Allum Bokhari’s just released book, “DELETED,” makes an impressive case that the Internet has become the transit that tech companies use to censor everything we read, hear, say, or think.
In one chapter Bokhari wrote about Dr. Robert Epstein, former editor in chief of Psychology Today, who has studied potential effects of search engine results on political decision-making for years. In 2013 Epstein selected a diverse set of American participants and presented them with a choice between two political candidates.
Participants were given brief profiles of the candidates, and asked to rate each one according to five measurements. Votes for the two candidates were evenly split among the participants who were then divided into three groups. Two groups were given programmed search engines with heavily biased information toward one or the other candidate. The third group was given balanced information, and each group was given 15 minutes “to search the Internet.”
Results: “The proportion of people favoring the search engine’s top-ranked candidate increased by 48.4 percent, and all five of our measures shifted toward that candidate. What’s more, 75 percent of the people in the bias groups seemed to have been completely unaware that they were viewing biased search rankings.”
Bokhari wrote, “As a result of his research, Epstein has called Google the ‘most powerful mind-control engine ever created.’ He believes that the vast power of search engines to alter our political preferences stems from the fact that the users of the technology don’t perceive search results to be biased.”
In a later chapter Bokhari wrote about “The Good Censor,” an inside document leaked out of Google in October 2018. Quoting the document he wrote, “big tech firms [the document cites Google, Facebook, and Twitter] have gradually shifted away from unmediated free speech and towards censorship and moderation.” (Please note that Google, Facebook, and Twitter lean hard LEFT favoring Biden and undermining Trump.)
The document itself admits these companies control the majority of online communication. Authors of the document discuss only two models of controlling speech on the Internet: one that “prioritizes free speech for democracy,” and another that “favors dignity over liberty and civility over freedom.” The document also says that since 2016 all major tech platforms have shifted their control away from free speech and toward “dignity” and “civility,” i.e. censorship.
During the pandemic we’ve heard a lot of debate from those who value liberty (Bill of Rights) vs. those who value safety (follow the science). These days we can’t have it both ways given the government’s new orders and authority.
For example, Kenneth Cleveland, M.D., Executive Director of Mississippi State Board of Medical Licensure sent the following memo to “All Licensees of the Medical Board,” after receiving complaints about licensees’ advice not being “consistent with the guidance and/or orders coming from MS Department of Health (MSDH) and the Governor’s office.”
Cleveland continued, “Orders from the MSDH and the Governor’s office are legally binding orders and should be obeyed to the greatest extent possible. If you are asked to advise a public or private institution, or for that matter if you are advising a patient, you should base your advice on evidence-based medicine and not personal views.”
At every political level authorities are making us do it what they deem best. We are being mislead and divided.
Gardner is a syndicated columnist who lives in Starkville. E-mail reaches him at [email protected]
The Dispatch Editorial Board is made up of publisher Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, managing editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.