Our social media overlords have plans to stifle any Wuhan virus dissent

In the modern marketplace of ideas, if you're a private citizen with a message you want to disseminate, the way to do that is to place your message on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, or any other internet outlet in which the American people provide the content.  No reasonable person can challenge the fact that these outlets monopolize people's ability to spread information and ideas.  When outlets such as Facebook and YouTube try to block ideas or information about protests, they are just as bad as any tyrannical government.

That there are several corporate different entities that offer Americans the ability to talk to each other does not change social media's monopolistic nature because all of the companies pull in the same harness.  They are guided by and employ people who have identical cultural and political values, among which is the belief that all ideas that do not harmonize with theirs must be stifled.  They are ideological bigots, every bit as hate-filled and narrow-minded as the old-time Jim Crow Southerners who closed their businesses to people because of their skin color.

Right now, the ideological harness tying together these outlets is "Destroy Trump."  They will oppose anything he espouses and support anything that might help damage his chance of re-election in November.  Even in ordinary, pre-virus, times, their ability to control the public conversation has been significant, but at least it was offset by the fact that people could still socialize the old-fashioned way — face to face.

In a time of Wuhan virus panic, though, the reach these media outlets have is dramatically expanded.  Trapped at home, people can no longer share ideas at the workplace, at their kids' soccer games, waiting in carpool lanes, at political meetings, or anywhere else in which people normally exchange ideas.  If people want to spread an idea beyond a phone call or two, they are entirely dependent on putting that message on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, or some other outlet.

Flush with power, Facebook has announced that it will stifle Americans' efforts to exercise their First Amendment right "peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."  Mark Zuckerberg has explicitly said that if people use Facebook to organize a protest, his Facebook censors will take down that information:

YouTube is joining the censorship brigade by depublishing any videos with information about the Wuhan virus that runs counter to information from the World Health Organization (WHO) (emphasis added):

In an interview with CNN's Brian Stelter, Wojcicki described the aggressive measures YouTube is taking to combat what it perceives to be misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic.

"And so we talk about that as raising authoritative information," Wojcicki said, referring to an increase in news consumption on the site. "But then we also talk about removing information that is problematic, you know. Of course, anything that is medically unsubstantiated. So people saying, like, take vitamin C, you know, take turmeric, like, those are — will cure you. Those are the examples of things that would be a violation of our policy. Anything that would go against World Health Organization recommendations would be a violation of our policy. And so remove is another really important part of our policy."

Ironically, the WHO has been a prime purveyor of misinformation about the Wuhan virus.  Indeed, as a general matter, when it comes to helping world health, the WHO's track record is dismal.

That pathetic record leads one to suspect that Wojcicki's emphasis on the incompetent WHO as the factual arbiter about the Wuhan virus, rather than on America's own CDC (with its own shabby record), may be politically motivated.  Progressives were upset when President Trump decided to withhold funds from the World Health Organization while investigating why its steady stream of misinformation perfectly tracked Chinese propaganda.

This is censorship, pure and simple.  These outlets claim they're not the government, so they're not bound by the Constitution.  It's not that simple.

Today's tech giants sell a single product: ideas or, more exactly, freely offered ideas from America's citizens.  If the tech giants close their doors to classes of people, their monopolies mean that the targeted class is out in the ideological cold.  Their acts are not at all different from what happened in the Jim Crow era, when monopolistic businesses closed their doors to African-Americans.

To carry the Jim Crow analogy a little farther, the Constitution is silent about public accommodations.  Nevertheless, its underlying premises were enough to legitimize legislation ensuring that all Americans had equal access to such places.  What the Constitution explicitly guarantees is the world of ideas.  After all, that's what the First Amendment is all about: ideas.

The most basic premise of the United States is that the free exchange of ideas is essential to a free country.  If the government can break up monopolies in oil, transport, lodging, and dining, it's inconceivable that it cannot break up a monopoly on the most important thing that matters: the free exchange of ideas and information.  It's time for Attorney General Bill Barr to step up and stop the silencing.

In the modern marketplace of ideas, if you're a private citizen with a message you want to disseminate, the way to do that is to place your message on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, or any other internet outlet in which the American people provide the content.  No reasonable person can challenge the fact that these outlets monopolize people's ability to spread information and ideas.  When outlets such as Facebook and YouTube try to block ideas or information about protests, they are just as bad as any tyrannical government.

That there are several corporate different entities that offer Americans the ability to talk to each other does not change social media's monopolistic nature because all of the companies pull in the same harness.  They are guided by and employ people who have identical cultural and political values, among which is the belief that all ideas that do not harmonize with theirs must be stifled.  They are ideological bigots, every bit as hate-filled and narrow-minded as the old-time Jim Crow Southerners who closed their businesses to people because of their skin color.

Right now, the ideological harness tying together these outlets is "Destroy Trump."  They will oppose anything he espouses and support anything that might help damage his chance of re-election in November.  Even in ordinary, pre-virus, times, their ability to control the public conversation has been significant, but at least it was offset by the fact that people could still socialize the old-fashioned way — face to face.

In a time of Wuhan virus panic, though, the reach these media outlets have is dramatically expanded.  Trapped at home, people can no longer share ideas at the workplace, at their kids' soccer games, waiting in carpool lanes, at political meetings, or anywhere else in which people normally exchange ideas.  If people want to spread an idea beyond a phone call or two, they are entirely dependent on putting that message on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, or some other outlet.

Flush with power, Facebook has announced that it will stifle Americans' efforts to exercise their First Amendment right "peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."  Mark Zuckerberg has explicitly said that if people use Facebook to organize a protest, his Facebook censors will take down that information:

YouTube is joining the censorship brigade by depublishing any videos with information about the Wuhan virus that runs counter to information from the World Health Organization (WHO) (emphasis added):

In an interview with CNN's Brian Stelter, Wojcicki described the aggressive measures YouTube is taking to combat what it perceives to be misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic.

"And so we talk about that as raising authoritative information," Wojcicki said, referring to an increase in news consumption on the site. "But then we also talk about removing information that is problematic, you know. Of course, anything that is medically unsubstantiated. So people saying, like, take vitamin C, you know, take turmeric, like, those are — will cure you. Those are the examples of things that would be a violation of our policy. Anything that would go against World Health Organization recommendations would be a violation of our policy. And so remove is another really important part of our policy."

Ironically, the WHO has been a prime purveyor of misinformation about the Wuhan virus.  Indeed, as a general matter, when it comes to helping world health, the WHO's track record is dismal.

That pathetic record leads one to suspect that Wojcicki's emphasis on the incompetent WHO as the factual arbiter about the Wuhan virus, rather than on America's own CDC (with its own shabby record), may be politically motivated.  Progressives were upset when President Trump decided to withhold funds from the World Health Organization while investigating why its steady stream of misinformation perfectly tracked Chinese propaganda.

This is censorship, pure and simple.  These outlets claim they're not the government, so they're not bound by the Constitution.  It's not that simple.

Today's tech giants sell a single product: ideas or, more exactly, freely offered ideas from America's citizens.  If the tech giants close their doors to classes of people, their monopolies mean that the targeted class is out in the ideological cold.  Their acts are not at all different from what happened in the Jim Crow era, when monopolistic businesses closed their doors to African-Americans.

To carry the Jim Crow analogy a little farther, the Constitution is silent about public accommodations.  Nevertheless, its underlying premises were enough to legitimize legislation ensuring that all Americans had equal access to such places.  What the Constitution explicitly guarantees is the world of ideas.  After all, that's what the First Amendment is all about: ideas.

The most basic premise of the United States is that the free exchange of ideas is essential to a free country.  If the government can break up monopolies in oil, transport, lodging, and dining, it's inconceivable that it cannot break up a monopoly on the most important thing that matters: the free exchange of ideas and information.  It's time for Attorney General Bill Barr to step up and stop the silencing.