everyday people are being financially squeezed, such as housing, student loans and job retraining in the face of automation.
“People are so removed from the rest of the ecosystem in Silicon Valley that these problems feel more like charity issues rather than issues that affect the vast majority of the population,” Jain said.
For Malik, many of the problems stem from the fact that Silicon Valley companies have remained “wilfully ignorant” of the fact that “at the end of every data point there is a human being”.
All the problems to have arisen over the last year are particularly jarring given the tech companies’ continued insistence that they are doing good for the world.
“It’s a form of gaslighting to have these companies doing so many harmful things telling you how great they are and how much they are helping you. It’s another form of abuse,” Cohen said.
Malik agreed. “Silicon Valley is very good at using words like empathy and social responsibility as marketing buzzwords, but they are terms that we need to internalise as an industry and show through our actions by building the right things,” he said. “Otherwise it’s all bullshit.”
Should the media and politicians be held responsible for fraudulent hydroxychloroquine reports?
Saying a drug that clearly works, doesn’t work is Trump Derangement Syndrome beyond comprehension.
The Lancet Study on Hydroxychloroquine was fraught with errors and incomplete data. It was thrown together to let the world know that hydroxychloroquine doesn’t work. Well that study was retracted. A Henry Ford Health System study found the drug helped patients with COVID-19. Just as the president was saying. Trump mentioned HCQ and the collective mainstream media went into overdrive to prove him wrong. And once again Trump accused of lie of the century turns out to be right. He was clearly right in the beginning. The media said the drug could cause harm if not used correctly. That could also be said about aspirin or any drug.
Taking this derangement one step further was governors making it hard to get HCQ and banning it in some places from use. Now we know in hindsight the drug works and these politicians and media companies as CNN are libel for deaths of Coronavirus patients that died when a life saving drug was readily available in stockpile. Also the governors sending the elderly with COVID-19 into nursing homes with the most vulnerable also caused many unnecessary deaths. Weren’t we told we had to save our grandparents? If we loved them don’t visit them to be safe? So why would governors send COVID-19 patients to nursing homes when they (New York) mainly was provided thousands of empty hospital beds on the navy ship and the convention center?
I have been following these people long enough to know these things are not an accident. Germany and Israel sent the United States millions of tablets of HCQ. They were at the ready and cheap. It’s been used for malaria since the 1960’s so the side effects have been tested, it is safe. Boris Johnson, British Prime Minister was saved with HCQ. Thousands around the world have been saved with this drug. So we must ask the question when will the media and politicians be dragged into a court of law for their negligent reckless reporting?
By Michael Ameer
Margaret Sanger, Planned Parenthood & The racists Democrats Part #3
How can a party so entrenched in political correctness and against racism openly support Planned Parenthood founded by a raging racist?
Quotes of Margaret Sanger:
“The most merciful thing that a family does to one of it’s infant members is to kill it.”
“A free race cannot be born to slave mothers.”
“The most successful approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don’t want the word to get out that we want to exterminate the Negro population.”
“Birth control must lead ultimately to a cleaner race.” Remember when Joe Biden referred to Barack Obama as clean and articulate?
“….such a plan (The Negro Project) would reduce the birth rate among the diseased, the sickly, the poverty stricken and anti-social classes, elements unable to provide for themselves, and a burden of which we are all forced to carry.”
Sanger felt the Negro was genetically inferior. Sanger charmed the Black community’s most distinguished leaders into accepting her plan, which was designed to their own detriment. “Ironically abortion has done what the Klan could only dream of. Roughly 1/4 of the Black population is now missing.” Alveda King, niece to the Rev. Dr. martin Luther King. Almost 80% of all Planned Parenthood clinics are in minority neighborhoods. The most dangerous place for an African-American is in the womb.
This is the playbook of the Democrats, get the Black population to back something that is design to their detriment. Blacks have been so indoctrinated that they cannot see this. The left plays the emotional game of racism and stoking the flames of a race war to keep the black vote firmly in it’s pocket. Margaret Sanger persuaded the black community to feel good about killing it’s own future.
“I admire Margaret Sanger enormously….I am really in awe of her.” said, Hillary Clinton. Clinton was also a firm supporter and fan of the late Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia, former Ku Klux Klan recruiter. How does the left get away with blaming everyone for every form of racism in our history then openly embrace known racists in public and no one bats an eye? Margaret Sanger was an advocate of Eugenics of building a pure race and that made her a favorite of the Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan. She gave many speeches to these groups on her philosophy and theory of a clean race. Planned Parenthood still bares the name of it’s racist founder and lauded by Blacks all over. They are running around in their pink pussy hats giving life to an organization that was made to bring death to their own people.
Please research Margaret Sanger and The Negro project.
By Michael Ameer
The bone chilling fear of a Trump rally.
Why is the left so petrified of Trump rallies?
In poker there is a thing called a tell. This is where your body language gives away your cards. The Democrats biggest tell is relentlessly trying to stop a Trump rally at all costs. One thing I have learned about the left is they will try to stop anything they are fearful of. They do it out in the open. This is their tell. They have vigorously tried to shutdown Trump on Twitter and social media. Trump has 186 million followers on combined social media. He is very powerful. He has almost half the population of America on his social media with whom he can directly communicate without the faulty corrupt filter of the media. They hate not being able to shape that messaging. The media lies, then Trump can refute instantaneously to his massive following. A reporter asked Trump since he is complaining about conservative censorship on social media like twitter, has he ever thought of deleting his account? Trump said yes of course he has. Paraphrasing Trump, if I had an honest news media I wouldn’t need social media! BOOM!
The rallies are also direct contact with the people, 25% of which are registered Democrats. This is another sore spot for the left. Democrats are walking away from the party in record numbers. The Dems have adopted identity politics which makes it almost impossible to keep middle American White working class voters. So now the chase is on for illegals to fill that voter loss. They are also hurting in losing the Black vote and voter apathy of those loyal Black supporters sitting at home on election day. A new Rasmussen poll had Trump Black approval at 41%. If he gets anywhere near that in Black voter support in the election the Democrats are done. Many Democrats voted for Trump. This is a fact the media steers clear of. But please, please let me remind you. 200 counties in America that voted twice for Barack Obama hopped on the Trump Train in 2016! This is another self inflicted wound by the Democrats. Whites who’ve voted twice to support the first Black President resent being called racist on a daily basis by the radical and mainstream left. Their policies aren’t working and they are alienating many of their core supporters. The media will cover for them and say everything is peachy keen and Trump is a monster, when in reality the Trump support is higher than Ronald Reagan among Republicans and nothing demonstrates that fact more than a good ole fashioned Trump #MAGA Rally!
Trump even had a massive crowd in the liberal state, my home state of New Jersey. Routinely there are tens of thousands of people outside of a Trump rally. There are more people outside of a Trump rally than inside of a Biden rally. Let that sink in. Trump can pull this massive crowd anywhere he goes in America dispelling the lie that he is widely unpopular. No politician in history has had Trumps consistently huge rally turn out numbers. Not even Barack Obama. This New Jersey rally was sparked by congressman Jeff van Drew who had become so disenchanted with the Democrat party threatening him that he must vote for impeachment of the president on their flimsy charges or he would be attacked and ostracized from his own party. Jeff van Drew defected and is now a proud Republican and Trump astutely rewarded the new GOP member with a massive rally in his home district that was very well received.
In politics visuals and messaging are paramount. The left does not want to juxtapose the Biden event with roughly 20 people in social distancing circles against a mega #MAGA rally from Team Trump! What is Biden’s resonating message? He has none or it could be…..C’mon man! Hillary Clinton also had no real cohesive messaging. Sooner or later they will realize you need more than I hate Trump to be your message. America wants to know what you are for not just what you are against. Trump promised to make America Great Again which in his goals made sense to middle America and Americans in general. Securing our borders, bringing manufacturing jobs back, renegotiating trade deals which sent all of our manufacturing jobs overseas, getting rid of sanctuary cities that are protecting illegal alien criminals, law and order and building a sustainably strong economy and energy independence. These are tried and true very simple policies which your average American can get behind. Most importantly he has delivered on 99% of those goals. Which aside from the skewed methodology on polling does not bode well for the stumbling bumbling Biden gaffe machine campaign.
If you have ever been in entertainment you know the best time to sell to supporters is at a live event. Trump knows this also. Many fence sitters have went to a Trump rally and saw first hand it’s not the Klan get together the media portrays it to be. I get 15 to 20 emails daily from all various aspects of the Trump campaign. They are very astute with their social media campaign, while Joe Biden has trouble making a video in his basement with written notes and grade school direction. A new Zogby Poll reported 55% of likely American voters think Joe Biden is in cognitive decline. Now with numbers like this how can you really think that Biden is a serious candidate.
Let’s look back at former President Richard Nixon. He has been vilified and taken out of the history books for getting impeached, but for historical context let’s look at some aspects of his election and presidency. After the great riots of 1968 a Republican garnered 32 states in his election. After left wing chaos and riots the country will turn to GOP law and order. Nixon’s re-election he won 49 states and he was in close consultation with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. When MLK was arrested in one of his marches he called Nixon. Nixon was hesitant to get involved in the hot racially charged events and did not quickly get back in touch with Dr. King. The Kennedy campaign seized the political opportunity and that gesture of goodwill to Dr. King swung many Blacks to the Democrat party. So many are thinking the chaos and riots will be blamed on Trump while just the opposite will happen.
The Trump Tulsa rally will be the biggest one yet and that is saying something for the campaign which regularly packs arenas nationwide. The Democrats will futilely try to smear and stop it in anyway possible but the juggernaut will powerfully move forward.
By Michael Ameer