Big Tech: From Threat to Savior of Democracy?

In the course of a week, big tech has gone from being one of the great threats to American democracy to being the self-proclaimed savior of American democracy.

Congress last year was discussing using federal anti-trust laws to break up Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Alphabet, Inc’s Google for engaging in anti-competitive, monopolistic business practices.

A bipartisan Congressional investigation concluded: “These firms have too much power, and that power must be reined in and subject to appropriate oversight and enforcement. Our economy and democracy are at stake.”

Meanwhile, the leaders of Google, Facebook and Twitter were hauled before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee to answer charges they engage in selective censorship of Republican content on the internet. They denied it but GOP pressed for repeal of a federal law that protects these platforms from lawsuits.

Big tech was on the defensive then but things have changed.

Tables Turn

Given recent events, it is stunning that in the past week big tech literally shut down speech over the Internet by the GOP President of the United States, various high-ranking GOP elected officials and prominent conservative commentators. They also nuked the social network Parler, a rising alternative to Twitter.

Google, Facebook and Twitter justify their actions by claiming the GOP targets pose a threat to democracy because they questioned the integrity of the recent Presidential election. The platforms blame their targets for a small group of thugs breaking into the Capitol building – which at the time had virtually no security measures in place – during a Jan. 6 Trump rally on election fraud.

Americans were literally flocking to Parlor, which was reliant upon Amazon for web cloud computing power. Amazon Web Services reportedly told Parler it was pulling the plug because it was not convinced that Parler’s plan to moderate threats of violence would be effective. Amazon is owned by Jeff Bezos, who also owns The Washington Post.

But the so called attempted coup is not all that has changed in recent days.

Thanks in large part to big tech, the Democratic Party on Jan. 20 will assume control of both chambers of Congress, having won a special Senate runoff election on Jan. 5 in Georgia.

‘Follow the Money’

There is an old adage in journalism that to find the truth one should “follow the money.”

Big tech donated heavily to the two Democratic candidates who won Senate seats in Georgia’s runoff election. Big tech donated so heavily that one might question whether the Democratic Party owes its control of Congress to big tech.

The Center for Responsive Politics reports the following were the top donors to Ossloff’s campaign:

  • Alpabet Inc. (owner of Google and YouTube), $952,685.
  • University of California, $504.059.
  • Apple Inc., $295,794.
  • Microsoft Corp., $275,864.
  • Amazon.com, $261.837.
  • Facebook Inc., $225,313.

Ossloff raised a total of $138 million, compared to $89 million raised by his opponent, incumbent GOP U.S. Sen. David Perdue.

The Center states its donation figures represent aggregate data and include donations from the organizations’ PACS, their individual members or employees or owners and those individuals immediate families.

Center For Responsive Politics

Oddly, the Center does not list Warnock’s top donors on its web site, stating only that he raised $125 million compared to $92 million raised by his opponent, incumbent GOP U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler.

Fox reported on Jan. 4 that Warnock received $747,340 from Alphabet, $392,942 from the University of California, $233,187 from Apple, $222,348 from Amazon and $174,394 from Facebook.

A spokesperson for the Center for Responsive Politics said Monday that it has not listed Warnock’s donors because Warnock has not held federal office before, adding, “Once he is sworn in, we will have a complete profile.” The Center declined to explain how this explanation makes any sense whatsoever.

The major donor to the Center, which claims to be non-partisan, is Michael Bloomberg, a former Democratic candidate for President who owns the Bloomberg media empire.

Bottom line: Does anyone but Nancy Pelosi buy big tech’s claim to be a savior of American democracy.? Or are those who doubt the claim yet another example of uneducated white supremacists who frequent Applebees and the Olive Garden to discuss unfounded conspiracy theories?

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