Well, it’s happened. YouTube said they were coming out with a “limited state” (read: Gulag) for videos that didn’t violate the terms of service (meaning they couldn’t delete them) but were still “offensive” and so are put in a place where the only way to see them appears to be either on the YouTuber’s page or via a direct shared link. You can’t even do that “share” thing with them. They will not appear in recommendations, you cannot like or comment (and likes and comments will be deleted if the video had them prior to being LS’d). And now there’s confirmed reports this system is being used.
This is, of course, in addition to the Adpocolypse 2: Electric Boogaloo, which has lead to a hell of a lot of channels losing the ability to have ads on their videos with absolutely no recourse to get these videos reviewed. A favorite WoW gaming channel of mine, Preach Gaming, recently had a shit ton of their videos thrown into this “no ad” state with no explanation given and no recourse to appeal. And this is all going on while YouTube is doing that shitty “unsubscribe from channels” bullshit too.
On top of that Google, is of course rigging web searches to either hide results or present false results (for example, one can type in something like “white couple” and get 90% returns of interracial or non-white couples. Same for American Inventors, and several other types of searches). It’s been put forth that their intention is to present “counter facts” to “controversial” or “hateful” searches. So if one were to search for “gay child molesters” you might get results that show the “joys of gay adoption.” Or “Muslim rape gangs in the UK” and get stuff sympathetic to Muslims instead. This is, of course, not the only thing they do. Google is probably the most well informed and powerful intelligence agency in the world, and in some ways holds more physical and political power than even the US Government.
And they’re not the only ones. Corporation after corporation has taken political stances (generally left) and used the resources of their company to to support those positions, or more often deny resources and a voice to their opponents. This has been defended as “They are private corporations and can do as they please.”
Basically, this is an argument against corporations being held to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. So where the Government may not do anything to affect the rights of Free Speech, Arms, and Unlawful Search and Seizure, etc, corporations are not bound by these laws. So if a corporation or business wants to ban certain kinds of speech it can, if it wants to ban weapons in locations it can, and it can spy on you to its heart’s content.
My question is…why is this allowed?
Here’s my thing. We know that corporations are bound to obey the laws of the nations they do business in. There are laws that regulate what businesses can and can’t do already. Given that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are the very foundations of Law in the US, why are corporations allowed to not obey the law? Yes, those laws were put in place to limit government power, but there is no logical reason I can think of for why businesses should not made to obey these laws as a limitation on their power as well. Google is a monopoly. Google, functionally, has no competitors capable of rivaling its power and influence. And it’s not the only mega-corporation out there.
Unfortunately, I can’t find out why they don’t have to follow the constitution. I can’t even find an discussion about it.
The thing is…there’s two ways this argument can go. 1) Corporations already have to obey the law, so make them obey the Law and institute it so that corporations must abide by the constitution, bill of rights, etc. 2) Corporations do not need to obey the law because they’re private businesses, in which case they need not obey any law but ones of their own creation.
If Corporations do not have to abide by the fundamental laws and rights set forth, then the case can be made that they have no responsibility to follow the law at all. If a corporation can silence the free speech of a nation’s citizens at a whim, why can’t it order the killing of a nation’s citizens as well? If they do not have to respect the right of privacy, but instead can make up their own laws which allow them to spy unrestricted upon the people taking products and services from them, why should they obey any laws that tell them they may not steal from their “Customers” as well?
In a very real sense, Corporations now possess more wealth, power, intelligence, and rights, than any government on the planet. Functionally, some of them basically are governments already, though more of electronic states than physical ones. And, as Jordan B. Peterson recently found out, if Google wants you gone, they can literally erase everything of yours from their services.
Hell, from a certain perspective YouTube is a nation made up of immigrants who gave their site a population, created resources, built businesses, and turned a place for watching cat videos into the biggest media hub in the world. For this YouTube levied a tax upon its citizens (taking part of their income), created laws for their nation (terms of service), and policed the nation (by removing videos that violated terms of service). Now said nation has created a secret police and a gulag, both of which are active and both of which are putting people who have not violated the law into concentration camps because they are a “threat” (under the vague idea that advertisers might not want to be connected to their videos).
Here’s another thing. We’ve already established that businesses are not allowed to refuse service on the grounds of belief. This has been proven by a number of christian owned businesses being legally forced to violate the terms of their owners beliefs and provide services to those whose actions are in violation of said beliefs. By this logic, everything Google has done to silence views it doesn’t like, is in violation of this same legal principle.
The simple fact is that we must force corporations (and perhaps even similar institutions like Universities) to abide by the Constitution and the founding principles and laws of our nation. Otherwise, corporations will end up possessing powers beyond those which our government is allowed, to the ruin of the populace and their rights. The people must have their rights in both the public and private sectors of life.
There’s an argument to be made, and I personally think this is the next big legal challenge, that these internet bodies are now public utilities. Therefore they cannot legally deny service – my electric company can’t shut off my electricity no matter how much the CEO may hate my politics or religious beliefs as long as I pay my bill. Neither can the water company. Nor can my credit union deny me service based on these. We live in a world where doing business on the internet in some form is simply necessary and a part of life. And that’s why I think there’s something big coming regarding this.
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It is tricky since the Supreme Court has ruled that corporations are persons. They have Constitutional rights. To get further into what they are and how they are treated under the law, means getting into the weeds of corporate law.
I don’t know how the Sherman Anti-Trust Act will be applied in this case, since Google (i.e. Alphabet (their actual name)) is multi-national. Then it gets even trickier since then it goes to the Basle Accords as to how each nation or group handles multi-national corporations.
Long story short, it is very messy and requires teams of lawyers.
I’m very much opposed to the idea that corporations are people, but we have collectively been giving powers to those golems for decades, if not centuries.
However, that’s irrelevant when it comes to freedom of speech, because the only entity forbidden from restricting it according to the constitution is Congress, which “shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech.” Restrictions by the rest of us are offensive and should be criticized vociferously, but they are in no way illegal.