Silicon Valley’s crackdown on conservatives didn’t start with President Donald Trump and it definitely didn’t end there either. With the effective termination of Parler, mass bans on Twitter, and odd suspension decisions from Facebook, Big Tech believes it is eliminating the conservative influence on the culture, but what it might be doing is flying a little too close to the sun.
For one, Big Tech companies are inviting criticism from world leaders with their silencing of Trump. As my colleague Nick Arama covered, even European leaders believe this is a step too far including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.K. Health Secretary Matt Hancock:
Merkel’s chief spokesperson Steffen Seibert said, “The right to freedom of opinion is of fundamental importance. “Given that, the chancellor considers it problematic that the president’s accounts have been permanently suspended.” He said that they didn’t have issue flagging a post. if it was ‘inaccurate, but that they should not be banning speech.
U.K Health Secretary Matt Hancock also blasted Big Tech for what they had done, for making “editorial decisions” which then raised a “very big question” about how social media is regulated. “That’s clear because they’re choosing who should and shouldn’t have a voice on their platform,” Hancock said.
Criticism from foreign leaders may be one thing, but Big Tech isn’t swayed by words.
What Big Tech seems to fear is actual competition. Its spike of Parler proves that any actual alternative to their platforms that allows free speech is something they don’t want to allow.
However, the place they can’t seem to get to is the Twitter alternative known as GAB. Like Parler, GAB is a free-speech platform that has a penchant for attracting those either kicked off of Twitter or sick of its censorship and political bias.
What’s more, the people at GAB seem to know that the only thing the powerful respect is power and so they reached out to a very powerful and popular man, Elon Musk, asking the tech billionaire to give them a ring.
“It needs to happen,” the site tweeted to Musk on Twitter’s platform with a picture of a satellite bearing GAB’s frog mascot.
— Gab.com (@getongab) January 12, 2021
Musk is known for starting a myriad of companies with different functions, and it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to see him begin a social media venture. What’s more, Musk would likely start a free speech platform himself as he’s not only also been critical of big tech’s censorship methods, but he’s been proven to resist leftist stances.
On Monday, Musk retweeted the Babylon Bee, a right-leaning satire site, that posted a joke about the censorship of Trump with the headline “Evil Fascist Dictator Censored and Voted Out of Office,” but added a more serious message below it.
“A lot of people are going to be super unhappy with West Coast high tech as the de facto arbiter of free speech,” tweeted Musk.
A lot of people are going to be super unhappy with West Coast high tech as the de facto arbiter of free speech
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 11, 2021
He also agreed with a user who pointed out that Big Tech needs to find the difference between hate speech and speech it hates.
This is an important distinction
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 12, 2021
Musk has the right attitude and means. The question is, will he do anything about it?
All Musk would have to do is take a platform like GAB that’s already established and put his weight behind it in order to send it into the stratosphere. A mere mention of the “Signal” app recently increased the stock of an unrelated company by over 1000%. The fact is, Musk isn’t just powerful because he’s a billionaire businessman, he’s powerful because he’s won the hearts and the trust of the people.
If there’s a free market solution to the big tech problem, then Elon Musk may be the shortest route to a fix. With GAB reaching out to Musk and the response being positive, who knows if Musk will be swayed?