МОСКВА, 01 марта 2022, Институт РУССТРАТ.
Major US technology companies, led by Facebook, have entered into a symbiosis with the White House administration for the sake of «totalitarian domination over Americans”. An overly broad interpretation of the term «disinformation», which Washington politicians constantly find in online disputes about the coronavirus or school programs, will very soon shut up any dissident. They will be persecuted as an extremists and a terrorists — with the involvement of the entire power apparatus of the United States.
The ultimate goal of the dangerous link between American social networks and the government is to establish the worst kind of dictatorship: with widespread censorship and self-censorship, thoughtcrime and brainwashing, digital surveillance and the imposition of the «only true» point of view.
What is this, the plot of another dystopia in the spirit of Orwell? A new conspiracy theory? No, this is the main idea of the report «Combatting Big Tech’s Totalitarianism: A Road Map», released in February 2022 by the Heritage Foundation, the most influential think-tank of American conservatives.
The author of the report deserves special attention. This is the researcher at the Centre for Technology Policy of the Foundation Kara Frederick, the former head of the Facebook Regional Intelligence Team in Menlo Park, California, where she was lured straight from the US Navy Special Operations Command. At the foundation, Frederick specialises in precisely Big Tech and network censorship.
Conservative to the core, the author of the report signals an attack on the constitutional rights of Americans and calls on them to resist the «Sinification» of the United States. «Stop working as voluntary agents of the government and remember freedom of speech!» she says, admonishing technology companies.
We are not interested in Frederick’s fear of an «invasion of communists», but in the approaches and methods listed by her, which the US authorities, in alliance with Big Tech, are increasingly using against their citizens. After all, today exactly the same weapon is aimed at Russia.
Censorship in the US: evidence is clear
Kara Frederick’s report is full of examples of how political censorship is carried out in the United States. It is carried out today by the very Internet platforms that are usually cited as examples of American technological superiority over «backward countries». These network monsters, allegedly created by «enthusiasts in the garage», have long adopted personnel and technologies from the law enforcement agencies of America and are actively pursuing political opponents of the current government, often on its own orders.
Here are just a few telling cases.
In the autumn of 2020, American social networks restricted the distribution of links to the publication of the New York Post tabloid with revelations of then US presidential candidate Joe Biden. It concerned his son Hunter’s Ukrainian business and the lies of «Sleepy Joe» that they never talked about it. In the opinion of 52% of Americans, Facebook, Twitter and other online platforms directly interfered in the presidential election. And every sixth Biden voter admitted that they would have changed their mind about voting for him if they had found out about this scandal in time.
In January 2021, at least 17 Internet platforms refused to give the floor to the current US President Donald Trump. And three of the main ones threw the most popular messenger Parler out of their stores — just because with its help «Big Donald» could communicate with his supporters.
In recent years, Facebook, Twitter and Google have used technological tools many times to suppress right-wing content — up to the massive removal of replicas of Republican congressmen and reducing traffic to conservative publications such as The Washington Times, The Epoch Times, Breitbart and The Federalist.
In addition, American social networks have repeatedly been caught banning criticism of the actions of Black Lives Matter, the effectiveness of vaccination, the flight of US troops from Afghanistan, surgical sex reassignment in minors, a new gender agenda, critical racial theory and the entire body of orthodox left-wing ideas, Frederick argues, supporting each of such examples with references.
Taking dictation from the White House
Most often, Big Tech acts on its own initiative — at least because of the radical left-wing views of its top managers. However, in some cases, Internet companies received direct orders from the authorities.
On July 15, 2021, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki spoke about the coordination of the administration’s actions with social networks to counter «COVID dissidents» and called for more drastic measures against malicious messages. After that, within a month, Facebook deleted 3,000 accounts, including the blogs of 12 people whom the White House designated as «malicious misinformers”.
With an appeal to social networks and the media to «put an end to the coronavirus debate» President Joe Biden himself did not hesitate to speak on January 13, 2022. Need we say that today’s ideas about truth and lies around COVID are radically different from those that prevailed in the world a couple of years ago?
But «disinformation», as Washington understands it, is not only about COVID-19. In particular, on August 2, 2021, US Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas when working with Internet platforms, recognised
how they could better resist «lies about the country and the election results”, Frederick says in her report.
This «fight against fakes» has long gone beyond the Internet forums. Amazon regularly removes conservative books and films from its platform, digital payment providers block transfers for «politically incorrect» purposes, and providers disconnect individuals and entire organisations for «incorrect» political views.
One of the most egregious examples of this kind is the ban on the part of the online fundraising platform GoFundMe to donate money to Kyle Rittenhouse, a teenager who was later acquitted by the court for the murder of two BLM rioters in self-defence (while the platform quietly collected money for his would-be murderers). As well as the recent resonant blocking of donations for Canadian truckers on the same GoFundMe. The latter case, although not included in Frederick’s report, became one of the topics of her conversation with the press.
“Well, censorship and censorship, so what!” another reader will exclaim. “The usual struggle for power, nothing new.» Not really. The «new» not only translates the situation in the United States into the category of gloomy dystopias, but also directly threatens the residents of Russia.
The fact is that the tandem of the American authorities and Big Tech decided to treat these and any other «disinformers» — that is, sober-minded people with their own opinions — as extremists and terrorists, says Kara Frederick. With all the ensuing consequences.
«Internal terrorists» and how to deal with them
The author of the report of the Heritage Foundation draws attention to several pieces of evidence that the case is taking a bad turn.
In July 2021, the American Anti-Defamation League and the PayPal payment service teamed up to investigate the financing mechanisms of «extremists». The latter were not understood to be some neo-Nazis or, even more so, jihadists, but those who «profess Islamophobia and anti-immigrant ideas», as well as «anti-Black, anti-Hispanic and anti-Asian» fanaticism (this is something separate from racism, mentioned there with a comma).
Amazon made a similar move a little earlier. Facebook has also expanded its definition of «extremism» and even started sending warnings to users — but not to bearded men with Kalashnikovs, but to right-wing American journalists. And Google founder Sergey Brin suggested using the Jigsaw technology tool, which was first intended to counter Islamist propaganda, to influence Trump voters.
At the same time, the so-called «Global Counterterrorism Internet Forum» (GIFCT), created by US technology companies to counter the Islamic State, Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, unexpectedly expanded its focus on white supremacists — including participants in the «seizure of the Capitol» on January 6, 2021.
In its report, GIFCT complained of «a disproportionate focus on Islamist extremist content rather than white supremacist content”, and promised to correct this “bias». 14 companies have access to the database of this structure, including Microsoft, Facebook, Dropbox, Reddit and others, which will now jointly «clean out the flaws from the Network.»
During 2021, such left-liberal American media as CNN, NPR and MSNBC repeatedly branded not only conservatives, but also ordinary voters of Donald Trump as extremists and terrorists. Biden personally attributed the aforementioned Kyle Rittenhouse to «adherents of white supremacy,» and in August 2020, Democratic Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley called the latter a «domestic terrorist”.
And exactly the same term, for example, the National Association of School Boards of the United States dubbed parents who oppose critical racial theory. After that, US Attorney General Merrick Garland, without any verification, set the FBI and federal prosecutors against the parents.
Nonsense? But the FBI doesn’t think so. Investigating already 2,700 cases of «domestic extremism», the Bureau concluded that it threatens the United States no less than the «Islamic State»!
A bag on the head for a Facebook post
There is no justification for such an «inflation of terminology», Frederick notes and explains what the main danger of excessive interpretation of the concepts of «terrorism» and «extremism» is. As soon as the intelligence agencies of the United States, or any other country, receive any of these tags, they immediately «make a stand», since they are obliged to use the whole range of force measures against such criminals, including online.
As a result, the tools originally created for legitimate purposes (the real terrorists have not gone anywhere!) turn into weapons against their own dissident citizens.
And Kara Frederick knows what she’s talking about. In an interview with the Epoch Times, she told in great detail what she was doing on Facebook. As before in the army, she tracked jihadists there — and she had the means of monitoring and «neutralisation» to match the intelligence agencies. And now American social networks, followed by US law enforcement agencies, are doing exactly the same thing with regard to those who do not believe in the effectiveness of fabric masks or believe that transgender students should go to the men’s toilet.
Her words are also confirmed by Congressman Jim Jordan, who told how in the same story with parents who opposed a critical racial theory, the FBI bureaucratic machine very quickly turned the case into a «terrorist threat». And this put at risk the lives and social status of would-be «terrorists», whose whole fault was the desire to know what their children are taught by «progressive» teachers.
It is worth adding that as recently as January 2022, a new unit was created in the US Department of Justice — just for domestic terrorism. Its goal was outlined by the executive assistant director of the FBI’s National Security Division, Jill Sanborn — to confront «the deadly threat posed by white supremacists, anti-government and anti-authority activists”.
But what does Russia and Russians have to do with it?
Everything is simple. Soon, any of your politically incorrect posts published on the American social network, for example about vaccination or BLM protests, or about sexual minorities, or about the white race, or about Hunter Biden’s Ukrainian business, may not just be erased by all-powerful censors for «disinformation» or «hostile statements», but also equated — yes, to extremism or terrorism.
And this will automatically turn the gears of the repressive machine in the face of a dozen US intelligence agencies. At best, they will block your bank cards, and at worst, they will kidnap you with a bag on your head from some tourist country.
Nonsense, exaggeration? Such things simply can’t exist? Alas, everything that has been happening in recent months and years in America and with America says something else: the sad reality is able to surpass the most phantasmagoric predictions there.