Don’t Let Opposition to Big Tech Disguise the Real Intent of Online Safety Bills | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey

But when groups who claim to represent the interests of young people in the face of tech behemoths don’t also recognize the bills they are lobbying for have genuine opponents outside Big Tech, it gives the appearance that anyone arguing against these bills is actually working in favor of tech companies. This is only more complicated by the fact that “holding Big Tech accountable” is now, for better and for worse, a demand shared by much of the political spectrum. Even the purported small-government, pro-corporation Republicans frame their support for such bills as striking a blow against the tech giants. This narrative is part of the GOP’s larger political strategy to reimagine these platforms as anti-MAGA, pro-“woke” censors eager to deplatform and shadowban conservatives.

It’s worth pausing right here. Deplatforming and shadowbanning are not inventions of aggrieved right-wing influencers. Roll the clock back just a few years, and you would be most likely to find political activism against deplatforming and shadowbanning coming from sex workers, from queer and trans communities, from sex educators—internet users that conservatives typically would not mind being marginalized. This isn’t to say that Pizzagate promoter Jack Posobiec stands with progressives against online censorship now; far from it. Rather, it’s a sign that those on the right have seized on tech platforms’ power to restrain speech to position themselves as the champions of free speech.

This kind of role reversal is at the heart of Naomi Klein’s new book, Doppelganger, in which she traces the political transformation of the “other Naomi” she is often confused with online, the conspiracy theory–peddling Naomi Wolf. Klein observes that though Wolf’s pandemic-inspired fever dreams about tech—of a population literally held in “slavery forever” by vaccine passport apps—have no truth to them, to plenty of people, they felt true. “We are indeed living through a revolution in surveillance tech, and state and corporate actors have indeed seized outrageous powers to monitor us, often in collaboration and coordination with one another,” Klein writes. The “conspiracy” Wolf’s world sees behind technology, Klein goes on to argue, is just capitalism—and in her view, the left has not fought Big Tech power nearly hard enough. When the left does not raise the alarm, Klein argues, Big Tech becomes “the terrain of the Bannonite political right, which points to a dangerous ceding of ideological territory.”


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