The World is becoming more and more digital. Big tech and government control and influence both online and offline information made available to us. This article addresses the ways public and private sectors are influencing the information, what you should do and what is the best way to protect your-self.
We live in a society where information is more accessible than ever before. We can get the latest news, watch videos of people doing incredible things, and learn about any subject imaginable—all in the palm of our hands.
But there’s also a dark side to this seemingly limitless access to knowledge: It means those with power have more control over what information you see and don’t see. In other words, the government is getting better at controlling what content they feed us, and it’s up to us not to be fooled by their efforts.
The main primary we face is that governments and Big Tech are starting to work together to transform the narrative around the public discourse. Instead of a free exchange of ideas, we are being stuffed with party-line narratives that favour democratic values, which are not only dangerous to democracy, but to the very concept for which the internet was first created.
So, where do we go from here?
Governments control over Big tech
The world has never been so complex. The globalization of the economy and the rise of China, Russia, and other nation-states have changed how we live forever. However, this complexity also means that there are many opportunities for individuals to make a difference in their countries and communities. It is necessary now more than ever for people to be aware of the forces at work in their society so they may act responsibly and effectively in order to create a better future for themselves, their families, and society as a whole.
In March of 2022, a new bill in Australia was created that would hand over the control of misinformation in Big Tech to the government. The idea is that the media regulators could force companies like Google, Facebook, TikTok, and others to hand over any data or processes about how they handle misinformation and disinformation.
The problem is that this gives immense power back to the government to control the online world. If, for example, the government wants us to all believe a specific idea about any hot button topic like travel, trans rights, abortion, finance, or others, all they need to do is pull a lever, and Big Tech must get in line with these ideas or face being boycotted by the country.
This is all being done behind the auspice of protecting public information. Our government wants to stop “misinformation” about topics that should be actively argued and pursued so the truth is uncovered and we are not all forced to accept what our government leaders approve is okay. In a way, this is censorship at its most slippery form.
Censorship of Ideas
Censorship, in the context of the internet, is defined as a government or group of people controlling what information can be seen on the web. The difference between censorship and moderation is that moderation involves removing content that has already been posted to a site; censorship is preventing access to information before it’s even put online.
Roughly 90% of registered independents and Republicans in the United States believe their political theories and leanings are being censored on social media platforms and search engine results. In fact, when I was assembling this article you are reading right now, I had to use search engines known for not being moderated or controlled in order to find verifiable sources of information that wasn’t immediately left-leaning.
In that same Pew study, 73% of Democrats favour social media companies labeling posts as political, divisive, or being untrue, while 71% of Republicans are against such labels. The fact is the fight for free speech and the sharing of personal opinions that are contrary to popular opinions being supported by Big Tech and government lobbyists is raging, but instead of in the pubs and community halls of our forefathers, it is online where the government can flick a switch and remove any opinion that does not support their predetermined narrative.
Enlisting the Private Sector in State Abuses
The private sector is also deeply involved in these efforts. Private companies are used to control the narrative, censor information and monitor people, as well as control the flow of information.
For example, Google has been accused of manipulating search results to favour Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election cycle. The company also has a history of censoring conservative views and websites on its platforms, including YouTube and Gmail. And Facebook recently admitted that it had been censoring content from conservative-leaning publisher American Thinker for years without notifying its editors or readers about this fact—a clear violation of terms and conditions for using their platform for free speech purposes only (and not commercial ones).
New regulations are being proposed at rapid-fire extremes by political parties across all countries. The idea is to suppress content that is critical of the government or water down due process standards by eliminating the need for proper court procedures. Big Tech companies are being treated like the digital gods of our generation. Whatever companies like Google or Facebook say is taken to be equal to Moses and the Ten Commandments.
This places the private sector in a unique position where it can control content and decide who has a seat at the table and who does not. In this efforts of big tech and government control over them, all the government has to do is initiate laws that restrict or curtail Big Tech access to citizen data, and all of a sudden, these private companies fall in line to repeat the same claims of the very government controlling their futures. That seems oddly counterintuitive to democracy.
How can the government control the narrative? By controlling the information. How do they control the information? By controlling those who provide it. How do they control those who provide it? By controlling their board of directors, who are elected by shareholders. Who elects this board of directors? Shareholders.
Just like in a corporation, online services are provided by public companies that have shareholders who elect boards of directors to run these companies, and where does our information come from on Facebook, Twitter, and Google? Yes! They’re public companies too!
While much of the information in this world is accurate, there is a lot that isn’t. In fact, misinformation is so widespread that it’s become an issue for everyone. Whether you’re looking at news articles or medical advice, your ability to trust what you read depends on how well-informed the author was before they wrote it. The problem is that sometimes people don’t know what they don’t know—and so they end up spreading misinformation without realizing it.
We’ve seen this play out time and time again with social media posts coming from experts who aren’t actually experts, news stories about cybercrime that turn out not to be true, and even more serious examples like doctors providing bad medical advice based on outdated facts or biased study results.
In order to combat these problems, we need some sort of way to detect whether something has been intentionally manipulated according to its original intent or if it’s simply incorrect due to honest mistakes made by those involved in creating or distributing content online. The best way to do this is through open and transparent public debate. Instead of restricting the information we all have access to, it should be able to hold up to public scrutiny.
The Continued Assault on Internet Freedom
The internet is an important tool for everyone. It’s a business tool, a communication tool, an educational tool, and an information source.
It doesn’t matter if you are looking to buy that new pair of shoes or find the best recipe for chocolate chip cookies. The internet has it all! You can even get recipes from other countries with their own twist on classic dishes that you might not have thought about before.
While the internet is a vast array of possibilities, it is under attack by those with endlessly deep pockets to control where and when we can access the information we want. Many of these Big Tech giants have an operating budget larger than most nations. As an example, Alphabet, the company in charge of Google, had a 12-month expense of $189 billion USD in 2021-2022. That is more than Greece, Iraq, Hungary, Morocco, Kenya, Puerto Rico, and many, many more Countries.
With such massive financial firepower, it takes very little to convince a government official to lean toward the benefits of a social media platform.
Don’t Believe the Hype, and Do Your Research!
To be sure, there are many more examples of how big tech and government control are influencing the information available online and off. In fact, these two worlds have merged over time so much that it can sometimes be hard to tell where one ends, and another begins.
However, despite this overwhelming amount of information at our fingertips, we still have a choice about how much we want to know about what’s going on in both realms. It’s up to us as individuals to take advantage of the ability more refined search engines and messaging systems provide us with by finding out exactly what those around us are thinking about this issue or that one.
Learn more about your own personal beliefs on topics such as politics or religion before conducting your searches, you will better find results that are unbiased because you have an opinion to begin with. Do not go out there hunting for confirmation bias, but rather, use the internet to help understand why opposing viewpoints are what they are.
The Freedom of Protected Technology
At Freedom Technology and Services, we build deGoogled phones and sell privacy products like Faraday bags that protect your online privacy and allow you the ability to find information in its rawest forms.
Instead of being a slave to the whims of Big Tech, government control, or the mainstream media, we can help you get unfettered access by using open-source programming, software, apps, and custom-built hardware protected from the control of outside influence.
To learn more about how we can help and the products we provide, visit our online store today. We want to help you protect your opinion and find like-minded individuals willing to fight for the fair exchange of ideas and philosophies.
What we have discussed are only some of the ways that big tech and governments are controlling information, but there are many more. You can fight back against these powerful forces by being informed about what’s happening in the world. Pick up your deGoogled device today and fight the power of biased influence on your moral judgment!