Big Tech has been great for America in some respects, but also has its issues.
For example, many of the gatekeepers on information were destroyed by the rise of Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Amazon’s Kindle service; content creators could avoid the gatekeepers in the MSM and publishing houses and connect directly with their audiences. That’s a huge positive.
But, it’s only a positive so long as the rules are clear and fair; right now, they’re obviously tilted left, which is far from a net positive for America, as it means that the information we read, hear, or see might be biased. The old gatekeepers were just replaced by new ones in Silicon Valley.
That means we need to fight the bad by keeping the good; we can do so by fighting for liberty, particularly the right to free speech on those platforms. That will require both supporting competitors and pushing for government action.
Some Big Tech services are great and have no viable alternative. Facebook, for example, is one of the best platforms for content distribution and keeping up with friends; there’s not really anything like it or Instagram, which it owns.
Similarly, Amazon’s Kindle service is amazing, allowing authors to self-publish their work and make a living while avoiding the publishing house gatekeepers and connecting directly with their audiences via Kindle. There’s nothing like the reach, ease of use, and inexpensiveness of it.
But other services have many an alternative. Apple, for example, makes smartphones, but so do many other companies, many of which are less censorious and don’t spy on you. FreedomPhone, for example, makes a great Apple iPhone alternative. Similarly, Twitter can be cut out of your life and replaced with Gab, Parler, Gettr, or Truth Social. Google can be replaced with DuckDuckGo or Brave, just as its Android phones can be replaced with a FreedomPhone.
The alternative services might not be a one-to-one replacement, they could lack a few features you’ve grown used to, but they exist and are eminently necessary. Why? Because their survival, and the creation of alternatives for those services like Kindle or Facebook that currently have no alternatives, is crucial for your liberty.
With competition comes advancement and moderation. Were there no Twitter alternative, that service wouldn’t only have no reason to update or advance, but would keep banning whoever it wanted without worrying about people fleeing its platform.
Hence why it banned people with abandon from 2016-now; there hasn’t been a large enough competitor to stop it from doing so. If Truth, Gab, or any of the others grow large enough, which they will if we keep supporting those services, then Twitter will have to moderate its content moderation strategy or risk seeing everyone with controversial opinions, the opinions that drive content and engagement (and thus its profits) leave for other platforms.
That’s just one example, but it applies to all of them: supporting the competition is necessary because competition can keep these companies in check. And keeping them in check is a way of defending your liberty, particularly your right to speak freely.
But it’s also just one half of the struggle: to defend your liberty, you also need to push for government action on the issue. Strange as it sounds to many Republicans, government action isn’t always anathema to liberty. Far from it, in fact.
Big Government might be, but limited government, a government big enough to deal with issues of not but small enough to not stifle all those things that need freedom to survive, is a great tool for liberty.
Politicians wielding that power in the name of liberty, taking on the tech monopolies and forcing them to allow speech protected by the Constitution, perhaps by treating them as common carriers, would be a boon for liberty; their acting is what we need just as much as we need to support the competitors to Big Tech.
That’s doubly true of companies like Facebook that have no real competitor; government action is needed to reign them in and ensure that they, companies so large they are basically utilities, are respecting our rights as Americans. Competition can’t deal with the problem. Government can.
Fighting for liberty is tough. Giving up on Twitter, or at least limiting your use of it, might be difficult. Ditto that for being the guy that makes group chats green because you don’t have an iPhone or being the Republican that raises eyebrows by demanding government action on the censorship issue.
But that’s worth it; only by fighting for your liberty by working on both strategies for reigning in Big Tech will you defend your right to free speech, a right we must have to remain a free society.