U.S.A. – -(AmmoLand.com)- The internet has been a bonanza for Second Amendment supporters. In essence, it has allowed them to bypass the mainstream media to give them the facts needed to show the logic in pro-Second Amendment public policies. Well, the gun-grabbers got tired of it, and they’re starting to make moves to end this channel of information.
The internet made a lot of changes. The good was how much information was placed at people’s fingertips. However, while we were busy organizing and relying on the internet, several companies grew so big they became the shot-callers online. You know the names: Apple, Google, Facebook, Twitter.
In the wake of the 2016 election, sore losers who oppose our Second Amendment rights were among those calling on Silicon Valley to do something. They started to do just that. Google issued new rules for its YouTube subsidiary in the wake of the Parkland shooting, cracking down on videos that included instructions on how to modify a firearm.
YouTube has also been willing to de-monetize various videos, usually, ones with viewpoints counter to that of Google execs. Meanwhile, Facebook has been cracking down on so-called “fake news.” Twitter has allowed vicious shots taken at pro-Second Amendment activist Dana Loesch to stay up, while acting quickly against disfavored viewpoints.
Those are just a few examples, but the existential danger is clearly there. If Silicon Valley is able to censor pro-Second Amendment activists, then the field is ceded to the mainstream media – as it was until not so long ago. But they don’t have to resort to outright censorship. Silicon Valley can be much more subtle – and still do damage to our right to keep and bear arms.
Fiddling with search results can be one way to do so. If you type in “why semiautomatic rifles should be legal,” you’d probably expect to see the NRA at or near the top. But the first result is for anything the NRA has to say on this issue is pretty far down the page, and the top result is a CNN commentary saying a ban on certain semi-automatic firearms would be constitutional.
Keep in mind, the search was for why they should be LEGAL. Yet, Google’s first offering is a commentary on why a ban is constitutional. There is obviously something at work here, and it isn’t about providing the consumer with a straight answer to the question.
The good news is that there is something that can address this. It is already a matter of law, and it can be enforced with a pen and a phone. It’s known as Section 230. According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, this provision, enacted in 1996 as part of the Communications Decency Act, protects online intermediaries from legal liability for passing information on from other users.
There is a catch – these entities have to be honest brokers. They can limit for intellectual property claims or for violations of the law, but efforts to restrict must be taken in good faith to “obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable.” It is an open question as to whether Google’s algorithm putting a commentary favoring a semi-auto ban at the top of the list of results in search for why semi-automatic rifles should be legal is really operating in good faith.
When the fact about Second Amendment issues get out there, Second Amendment supporters tend to win far more often than not. If Silicon Valley succeeds in muzzling pro-Second Amendment voices, Dianne Feinstein may well get the chance to say, “Mr. and Mrs. America, turn `em in.”
About Harold Hutchison
Writer Harold Hutchison has more than a dozen years of experience covering military affairs, international events, U.S. politics and Second Amendment issues. Harold was consulting senior editor at Soldier of Fortune magazine and is the author of the novel Strike Group Reagan. He has also written for the Daily Caller, National Review, Patriot Post, Strategypage.com, and other national websites.