The intrepid team at Media Research Center has a new report card out grading Big Tech’s actions during the first quarter of 2021, and it would make any parent shudder. Overall, the big six firms of Amazon, Twitter, Apple, Google, Facebook, and YouTube receive an “F” grade from the conservative media group.
The report by MRC’s Heather Moon and Dan Gainor is a comprehensive recap of many of the concerns that conservatives have with these powerful technology companies, from their policing of online free speech to user transparency to bias and responsiveness to user complaints.
MRC says it plans to issue a report card each quarter, and perhaps Apple will get a slight bump in Q2 for news this week that Apple will reinstate the conservative-leaning Parler app on its App Store following its ban since January. This news was confirmed in a letter Apple dated Monday sent to Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.), made in a Twitter post by Congressman Buck.
“Similar to Google, Apple pulled the Parler app over claims that the Capitol riot was organized unfettered on the Parler platform,” MRC writes. “However, Apple’s take doesn’t tell the full story. It was reported that Facebook was the source of much of the organizing. Despite the reports on Facebook’s involvement, Apple did not even threaten Facebook to clean up its platform.”
In looking at Internet marketplace giant Amazon, MRC notes in its analysis of Amazon’s bias that “While Amazon took action against several prominent conservative products, it was found to be selling at least 270 hateful items. At the time the study was done, efforts to find similar items promoting violence toward Democrats was fruitless. Though it pulled [Ryan] Anderson’s book [‘When Harry Became Sally’] taking a stance against transgender ideology, it did not pull a book responding to Anderson’s book called ‘Let Harry Become Sally.’ It also sold books such as Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf,’ Mussolini’s ‘My Autobiography,’ Marx’s ‘Communist Manifesto,’ and the Unabomber’s manifesto despite saying that its new policy prevented selling any books containing ‘hate speech.’ It pulled the Clarence Thomas documentary during Black History Month while continuing to stream documentaries about radical leftists. Grade: F”
MRC cites specific examples of problems it sees with Facebook’s fact-checking regime: “There are many examples where Facebook applied a fact-check that cited an article that has absolutely nothing to do with the post whatsoever. Some off-the-mark fact-checks included fact-checks under posts by The Blaze commentator Steve Deace and conservative radio host Todd Starnes promoting their respective Parler pages and various Bill O’Reilly videos posted on The Resurgent’s Facebook page. Facebook also fact-checked a Liz Wheeler video discussing a bill introduced in New York, labeling it as ‘partly false’ because the bill was not yet scheduled for committee consideration and did not have a co-sponsor. Facebook’s fact-checking organizations arbitrarily came after a Dr. Seuss meme, a Family Circus meme, and The Federalist. The fact-checking system is irredeemably horrible, and the concept of it is autocratic and condescending. Grade: F”
Technology ultimately is simply a tool, neither good nor bad. Its outcomes are a function of its administrators. Conservatives love innovation and welcome dialogue with tech administrators to improve the user experience and see that rules are applied equally. Here’s hoping Big Tech’s grades rise in Q2 2021 and beyond.