Trump Is Right to Take on Big Tech | Opinion

Social media companies have made it possible for organizations with non-left views, like PragerU, to get around powerful entities controlled by the left: the education system, the mainstream media and Hollywood. Thanks mostly to YouTube and Facebook, we at PragerU have been able to speak directly to millions of people online.

These social media companies now regret this. Beginning in 2016, they have increasingly asserted control over what they allow users to post and view in order to put the conservative genie back in the bottle.

PragerU is a leader in the fight to keep the internet open to all points of view. When YouTube would not stop restricting our videos, including videos on topics as non-political as the Ten Commandments, we took them to court. Most liberals agree with us that censorship is wrong—but leftists do not, and the hard left controls Big Tech. They use Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 (CDA) to give themselves cover.

Section 230 states that internet sites like Facebook and YouTube can't be sued for any content users place on their sites. Twenty-five years ago, when the Internet and social media platforms were just getting started, this made sense. It doesn't anymore.

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Facebook, YouTube (owned by Google) and Twitter essentially control what most of the world sees. And with each passing year, they exert more and more control. Over time, this has passed from the kind of common-sense restrictions envisioned by the Congress that added Section 230—banning pornography and videos on how to make a terror bomb—to clear political censorship.

President Donald Trump recognizes this.

His executive order rightfully calls out Big Tech for its bias and unfair legal protection. The next step is for Congress to undertake a long overdue review and reform of the CDA so that its free speech intent is restored.

President Trump's executive order also acknowledges the fact that Big Tech has joined Hollywood and higher education in an all-out war against non-left-wing ideas.

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PragerU features five-minute videos on a wide variety of topics by liberals and conservatives, blacks and whites, men and women, gays and straights, four Pulitzer Prize winners, three former prime ministers and professors from MIT, Harvard, Stanford and many other universities. Yet less than two weeks ago, Facebook announced it will drastically reduce the reach of our page by labeling us as a source of false information—essentially deeming us "fake news."

This prevents PragerU, one of the biggest non-left sites in the world, from reaching the huge international audience—of mostly people under the age of 35—we have built over the last decade. Facebook reduced our news feed distribution and censored our content even from people who have chosen to follow our page. But it's more insidious than that: Facebook warns those who choose to share our posts, "You might be sharing false information," and threatens to reduce the reach of their feed, too.

This latest round of censorship arrived less than two weeks after Facebook announced the first members of its new global oversight board. A few conservatives and libertarians have been selected to join this group solely to provide cover for the left-wing censorship now taking place.

Facebook's current censorship of PragerU started with a post about polar bears.

In the video, PragerU challenges the misleading use of images of an emaciated polar bear by climate change activists. This imagery signaled polar bears' impending doom. The truth is that polar bear numbers have grown.

We point out, for example, that the National Geographic photographer who filmed the bear admitted a year after her clip went viral, "Perhaps we made a mistake in not telling the full story—that we were looking for a picture that foretold the future and that we didn't know what had happened to this particular bear."

Facebook's "fact-checkers" labeled PragerU's video "false information" because it was so declared by Climate Feedback. Climate Feedback is a left-wing climate crisis site that declares every scientist who disputes any element of the most apocalyptic vision of Earth's future as "false."

The author of the scientific study behind PragerU's polar bear video, Dr. Susan Crockford, is a scientist and published expert who has studied polar bear populations for more than a decade. She immediately released a statement refuting the claims of Climate Feedback's review. She also noted that data used by scientists is often contradictory, contributing to "a classic conflict that happens all the time in science but presents no proof that [she is] wrong or that the PragerU video is inherently 'false.'"

President Trump's Twitter account
President Trump's Twitter account OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images

Facebook next flagged as "false information" our 2016 video on climate change that was given by one of the most prominent climatologists in the world, MIT atmospheric physicist Professor Richard Lindzen. Titled "Climate Change: What Do Scientists Say," it summarizes some of the dubious science behind global warming alarmism. Mr. Lindzen has written more than 200 scientific papers. But Climate Feedback attacked it, and that was enough for Facebook to slap a "false" label on it.

And there is no appeal process. Facebook tells you to go back to the leftist fact-checker and convince them yourself.

The real problem is Facebook's refusal to allow debate. The company claims its mission is "to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together." They don't mean it.

What they want is for everyone to comply with the left's worldview. Lacking the courage to say it openly, they hide behind their third-party "review boards." Under the cover of "science," they can slap a fake news label on whatever they wish.

Here's where we now stand. If Facebook doesn't like one of your posts, they can decide that none of your content is fit to be seen.

How will free speech survive if Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Spotify—in essence, the modern-day "town square"—can strangle it?

For the first time American history, America is in real danger of losing the very thing that made it possible: free speech.

President Trump has taken action. Love him or hate him, he is right now the last, best hope of freedom of speech in America.

Marissa Streit is CEO of PragerU.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.

Trump Is Right to Take on Big Tech | Opinion | Opinion