Silicon Valley – -(AmmoLand.com)- A recent series of bans by Facebook and Twitter is bringing the question of censorship by the giant technology companies from Silicon Valley to the fore. This is not a minor issue – how this shakes out will decide whether or not Second Amendment supporters can even make an argument for our rights online.
To understand how social media had been prior to the 2016 election, take a typical commentary from Ammoland. Second Amendment supporters could post a link to it, and it would give their friends and family a chance to get the facts on a given issue involving the Second Amendment. In essence, social media had become a way to bypass the biases of major media outlets like NBC (including MSNBC), ABC, CBS, CNN, the New York Times, and the Washington Post.
Well, we know what happened in 2016: Trump pulled off the biggest upset in a presidential race since 1948. Since then Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube – among other social network companies – have begun to cater to the demands of anti-Second Amendment extremists. They meddled with search results to improve the rankings of arguments against law-abiding firearms owners. Effective voices began to be shadow-banned – their tweets and posts were rendered far less accessible to their followers. Videos and posts were “demonetized,” meaning that they couldn’t be used to generate revenue.
At the same time, payment companies like PayPal and Stripe began to make their own moves against Second Amendment supporters. Want to buy a firearm? You can’t use those services. PayPal also aligned with the anti-hunting Humane Society of the United States. Second Amendment-friendly processing companies like GunPal and PistolPay have not gained any transaction. McMillan Merchant Solutions, created in the wake of Bank of America’s political decision to drop McMillan as a customer, seems like a decent option to fill the gap.
Now, that discussion of the effects of corporate gun control might be seen as a useless diversion, but it is really part of the answer in dealing with Silicon Valley censorship. Second Amendment supporters need to develop or find alternative social media. This is a bit of a long-term project, admittedly. Facebook took eight years to dominate when it bought Instagram and WhatsApp. Gab and Parler are holding themselves out as free-speech social networks, but it will take time and major users (like President Trump) making the switch for them to even compete with Facebook and Twitter.
In the short and medium term, though, there are some other options. One is to push for vigorous enforcement of Section 230. If Facebook and Twitter decide to act like publishers, then they can be treated like publishers. This means that due to their decision to favor certain viewpoints, rather than act as an honest broker, they can be held as liable as a conventional publisher for defamatory posts. There are other tools available as well, including possibly the anti-trust laws.
In a real sense, the censorship by Silicon Valley – and the fact that anti-Second Amendment extremists are pushing for that censorship – is a sign that Second Amendment supporters are winning the argument. That doesn’t mean we should be complacent, but should instead fight harder to make sure our message gets out.
On a side note: AmmoLand News has more readers than the NRA has members; grow that reach by subscribing to their email list. If every AmmoLand News reader added two more people to that daily email list we can crush the so called main stream media infulence with our own message.
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.