On The Front Lines
Rutherford Institute Warns Tech Giants: Attempts to Censor Unpopular Viewpoints Online Run Afoul of First Amendment
MENLO PARK, Calif. — Denouncing attempts by big tech companies and social media platforms to silence controversial, provocative and/or politically unpopular viewpoints, The Rutherford Institute has warned that any move to de-platform, shadowban, and demonetize users based on their viewpoints will subject private corporations working in conjunction with the U.S. government to the strictures of the First Amendment. In recent months, Google, Facebook, YouTube and other social media companies have taken steps to crack down on content that disputes accepted views on COVID-19; that could be considered “fake” news by establishment sources; or that could be perceived as promoting “hatred, intolerance, violence or discrimination.” The sites targeted for censorship include those of David Icke for questioning the prevailing orthodoxy regarding the COVID-19 pandemic; Zero Hedge for not blocking reader comments that violates Google’s policies on race; and The Federalist, also for allegedly racist remarks posted in its comments section.
“What we are witnessing is the modern-day equivalent of book burning, which does away with controversial ideas and the people who espouse them,” said constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute and author of Battlefield America: The War on the American People. “This form of technofascism—large technology corporations with control over information colluding with governments to stifle forms of dissent that challenge an elitist status quo—is a slippery slope that starts with censoring so-called illegitimate ideas and ends by silencing truth.”
The Rutherford Institute, a nonprofit civil liberties organization, provides legal assistance at no charge to individuals whose constitutional rights have been threatened or violated and educates the public on a wide spectrum of issues affecting their freedoms.