Advertisers want to turn Facebook into a political enforcement tool. While one might consider the merits of censoring “hate speech” and “extremism”, the big question is: how are those terms defined, and by whom? Moreover, are views that differ from the mainstream consensus in the realm of topics like global warming, #MeToo, the Coronacrisis, racism, or even economics to be automatically considered “extreme”? If so, what would be the fate of free speech?
American companies are falling over themselves to get ahead of the current moment of “woke” moral panic. That sometimes means sacrificing an unlucky employee to the political mob or bulk-buying copies of the best-seller “White Fragility” to encourage workers to define themselves by race. Today, large firms are joining a campaign to turn social media platforms into tools of political surveillance and enforcement against conservatives and other dissenting voices.
Coca-Cola, Starbucks, Verizon, North Face, Eddie Bauer, and other major brands have suspended Facebook advertising after left-wing activist groups claimed that it does not censor enough political speech. CEO Mark Zuckerberg last week capitulated and promised further controls in order to appease them, including flagging posts by politicians. This predictably did nothing to satisfy the activists, who, having won the first battle, now see the opportunity to expel even more of their political enemies from the public square.
It is clear that democracy becomes a farce and completely useless under a culture of censorship and propaganda. And it appears that a majority of politicians and many in the corporate world are willing to go with the flow in order to be reelected or to protect their public reputation. This does not bode well for America, or for Western societies in general.