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Washington Backlash Brews as Google, Facebook Bully Conservatives on Social Media: Vice-President Pence Concerned about Their Control and Influence

Doug Mainwaring : Mar 29, 2018  Lifesitenews.com

"Facebook's January 12 announcement that it would begin to de-prioritize news publishers and their posts in users' news feeds has had a surprisingly profound and partisan impact ... conservative and right-wing publishers (such as Breitbart, Fox News, and Gateway Pundit) were hit the hardest in the weeks following the announcement, with Facebook engagement totals for February dropping as much as 55 percent for some, while the engagement numbers of most predominantly liberal publishers remained unaffected." -Report from The Outline

(Washington, DC)—[Lifesitenews.com] Storm clouds are gathering in the nation's capital that may threaten to rain on the nation's young tech giants' practices of suppressing conservative messaging while freely promoting liberal ideology. (Image: Facebook/ Creative Commons /Pixabay)

To those who have seen their reach and influence on social media platforms suddenly minimized, the storm's distant rumblings are a welcome sound.

A few tech giants control the vast majority of the flow of online commerce. Among these are Facebook, Google, Twitter, and YouTube (owned by Google), each dominating a different facet of the internet, and each in their own way presenting a very real existential threat to conservatives.

Together they hold a near-monopoly on the flow of information and news. As such, they are able with their complex algorithms to manipulate public discourse and limit free, unimpeded inquiry.

These tech giants, fueled by a politically correct worldview, are ultimately able to undermine what it means to live in a democracy.

Because of this, questions are being raised by lawmakers on Capitol Hill as well as by White House execs. There are indications that both suspect the time is ripe for these tech giants to be regulated as public utilities in order to provide greater safeguards against heavy-handed favoring of progressive values and messaging overbalanced or conservative ones.

Vice President Mike Pence is concerned about Facebook and Google, according to a report in Axios.

"Though Pence isn't yet pushing internally for any specific regulations, he argues these companies are dangerously powerful," said the report, adding that a "source said the V.P. worries about their influence on media coverage, as well as their control of the advertising industry and users' personal info."

Former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon has called for social media platforms like Facebook and Google to "be regulated as utilities."

Some seem to favor a higher degree of regulation, while others toy with the idea of breaking up the online giants. Both notions send up red flags in conservative and libertarian circles, where government intervention and bureaucratic heavy-handedness have traditionally been anathema.

In the end, though, it looks like the battle will be between the Leviathan federal government and the nascent social media Behemoths.

The clash is unavoidable, because if the tech giants are allowed to continue on the path they are now on, the voices of conservatives will be muted to an inaudible whisper, and their visual presence will simply vanish. It will be as if conservatism, traditional religion, and even patriotism as we know them will have ceased to exist on the internet's public forum.

Profound partisan impact

When Facebook adjusted its algorithms earlier this year in order to ensure the promotion and dissemination of what it deems "quality news," websites purveying 'conservative' news—including LifeSiteNews—noticed a precipitous drop in traffic and reach.

A report filed by The Outline earlier this month in the aftermath of Facebook's algorithm change, notes:

Facebook's January 12 announcement that it would begin to de-prioritize news publishers and their posts in users' News Feeds has had a surprisingly profound and partisan impact. According to The Outline's analysis of Facebook engagement data obtained from research tool BuzzSumo, conservative and right-wing publishers (such as Breitbart, Fox News, and Gateway Pundit) were hit the hardest in the weeks following the announcement, with Facebook engagement totals for February dropping as much as 55 percent for some, while the engagement numbers of most predominantly liberal publishers remained unaffected.

The report pointed out that Breitbart's engagement dropped by 28% and PragerU dropped by a whopping 32%, despite publishing 18% more content during the time period.

Not only that but "In the month following the algorithm change, engagement on Donald Trump's Facebook posts dropped sharply," according to a Breitbart report. "Total engagement dropped by approximately 45 percent, according to data from leading social media analytics firm NewsWhip."

Consensus is Building: Power Is in the Hands of Too Few

Tech giants like Facebook, Google, and YouTube now enjoy political power on par with Big Oil and Big Pharma, and power to influence American society like perhaps no corporate entities, ever. Yet Oil and pharmaceutical companies are subject to strict regulation.

"Big Tech's greatest sins are locking in a winner-take-all economy, decimating the middle class and exercising monopoly-like powers that cause the free market to fail," reports Jon Talton, who thinks maybe it's time to break up 'Big Tech.'

"Competition is stymied," and "Power is in the hands of too few," asserts Talton in his Seattle Times opinion piece, where he suggests that the tech giants need to face a "Theodore Roosevelt-style trust busting."

A consensus is building.

Steve Bannon, said last year that Facebook and Google "have become essential elements of 21st century life," that "should be regulated as utilities," according to The Intercept.

The report continues, "Bannon's basic argument, as he has outlined it to people who've spoken with him, is that Facebook and Google have become effectively a necessity in contemporary life. Indeed, there may be something about an online social network or a search engine that lends itself to becoming a natural monopoly, much like a cable company, a water and sewer system, or a railroad"...

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