The tech backlash has begun.
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And on both sides of the aisle… it’s just getting started.
On the Left, it’s former Facebook founder Chris Hughes blasting his one time bro Zuckerberg in the New York Times. Hughes wants America to break up the company—and set up a new agency over the ruins to keep speech politically correct.
It’s left wing activists and media figures in full freak out mode over the way chat apps let anyone say anything, even as social media becomes a zone of conformity policed by administrators and angry social justice users.
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They’re in a panic that WhatsApp likely helped get Bolsonaro elected in Brazil… and will probably do the same for Modi in India.
And the big kahuna? Trump. Democrats are furious that Big Tech delivered the White House to the Donald. And if Silicon Valley screws up again… they’ll do whatever it takes to break the tech bros over their knee.
Yet the billionaire tech bros can’t run to the Right for shelter.
Every ambitious GOP Senator today is trying to make his mark with a piece of tech legislation. The likes of Cotton and Cruz are pushing for new privacy protection. Hawley, probably the biggest tech critic in Congress, is even striking at in-game purchases in video games. The idea of resorting to Teddy Roosevelt’s trust busting hammer is picking up steam.
Off the Hill, it’s even wilder. Feeling the burn of censorship, popular online personalities on the right of center—and even some larger publications—are pushing to rethink the knee jerk Republican support for markets. On Fox News, Tucker Carlson now reliably beats up on “tech tyranny.”
All while conservative academics, and refugees from academia, warn that tech is just the leading edge of the social justice mania afflicting just about every big corporation today.
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So the Valley is getting it from both ends. Its answer? Virtually begging for regulation. That’s a sure fire loser for libertarians, who never tire of pointing out that big firms love regulation because they can “capture” it, locking in advantages they can influence and use to freeze out the competition.
On the other hand, libertarians are losing the political debate. The Left wants to write regulations to ensure tech enforces political correctness. The Right wants to write them to force tech to keep America American.
It’s a battle royale in the making. If “cooler heads” think they can avoid this full tilt collision, they’ve got another thing coming.
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And if the tech titans think they can avoid a showdown by selling us more shiny objects, the backlash against them will become a tsunami.