Those were among the first words I (Chris Lowe) wrote to you as editor of The Daily Cut.
It was August 2018. We’d just created this e-letter to make sure you never miss a big idea from Teeka Tiwari, Jeff Brown, Bill Bonner, Doug Casey… and the rest of the Legacy Research team.
We figured it was the best way to make sure you could hear from these independent voices, unfiltered and uncensored.
You see, we had just been the target of Big Tech censorship.
As I wrote in my welcome letter, Legacy – along with dozens of other independent newsletter publishers – had just gotten some disturbing notices from Google and Facebook.
Calling us “sensationalist,” Silicon Valley’s censors told us they were banning us from publishing on their platforms – unless we complied with their “guidelines” (aka rules).
They said we had to stop sharing certain opportunities with you… change our ideas… tone down our style… Then the tech giants might approve us to appear on their networks again.
We did not. Instead, we doubled down on our core promise – to connect the dots other people aren’t and tell you the truth no matter how uncomfortable or seemingly unlikely.
But being on the receiving end of Big Tech censorship has made us keenly aware of its power and reach… and its arbitrariness.
It’s why, in today’s dispatch, I’m throwing the spotlight on Big Tech platforms’ recent round of censorship against President Trump and others.
I’ll also show you why it should worry you – regardless of your personal views of the president. And I’ll talk about some of the steps you can take to make sure you get unfiltered information in the age of Big Tech censorship we’re entering.
This comes after supporters of the president stormed the U.S. Capitol to stop Congress’ certification of the 2020 electoral votes.
This left one Capitol Police officer dead… along with at least four others.
According to Twitter (TWTR), it’s now banning the president from its platform “due to the risk of further incitement to violence” by Trump.
Facebook (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg says he is also indefinitely banning Trump from Facebook and (Facebook-owned) Instagram.
And these high-profile bans are just the tip of the iceberg.
Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG) struck out at Parler, a free-speech alternative to Twitter favored by Trump supporters. Apple and Google removed Parler from their app stores for posts they say encouraged violence and crimes.
That means you can no longer download the app from these two tech giants. Together, their app stores account for nearly all of global downloads. So this is as close to a total ban from app stores as you can get.
And Amazon.com (AMZN) – which runs the world’s biggest cloud hosting platform – shut down Parler’s cloud hosting altogether. You need a big server rack in the cloud to serve web pages to millions of viewers around the world.
Parler will go dark… at least for a time… just as its popularity among Trump supporters was reaching new heights.
They’ll argue this isn’t a First Amendment issue, because it’s not the government cracking down on free speech.
Or they’ll say Twitter boss Jack Dorsey is no more obliged to publish President Trump’s text messages… than Trump is obliged to allow Dorsey to shout obscenities from the balcony at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort.
But like it or not, these Big Tech platforms have a monopoly over the “public square” of our time – the internet.
As any internet marketer will tell you, you can’t reach a truly mass audience online without Facebook, Google, and other Big Tech platforms.
And Big Tech isn’t just shutting down individual accounts, as it’s done in the past. It’s also cracking down on the ability of alternative platforms such as Parler to operate by refusing to host them.
Essentially, these Big Tech companies are making it so you need to build an alternative internet if you want to publish your ideas to a large, global following.
And although this is technically possible, it’s incredibly difficult in practice. Because Big Tech has cornered the market for attention.
People break Twitter’s rules all the time without receiving lifetime bans.
Don’t just take my word for it.
Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny survived a poisoning attempt by Russia’s FSB security service (the new name for the KGB) for standing up to Russian strongman Vladimir Putin.
Navalny is not a Trump supporter. And he’s about as pro-democracy as they come. But over the weekend, he called out Trump’s Twitter ban for what it is – an “unacceptable act of censorship.” As Navalny explained it…
Of course, during his time in the office, Trump has been writing and saying very irresponsible things. And paid for it by not getting re-elected for a second term.
The election is a straightforward and competitive process. You can participate in it, you can appeal against the results, they’re being monitored by millions of people. The ban on Twitter is a decision of people we don’t know in accordance with a procedure we don’t know.
Navalny says the ban sets a dangerous precedent for further censorship…
Of course, Twitter is a private company, but we have seen many examples in Russian [sic] and China of such private companies becoming the state’s best friends and the enablers when it comes to censorship.
If you replace “Trump” with “Navalny” in today’s discussion, you will get an 80% accurate Kremlin’s answer as to why my name can’t be mentioned on Russian TV and I shouldn’t be allowed to participate in any elections.
This precedent will be exploited by the enemies of freedom of speech around the world. In Russia as well. Every time when they need to silence someone, they will say: ‘this is just common practice, even Trump got blocked on Twitter’.
The framers of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights didn’t see Facebook and Twitter coming.
Nor did they imagine a world in which Silicon Valley billionaires had so much power over the information billions of people around the world get to see.
But they did grasp the threat censorship – even if undertaken for the “right reason” in the censor’s mind – poses to society.
James Madison was one of the framers of the Constitution. Here’s what he wrote…
Liberty is to faction [political parties or movements] what air is to fire, an aliment [food] without which it instantly expires. But it could not be less folly to abolish liberty, which is essential to political life, because it nourishes faction, than it would be to wish the annihilation of air, which is essential to animal life, because it imparts to fire its destructive agency.
As regular readers know, Dan writes The Bonner-Denning Letter along with Legacy cofounder Bill Bonner.
Their mission is to help their readers preserve their wealth and liberty from dangers that others overlook or ignore.
For Dan, this is one of the biggest threats to liberty we face today… and it’s only getting worse.
He says last week’s mobbing of the U.S. Capitol will mark the start of a new, more active phase of Big Tech censorship.
Here’s how he explained it in a private email he sent me and some other members of the Legacy team over the weekend…
The knives are out for anyone who disagrees with the official narrative. Big Tech has a “delete” key and it’s not afraid to use it. Not only are they trying to control what we see and hear, they’re also trying to control how and what we think. They’re “disappearing” anyone who disagrees and throwing their ideas and content down the memory hole.
Dark times. But hopefully by now our readers have done some of the things we’ve suggested, making themselves more independent and resilient (financially, physically, intellectually).
Like it or not, we live in a world where a tiny group of tech billionaires has the power to make sure voices they don’t like or don’t agree with have little reach in the world.
There are no formal ways to appeal these decisions… or clear guidelines everyone can easily understand.
These companies have immense power over the information you receive.
And Big Tech censorship is almost certainly going to get worse before it gets better.
So what can you do about it? Dan again…
All of our worst fears about Big Tech stomping on the face of civil society have turned out to be truer than we could have imagined.
Make sure you’re subscribed to our e-letters. That’s one simple thing you should do now. We can always mail out our insights and recommendations to you the old-fashioned way – in hard copy. And hopefully, you’ll continue to get our emails and continue to be able to visit our websites.
That may sound pessimistic…
One of the big ideas we write to you about all the time is how crypto’s decentralized nature has the power to put an end to this kind of censorship.
Because they’re decentralized, bitcoin and other crypto projects can’t be shut down… silenced… tampered with… or turned off. That means no one person – like Mark Zuckerberg or Jack Dorsey – has the power to censor anything on those networks.
This will be more important than ever as Big Tech’s thought police take control. The risk of centralized organizations imposing their will on billions of users will become too great to ignore.
January 11, 2021