Big Tech Monopolies are Anything but “Private”

Maxwell Jones
4 min readJun 14, 2022

In the brilliant Briahna Joy Gray’s June 2nd Rising monologue, the former 2020 Sanders Campaign National Press Secretary covers two significant bills regarding social media censorship, one from Texas that was blocked by the Supreme court, and one from Florida in which a preliminary injuction was upheld against the bill.

In her monologue, Gray claims that if the Texas bill had passed, “social media freedoms would have been seriously curtailed.” She goes on to describe the judges in the Supreme Court who dissented from the bill as “anti-speech,” and suggests that the court’s decision to label the the moderation that social media platforms utilize (banning users, demonetization, algorithmic deprioritization, suppression of news stories, etc.) as a part of their first amendment rights, and in the case of the Florida bill, claims that Republican lawmakers “couldn’t care less” about the first-amendment rights of these companies.

Knowing that the Supreme Court has ruled that corporations do have first amendment rights and that the First Amendment does not limit private businesses, Gray’s characterization of the bills’ advocates as anti-speech and the 11th Circuit Court of Appeal’s ruling that “these platforms are private actors”, appear totally sound. The problem with these claims is that they ignore a crucial aspect of today’s corporate landscape; corporate presence in government has never been stronger, especially the relationship between Big Tech and the Democratic Party.

Can Today’s Social Media Platforms Really be Described as “Private Actors?”

To get an idea of how “private” modern social media companies today actually are, all we need to do is look at how Big Tech giants have already wielded their censorious powers, and at how they’ve invested their boatloads of cash in the party duopoly.

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals claimed that the right for platforms to curate speech as they see fit, free of government mandates,

“develops particular market niches, fosters different sorts of online communities, and promote[s] various values and viewpoints.”

In other words, in the current social media landscape, the ability for these companies to censor and curate speech as they see fit allegedly fosters a wide variety of viewpoints and values. The court must have forgotten that we can literally see, just by looking at how these platforms have curated speech in the past, that this claim is nothing but pure fantasy. The censorship of — those who challenged the mainstream narrative on the Bucha incident in Ukraine, dissenting voices on vaccine policy/efficacy, ANTIFA groups on Twitter, ChapoTraphouse on Reddit, #StoptheSteal advocates, the now verifiably real Hunter Biden laptop story, and all of Russian media on YouTube — proves Big Tech censorship has only worked to narrow the discourse of the most important political events of our time in a pro-establishment, anti-dissent direction.

What this tells us, relating to how “private” these companies are, is that their censorship of stories always silences viewpoints that challenge the establishment narrative, and in particular, the Democratic Party establishment narrative. This is especially apparent in the censorship of the Hunter Biden laptop story, which Twitter claimed used “hacked materials” with no evidence. When we look at how Silicon Valley has financially invested in the Democrats with dark money, the intent of their censorship becomes more clear. This is, according to Chris Hedges, “a part of a dirty quid pro” in which big tech carries water for the Democrats by censoring critics and in return, the Democrats won’t touch their monopolies.

Even more incriminating, big tech CEOs have openly stated their biases in censorship, such as when the Youtube CEO confessed that the platform uses separate algorithms for independent news and “authoritative sources.” The most fascistic and dystopic admission yet, though, was when a Yotube executive admitted that the video platform consults “government authorities” when deciding what to censor.

Once aware of the financial agreements between the Democratic establishment and Big Tech monopolies, as well as their strategic cooperation in silencing dissenting voices, it becomes silly to refer to these social media companies as “private actors”, and the Conservatives advocating to restrict the censorship powers of these companies as “anti-speech”, at least in this case.

The Solution?

Unfortunately, it’s not completely clear. Is this bill, which would surely limit the censorship ability of these big tech giants, the solution to corporate censorship? Probably not. These monopolies would ultimately still exist, and still possess their egregious financial power. In a system where both parties are corrupted by corporate money, that means the Silicon Valley kingpins can always just buy influence over the Republican Party too, and do censorship for them instead.

That being said, labeling attempts to restrict the censorship of these companies, for political reasons or not, as anti-speech, or describing the striking down of these bills as a First Amendment victory, is naive at best. While these bills are almost definitely not a permanent solution, they would work to take power away from these tech giants and the Democratic party, and give some power (through freedom of expression) back to the citizens of the internet. As the cooperation between the corporation and the state increases, this shift in power is necessary, most likely on a more massive scale, for us to truly have freedom of speech in the age of the internet.