The famous phrase, “Big brother is watching you”, is taken from George Orwell’s famous novel, 1984: A dystopian novel that depicts a society under constant surveillance of an authoritarian regime. The citizens of Oceania are constantly being watched through telescreens. This novel was first published in 1949. Fast-forward to 2020, we are slowly seeing the world evolving into an Orwellian society.
Big tech is watching you
In April 2019, NBC news reported that Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg oversaw plans to consolidate the social media network’s power and control competitors by treating its users’ data as bargaining chips. It was reported that Zuckerberg along with his board, found ways to tap Facebook’s data- including information about friends, relationships and photos- as leverage over companies it partnered with. In some cases, Facebook rewarded favored companies by giving them access to the data of its users.
This kind of behavior is not common to Facebook. In May 2019, it was reported that Snapchat employees were using the app to obtain vital information from users without their consent. Harvard business professor, Shoshana Zuboff once wrote, “once we searched Google. Now, Google searches us.” It seems like no one is safe from the prying eyes of big tech. Big tech is literally watching you.
The rise of the Thought Police
Over the past couple of months, Facebook and other social media networks have banned Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos and other “extremists.”
On July 28th 2020, Twitter suspended Donald Trump Jr. for posting a video of medical doctors affirming the use of Hydroxychloroquine as a cure for COVID-19. Big tech further went on to take down the video, tagging it, “misleading and potentially harmful information.”
For several days, left-leaning media continually smeared the names of these doctors and even tagged one of them as insane. They ignored the hundreds of research published by various medical journals affirming that Hydroxychloroquine works. In an article titled, The key to defeating COVID-19 already exists, Harvey A. Risch, professor of Epidemiology, Yale University clearly stated that when administered early, Hydroxychloroquine works. So why has big tech and the media discredited and debased anyone that dares to speak the facts concerning this drug that has been used for decades?
On August 5th, 2020, Facebook and Twitter removed a video posted by President Donald Trump in which he said children are “almost immune from this disease.” Conservatives in particular have been on the receiving end of big tech’s regulation of free speech.
We live in a society that is becoming increasingly polarized so harmful information may be healthy information to another and vise-versa.
In George Orwell’s 1984, the Thought Police are the secret police of the state who discover and punish “thought crimes”. I dare to say that big tech is playing the role of the Thought Police in today’s world.
We live in a world where tech companies are more powerful than government of nations so censoring free speech is a big deal and we must kick against it. In my opinion, big tech companies are slowly becoming the fascists of today.
Comedian Ricky Gervais, a self-proclaimed, ‘old fashioned liberal lefty, champagne socialist typed of guy’, recently described the cancel culture as “a kind of strange fascism.” He further stated, “There is a new kind of strange fascism of people who think they know what you can say and what you cannot and that is really a strange thing. Just because you’re offended doesn’t mean you’re right.”
One of the reasons I believe big tech’s censorship is very dangerous is because it destroys the culture of healthy debates. Its wrong to ‘cancel’ someone because you disagree with him/her. Disagreeing with people has been a part of human culture for ages and anytime a small percentage of individuals have stifled the freedom of speech of the masses, it has resulted in negative circumstances.
When we disagree with people, the rational human response has always been to counter their opinions through healthy debates and not to debase them or cancel them. If human civilization is to progress, all sides of the political spectrum must be heard and respected. We must all learn to remove the logs from our eyes before we attempt to remove the speck in the eyes of others.
Rume Kpadamrophe is an evangelist, writer, teacher and researcher based in Lagos, Nigeria. Rume speaks French and English and loves to travel. His desire is to see revival ignited and sustained in the nations of the world. Rume’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Rume’s previous articles may be viewed at https://www.pressserviceinternational.org/rume-padsmrophe.html