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Big Tech and the Election

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Kerby Andersonnever miss viewpoints

The impact of the big tech companies on this election may be more than we have ever seen before because so many Americans are on social media. Two-thirds (68%) of adults use Facebook and nearly three-fourths (73%) use YouTube. The percentages for those under the age of 50 are even much higher.

The tech companies have enormous power to select the information we read and share with others. Peter Hasson is the editor at the Daily Caller and also author of the book, The Manipulators. He provides an in-depth look at how big tech influences our political perspectives and decisions.

One way the tech companies have increased influence is through moderators. In the case of YouTube, there are more than 10,000 of them looking for inappropriate content. A memo at Google had the title, The Good Censor, and made the case that the Internet may have been “founded upon utopian principles of free speech” but then argues that free speech is no longer in vogue.

Two forms of censorship actually occur. The first is what can be described as “hard censorship” in which content is deleted and users are suspended. But the more insidious form is what could be called “soft censorship.” That is where these tech companies make content harder to find by pushing a link off the first page or first few pages. Hasson says that hard censorship is similar to tearing down a roadside billboard. Soft censorship would make the billboard difficult to see by erecting other billboards in front of it.

Also, these tech companies do feel significant pressure to censor from both external forces (like left-wing activists) and internal forces (from left-leaning employees). In the last presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton received 99 percent of all the political donations made by tech workers in Silicon Valley. That is why you need to get your news and information from more than just social media.

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