I dare say no other human being on the face of the Earth has written as many words as I have about the existential threat the Internet Cartel poses to free speech, the free press and freedom of religion in America.
It’s not because I’m smarter or more insightful than everyone else. Rather, it’s because I witnessed first-hand, beginning in 2017, the devastating impact that ideological bias by Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon and Apple was having on WND.com, my own 21-year-old independent news company. I saw traffic and advertising revenues nosedive, just as other similar sites did following the 2016 presidential election.
So, beginning in January 2018, I began chronicling what was happening. Since then, it has become common knowledge that the Digital Cartel has it in for sites like WND, for conservatives, for Republicans and for Christians. They have been banned. They have been discriminated against in searches to the benefit of left-wing content. They have been marginalized. And they have been deprived of advertising as punishment for their views.
Recently, I find myself being asked more frequently what we can do about the problem. That’s good news. People don’t ask what we can do about a problem until they recognize there is a problem. I believe we have reached that critical turning point.
What most people don’t yet understand is that Google, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter don’t have the legal right to take sides in the political debate – like WND.com does or like the Huffington Post does. They are not “publishers.” They are more akin to public utilities – and they benefit financially because of this status. The Communications Decency Act immunizes these companies against any torts that may arise from activities conducted on their platforms. They can’t be sued or prosecuted for defamation, libel, or indeed for any criminal activity that is generated by these Internet domains. That’s because they claim to be mere “carriers,” like the old phone company, and therefore can’t be held responsible for conversations, postings or other online materials that involve illegal or otherwise dubious actors.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has pointed out that this unique designation also assumes these “utilities” will serve all equally and not discriminate against people, companies or publishers based on their ideology or religious views. After all, Congress could never have passed such a law in the first place if it allowed these “utilities” to engage in ideological or religious discrimination but exempted them from any legal consequences for violations, since that would blatantly infringe on the free speech, press and religion rights guaranteed all Americans by the First Amendment.
What this clearly demonstrates is that the Internet Cartel is already in violation of the Communications Decency Act. By using its special “utility” status to promote partisan politics, adopt a consistent left-wing lens in its presentation of the news, ban content objectionable to the anti-Christian bigots at the Southern Poverty Law Center, and use algorithms in search and display that punish conservatives, Republicans and other non-leftists, the cartel members abuse their special status as mere “carriers” of data.
One simple way to bring Google-Facebook into compliance is to revoke that special status – though it’s a little late in the game, since the cartel has already profited mightily over many years as companies operating under those special privileges.
Sometimes people say to me: “Farah, why don’t you just go into competition with Google and Facebook and stop complaining about them? Why don’t you create your own search engine and social media company and do it right?”
There are two answers to that question:
- It’s a bad time to ask me to do that when these companies have done everything in their power to put me out of business, depriving me and others of the right to play on the kind of level playing field required for the privileges bestowed by government on them;
- Any would-be competitor to Google and Facebook would also be forced to compete without the special privileges government has granted to the cartel.
Dropping the special government-granted benefits Google and Facebook enjoy wouldn’t be a perfect solution. In fact, it would unleash the cartel to legally treat the independent media, conservatives, Republicans and Christians even more harshly – if that is possible. But at least it would open up competition that has been missing for too long.
In the meantime, let me remind you that sites like WND are operating on borrowed time. Google and Facebook and the rest of the cartel are having their way with us. They’re killing us – softly but not slowly. Without direct financial support from people who recognize the unique service we provide in the ALT-NEWS category, we would be goners. We appreciate your rescue efforts as always. Here are two ways you can help:
1. Support WND, the original pioneer in independent news 21 years ago, all through August by helping us raise $100,000 as we battle the cartel for survival in our roughest month yet. We’re hunkered down and many are working without pay. I’ve subsidized WND with all the money I have and there is no more left. We thank you for getting us nearly 25 percent of the way to our total so far.
2. You can also support WND’s groundbreaking new book, “The Gospel in Every Book of the Old Testament,” with your tax-deductible contributions in any amount to the fabulous missions organization, Gospel for All Nations, which has adopted the project to help spread the truth of the Good News around the world. This book, coming out in hardcover in September, is an important part of WND’s recovery, rebirth and revitalization plan for later this year. Your help with book-printing and marketing expenses will help immensely to weather this storm – not to mention help us distribute this compelling and redemptive “breakthrough Bible book.”