Mark Zuckerberg had NO idea that Facebook would become what it was. He certainly never planned it.
I said long ago that you can think of Facebook in this scenario. Zuckerberg was walking through a park one day, and discovered an object. Little did he know, the object was a nuclear bomb ready to explode with little provocation.
Nevertheless, Zuckerberg and his friends began kicking the object. The more they kicked it, the more money that poured out of it. But one day, they will kick too hard and the object will explode. Nuclear.
Fast-forward a few short years, and Zuckerberg’s “keep in touch with friends” platform has evolved into much more…
The New York Post reported, that Facebook is now the largest media outlet in the world.
Here is something that has been obvious to any fair-minded observer for ages: Facebook isn’t a value-neutral platform for the dissemination of user-created content, but a de facto publisher that earns its revenue, like newspapers and magazines of old, largely from advertising.
It’s a simple fact worth keeping in mind as Team Biden conscripts Facebook into censoring content the administration doesn’t like — even as the social-media giant continues to enjoy legal immunity denied to traditional publishers.
The Duck Test
Facebook may not categorize itself as a publisher. But it’s time we rectify that.
When in doubt, apply the duck test: If Facebook (and Twitter) exercise editorial discretion like publishers, kill stories like publishers, make final decisions about how to frame content for their readership like publishers, they are in fact publishers.
It doesn’t matter that they don’t commission all the stories they run — neither does The Washington Post when it runs a piece from a wire service, such as the Associated Press. What matters is the monopoly power they now exercise over virtually all online speech.
No one should begrudge Mark Zuckerberg & Co their ability to make editorial decisions. Like The Post, Facebook has every right to decide what it does and doesn’t want to publish in the space it provides. What it shouldn’t but does enjoy is that immunity from civil and criminal liability that shields it from the consequences of what it publishes.
If I libel my next-door neighbor in the pages of this newspaper, poor Ed can sue News Corp, its parent company. If I do the same on Facebook or Twitter, however, it is entirely on me under our antiquated and plainly corrupt understanding of how these companies operate.
The Trump Double Standard
Here again we are slapped with the Trump double standard. Forget the legal ramifications of Facebook’s power, or lack thereof, the bigger problem is the connection to the President.
If Trump tried to control what Facebook and Twitter censored, liberals would go berserk. But according to Jen Psaki, the Biden Administration has some kind of secret deal in place with Facebook.
The Post continues:
The actual terms of the partnership remain unclear. But in Psaki’s words, the administration is “flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread disinformation.”
While some of what is targeted is no doubt absurd or erroneous — conspiracies about microchips in COVID vaccines, for example — much of what is now apparently memory-holed on White House diktat is at worst innocuous satire and in many cases actively of interest to anyone who cares about current events.
This new arrangement means that instead of answering questions from reporters whose ostensible job is to hold the administration to account, the White House communications staff now has some authority over the world’s largest publisher.
Which should be terrifying to every American. Never in the history of this country, even after the passage of the Alien and Sedition Acts or during the First and Second World Wars, has any president ever attempted, much less managed to secure, such sweeping authority over what our people are allowed to write and read.
The fact that this sinister announcement has elicited virtually no reaction from a press corps that spent much of the last four years pretending that the First Amendment had been abrogated because former President Donald Trump was sometimes rude to journos tells us everything we need to know about the actual state of our exalted Fourth Estate.
Of course, leftists will go on pretending hard core journalists still exist.
Yet that’s a complete lie. Journalism is no longer about getting the scoop. Or creating the perfect headline. Sadly, these media giants can’t even see their own hypocrisies anymore.
As for free speech, well, the fact that Trump was booted off both Facebook and Twitter proves my point. These platforms boot conservatives daily. Their crime is typically one involving the truth.
Clearly, we can’t have opposing opinions. Further, we don’t have open debates to solve the problems of our age. Instead, we have a left hell-bent on political indoctrination. Even if the cost is something we spent nearly 250 years building.