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Weekly Digest: The New Battle Against Censorship
Welcome to my weekly digest for May 6, 2022.
For new subscribers, this contains a roundup of my recent writings and podcasts, as well as links to the best articles from around the web this week. You can control what emails you get from me by visiting your account page.
The New Battle Against Censorship
The Daily Wire asked me to write a piece for them and it is now up. It’s on the theme of internet censorship and Elon Musk’s potential purchase of Twitter. This is a topic I’ve written about for years. Here’s a 2016 piece I wrote for City Journal about Youtube restricting PragerU content. And here’s a 2017 CJ piece about how the Apple-Google duopoly on smart phone operating systems makes them the gatekeepers of the First Amendment. The DW piece is subscriber only, but here’s an excerpt:
Imagine if the electric company could refuse to provide service to people or businesses its executives didn’t like. Imagine that a mid-level manager at the water company could turn off service to your house if he didn’t like what you posted on Facebook.
You actually don’t have to imagine it. You live it every day when it comes to the critical digital infrastructure services we need to live and do business in today’s world.
What makes these actions challenging for those affected by them is that in many digital services categories, there are extremely few competitors, and the ones that exist typically act in lockstep. For example, if your business can’t accept Mastercard and Visa today, it’s tough to even be in business. Add in American Express, and that’s basically the entire US card market. Apple and Google’s Android unit account for 99% of smartphone operating systems. Once one of them bans you from the app store, which happened to Gab, the other is almost certain to soon follow. The majority of internet traffic today is from mobile devices. If the app stores ban your company from installing apps on mobile phones, your business can be severely hobbled. There is only one domain registrar, Epik, that will provide a .com domain for some unpopular users. Due to network effects, certain social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook are overwhelmingly dominant in certain categories. To be excluded from these platforms is to be exiled from today’s public square.
More Content and Media Mentions
This week I was on the Two Mikes podcast talking about my three worlds of evangelicalism article. I didn’t plan it this way, but James Burnham is suddenly hot and lots of people are writing about him. The Worthy House reviewed The Managerial Revolution, and gave a mention to my own writeup from last month.
New this week:
A look back at the Mitch Daniels “truce” on social issues. This got picked up by Instapundit and others.
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Best of the Web
Forbes: How TikTok Live Became ‘A Strip Club Filled With 15-Year-Olds’ - Tik Tok is a Chinese owned app. But as I’ve noted before, Tik Tok and Instagram are too often training wheels for Only Fans for young girls.
MSNBC: How right-wing extremists weaponize the idea of motherhood - The latest sign of being “far right”? Being a mom…
City Journal looks at Florida’s new law on fatherhood. Never forget that the previous Republican governor Rick Scott vetoed a law that would have established a presumption of joint custody in divorce, so Florida is hardly a father friendly state.
Michael Lind: The End of Progressive Intellectual Life
The New Yorker: Can Liberty University Be Saved?
The people behind the “Courageous Parenting” podcast discuss why they strategically relocated from Oregon to Idaho.