Kevin Bae

Non-Social in a Socially Networked World

Why the full court press against Facebook? Why now?

What the hell is going on with the attack on Facebook? The so-called whistleblower, the WSJ expose with “stolen” documents, and the hearings in Congress right now all smell to high heaven of some other motive than trying to fix Facebook. I think what we’re watching is a full attack on our freedom of speech on the Internet. Facebook is the wedge.

No one is forced to use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, TikTok, or any other social media. You have the freedom to use or not to use those services. If you’re reading this on my blog it’s the same thing. You have a choice whether or not to read this, share this, or totally ignore this. That’s the problem. You have the freedom. Facebook is used by everyone to push ideas, products, or just communicate with family. The same goes for all the other social media services. Government and legacy media is scared of that free flow of information. They don’t have control of it.

Tech companies are eating legacy media’s lunch right now for ad dollars and eyeballs. There are far more sources of independent media than ever before. You can go live with video or audio on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, amongst other services. You can start a podcast with almost no money. That’s in direct competition with traditional broadcast. There are few gatekeepers restricting you. That’s the problem. There is no FCC and no licensing of content production on the Internet. It scares the hell out of politicians and legacy media.

I blogged back in August about the Brookings Institution making some of these arguments as they argued against unmoderated and unregulated podcasting. They are partly funded by Apple and Facebook. Apple, Facebook, Twitter, and the other social media companies are afraid of podcasting. Podcasting doesn’t need them or their infrastructure. If you can host an mp3 file and create an RSS feed that points to that file you’ve created a podcast. It’s the ultimate in freedom of speech especially if you don’t take in traditional advertising.

So why is this happening now? We are one year away from the 2022 elections. Legacy media and the politicians don’t like what has happened during 2020 and 2021 where the general public were fighting back against the totalitarian push by the U.S. government for vaccine mandates, mask mandates, and restriction of our civil liberties. People, credentialed people, have been fighting the narrative that the CDC, NIH, WHO, and other governmental organizations are the sole arbiters of truth and science. There are still valid arguments being waged about the 2020 presidential election as well. The Arizona audit produced two conflicting narratives. One where more votes were found for Biden and the other where there were enough questions over chain of custody, invalid ballots, and other potential fraud that if there was proper record keeping could overturn the election. It’s the same in Georgia where the fight is still on to examine ballots.

The government doesn’t like you talking about these things. The legacy media companies are filled with former government officials and intelligence operators and they don’t like you talking about these things. So they scream that we must protect the children. We have to prevent misinformation (which in their minds is defined by information they don’t agree with). We can’t allow people, aka you and me, to say anything they want to say. It’s too dangerous.

Here’s what I think is going to come out of this. There will be a push for a new government agency to regulate all online speech. Or they will create a new division of the FCC to handle that task. Either way we’re looking at a several billion dollar piece of shit to regulate what you say and think online. Maybe they will even try to license us. Imagine a world where Facebook, Twitter, and the like issue you a license to use their services. Imagine a world where I will need a license to publish this blog or to publish my podcast.

What we have right now is a pandemic of government. There’s too much of it. It’s too powerful. It has permeated all parts of life and media. It has metastasized and we’re all dying from the cancer of government. This decade is the inflection point of whether or not we have a governmentectomy that reduces its size or it consumes the people completely.

This is going to get ugly people. Those that are tech savvy will be able to get around the roadblocks. But it won’t be easy. Let’s hope they can’t stop the signal.