Big Tech enforcement and deplatforming is ever more obviously becoming political and subjective. Despite running it by any number of lawyers, the only real standard for the political stuff is the Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart metric, “I know it when I see it”.
Here’s Google’s latest mandate.
Alphabet-owned Google will not help websites, apps and YouTube channels sell ads alongside content that it deems exploits, dismisses or condones the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, the U.S. company said Wednesday.
Obviously, Google has no such standard for say publishers that run articles claiming that America was to blame for 9/11. There Google either agrees or doesn’t give a damn. But Ukrainian patriotism is at least temporarily mandatory.
Let’s break down that sentence, “alongside content that it deems exploits, dismisses or condones the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict”.
Deems is the key word. It’s a subjective value judgment. Condones is arguably reasonably clear. Exploits? Is there an organization that isn’t “exploiting” it. Are the endless charity ads for Ukraine exploiting the conflict? Maybe, but not according to Google. What about ads for news organizations promoting their coverage of the war? You know what the answer should be and what it will be. But what about “dismisses”? Conveniently, it could mean anything.
It’s convenient to have a term like that in there that covers a lot of ground when the real goal is to provide a blank check for deplatforming opponents.
Now, as a thought experiment, suppose Google were to apply this standard to any of America’s wars against Islamic terrorism? Every single lefty and media org (but I repeat myself) would be screaming about censorship and free speech. Especially the ones smugly lecturing us about how speech cartels silencing political opponents with their monopolistic power has nothing to do with free speech.
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