We live in an age of pervasive irony where nothing is quite what it seems to be.
“Fact checkers” routinely lie and distort reality for the purpose of pushing political agendas. “Medical experts” are routinely wrong about the way the COVID-19 pandemic has progressed and about the efficacy of things like lockdowns and mask mandates. The “scientists” that we’ve all been told to trust have had their credibility undermined by a pervasive replication crisis. “Journalists” have become shills for the powerful. Social media CEOs who used to brag about their roles in “connecting people” are de-platforming anyone who challenges prevailing narratives.
There are too many cases of inverted reality today to be able to list them all. But everyone who is paying attention has noticed the phenomenon.
Well, now, we also have so-called “internet freedom” advocates campaigning for internet censorship.
NetChoice Wants to Destroy Choice on the Internet
NetChoice is a so-called “internet freedom” advocacy organization. It is paid to produce propaganda and apologetics in defense of Big Tech. In response to the idea that major tech and social media companies should not censor people’s viewpoints, NetChoice has written that allowing space for all viewpoints on the internet will create a Wild West of obscenity and vulgarity.
“Making it illegal for social media platforms to moderate content would result in a Mad-Max-style, anything-goes internet,” NetChoice complains. But of course, as anyone familiar with what the internet was like during the 1990s, before massive companies centralized it and took it over, can tell you, the open, decentralized and somewhat wild nature of things back then was precisely what made the internet so great.
Of course, the usually faux concerns about the spread of “disinformation” have also been peppered throughout NetChoices apologetics for Big Tech. Apparently, if a great guardian class does not declare what is true and what isn’t, the stupid rubes who make up the ordinary population will believe nothing but nonsense. This is how the elite think.
The truth, though — and this is another one of those inversions of reality alluded to earlier — is that Big Tech’s campaign to censor viewpoints that diverge from what the Democratic Party wants is not a way to prevent the spread of disinformation. In fact, it is a way to guarantee the spread of disinformation.
When the viewpoints of powerful institutions cannot be challenged, the communities that spread and share those viewpoints harden into echo chambers. Because they have never been exposed to serious criticism, they cannot imagine that anyone might disagree with them. Lack of exposure to criticism also makes people less likely to adjust to their own biases. People become less than scrupulous in working to avoid mistakes. Inevitably, mistakes begin to accumulate, and misinformation spreads.