WASHINGTON — On Tuesday, former Facebook product manager Frances Haugen testified before the Senate Commerce subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security after having previously outed herself as the whistleblower who leaked massive amounts of the tech giant’s internal research documents to both Congress and the Wall Street Journal.
The leaks allege that Facebook deliberately conceals large amounts of research that it conducts, which it then uses to mislead the public, foster social media addiction, and stoke the flames of political division — according to Haugen, specific ramifications of such political division include the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and the genocide of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.
Haugen made repeated calls for further governmental oversight of Big Tech. Vox reports:
“As long as Facebook is operating in the dark, it is accountable to no one,” said Haugen in her opening testimony. Haugen argued that “a critical starting point for effective regulation is transparency: full access to data for research not directed by Facebook.”
In her written testimony shared ahead of the hearing, Haugen criticized Facebook’s existing quasi-independent oversight board (which has no real legal power over Facebook) because she believes it is “blind” to Facebook’s inner workings.
“Right now, the only people in the world trained to analyze these experiences are people who grew up inside of Facebook or other social media companies,” said Haugen. “There needs to be a regulatory home where someone like me could do a tour of duty after working at a place like this,” she said.
Haugen also explicitly called for reform of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which heavily shields tech companies from legal accountability for illegal content posted on their platforms.
“I encourage reforming Section 230 decisions about algorithms. Modifying 230 around content — it gets very complicated because user-generated content is something companies have less control over,” said Haugen. “They have 100 percent control over algorithms.”
Predictably, reform of Section 230 is justified in the eyes of Democrats so long as tech platforms’ algorithms amplify “harmful, radicalizing content that leads to offline violence,” as Reps. Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.) and Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) phrase it in a bill that they introduced earlier this year. Given the extremely low standards which Democrats have set for misinformation and incitement of violence, particularly when those standards apply to people whose politics they don’t like, this effectively translates to the further suppression of any content that doesn’t suit their narrative.
And as far as suppressing information that doesn’t suit the Democratic narrative goes, the New York Post story on Hunter Biden that Big Tech platforms conveniently buried just weeks before his father’s election to the presidency is an excellent case study — namely because Haugen herself was responsible in part for Facebook’s decision to suppress it.
Unsurprisingly, Haugen’s ties to far-left organizations, causes, and campaigns run deep.
The Daily Wire reports:
The Facebook whistleblower, Frances Haugen, has a record of donations to far-left Democrats and a history of raising issues about purported bias while at previous employers, a Daily Wire review found.
Haugen has made more than twenty federal campaign contributions since 2016, all of which have gone to Democrats, according to Federal Election Commission data. On January 13th, 2020, Haugen sent money to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s congressional campaign and a further contribution to her “Courage to Change” Political Action Committee. One of the most frequent recipients of her donations was the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
Furthermore, it was reported that Haugen’s lawyers also represented the anonymous Ukraine whistleblower, widely believed to be former CIA analyst Eric Ciaramella, who was responsible for the first impeachment of former President Donald Trump.
The fact that Haugen, who has used the publicity she’s received to call for congressional oversight and regulation of Big Tech, happens to be inextricably affiliated with the far-left is about as far from a surprise as one could possibly fathom.
While it’s easy to be blinded by the sea of justified right-wing ire that it receives, Big Tech is Public Enemy No. 1 for the left — and the reason the left hate Big Tech so much is fairly straightforward: Big Tech threatens legacy media, and legacy media is monopolized by the left.
Just as the only way for the left to maintain their stranglehold on our discourse is to actively suppress and demonize speech by their opposition, the only way they can perpetuate their stranglehold on mass media is to actively stonewall alternative media outlets out of the mainstream.
The advent of platforms like Facebook, however, allowed consumers to actively tailor their own news feeds, which allowed for an alternative media renaissance of sorts. This created a massive channel through which credible information not reported on by mainstream media could be accessed, and points of view delegitimized by mainstream media could be amplified. In other words, it revolutionized American discourse and threatened the integrity of the Democrat-media industrial complex.
For the left, usurping control of Big Tech means regaining control of the flow of information, and control of the flow of information translates to control of the culture. That’s what they’re comfortable with, because that’s what they’ve had since the rise of legacy media in the mid-twentieth century. So, naturally, control of Big Tech is what they’re going to want to pursue — and they’ve become pretty open about it.
We’re now at a point where Democrats aren’t content with continuing to simply wink and nod at tech CEOs to get what they want, because it simply isn’t getting them what they want to the extent at which they want it. The natural next step for Democrats is to push for top-down control, and they’ve made it abundantly clear that said top-down control is their endgame.
Control the flow of information, control the narrative, control the discourse, control the culture. It’s a cynical game of rhetoric, and the left know how to play it.
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