Shamokin PA

Unholy alliances

Facebook rejected a Holy Week advertisement from the Franciscan University of Steubenville that featured the San Damiano Cross, an iconic image that has been around for nearly a thousand years. Facebook has since apologized, stating, “sometimes we make mistakes.”

These so-called “mistakes” are intensifying.

Facebook changed its algorithms in January, harming countless sites that promote emerging journalistic talent that counters the mainstream’s failure of the trade. Websites providing Christian and conservative news were affected by a precipitous drop in web traffic because so many of them are small operations on shoestring budgets.

Since the algorithm change the transformation has been nothing short of revolutionary. The Outline, a digital media tracking company, reported that “Breitbart’s engagement dropped by 28 percent and PragerU dropped 32 percent despite publishing 18 percent more content during the same time period. Moreover, engagement on Donald Trump’s Facebook posts dropped sharply.”

Sky News reported that last year Facebook barred a traditional marriage campaign site and either blocked or removed more than two dozen sites belonging to conservative Catholic organizations and individuals, affecting millions. While the pages were eventually restored, plenty of income was lost, which is pivotal in keeping such sites afloat. Fox News’ Todd Starnes emphasized, “Facebook has a dark history of blocking conservative and Christian pages.”

The traffic numbers of most predominantly liberal sites remained unaffected.

Facebook continually promotes the liberal agenda, while serving as a champion cash cow for Democrats. Arguably, Facebook is the largest community in the world and is anything but democratic. It is the communist China of social media. An army of harmless looking Emojis possess the capability to produce an algorithm that can silence a conservative voice. Perhaps even George Orwell couldn’t have pictured such willful arrogance? Facebook and other social justice warrior sites have devolved into what they supposedly fought against — cyberbullies.

Facebook, for many, has become their prime source of information with their ubiquitous news’ feeds. Facebook secures data from users and exploits it as a marketing tool that provides a steady source of income that, in turn, markets products to their users. What many may or may not realize is that they have willingly surrendered their privacy, security and rights when they clicked “I agree” to a Terms of Service Agreement that no one I know ever reads.

If your business is vested in having Facebook grow your operations they already have your business and want to use it against you — provided you fail to toe the liberal line.

Google parallels Facebook and is more pimp than prince. Google is anything but just a search engine and a video sharing site. It’s a browser that produces phones and computers that record, sell and market your searches.

Google is a gatekeeper, too.

In 2008, Google refused to allow anti-abortion advertisements, but accepted pro-abortion ones. Google often blacklists certain sites from hosting ads, which denies them revenue. Recently, Google-owned YouTube ended income for one site that it deemed, “offensive content.” Last June, Google was fined $2.7 billion by the European Commission for violating its antitrust law.

Too many trust Google to follow their motto: “Don’t be evil.”

According to last week’s Wall Street Journal, Facebook will require advertisers to go through an “authorization process before running ads on political issues.” If history is any indication of what this means, leftist opinions will be acceptable, while conservative thought will be labeled hateful.

Facebook, Google, Twitter and YouTube enjoy political power and influence that surpasses the monopolistic days of Big Oil, as they control the vast flow of online commerce. Each entity presents a genuine threat to conservatives with their monopolistic domination that manipulates inquiry and limits public discourse.

This results in stymied competition that handcuffs the free market of ideas, while consolidating their power and influence. The time has arrived for these unrestrained behemoths to encounter a Teddy Roosevelt-esque trust busting as public utilities.

Provided nothing is done, the Christian and conservative voice and their virtual presence on the internet will undergo a Doug MacArthur and simply fade away.

Those who cherish liberty need to pushback against censorship by these social media monopolies because of the massive power they wield to shut down what they don’t agree with.

To do anything less would be un-American.

(Maresca, a local freelance writer, composes “Talking Points” for each Sunday edition.)