From Big Tech taking orders from the questionable SPLC to the Big Tech coordinated removal of Alex Jones from social media, from YouTube “fact-checking” climate change materials and PragerU to Facebook and Twitter shadow-banning and/or suspending conservative and right-leaning voices, Big Tech has been in full censorship mode in recent months. Their targets are almost exclusively Republicans, conservatives, and those who identify as right-leaning.

President Trump came out strongly against Big Tech, stating that “Social Media is totally discriminating against Republican/Conservative voices. Speaking loudly and clearly for the Trump Administration, we won’t let that happen.”

What is somewhat surprising is that there are so few voices on the left arguing against this type of censorship.  There was once an intellectual left who believed in free speech, who felt secure enough in their ideology and arguments to welcome opposing viewpoints and civil debate on the issues.   Those days seem to be long gone, though one remnant of this dying left-wing belief in American speech freedoms is Bill Maher.

On his show, Maher mentions Jones being banned across Big Tech platforms, and his audience claps and cheers mindlessly. Maher is noticeably irritated and responds by stating what used to be obvious (and used to be true) “if you’re a liberal, you’re supposed to be for free speech.”

The Hill reports:

HBO talk-show host Bill Maher spoke out in defense of controversial right-wing host Alex Jones after Jones was suspended from several social media platforms, saying that everyone has a right to free speech.

Maher, noting that Jones has “told crazy lies” about him, said on his HBO show Friday that “if you’re a liberal, you’re supposed to be for free speech.”

“That’s free speech for the speech you hate. That’s what free speech means. We’re losing the thread of the concepts that are important to this country,” he continued.

“If you care about the real American shit or you don’t. And if you do, it goes for every side. I don’t like Alex Jones, but Alex Jones gets to speak. Everybody gets to speak,” Maher said.

Charlie Sykes, a contributing editor for The Weekly Standard, pushed back on Maher’s comments, saying that Jones “doesn’t necessarily get to speak on Facebook or Twitter,” to which the host agreed.

“If he engages in vile slander and fabrication about children who are murdered at Sandy Hook and he harasses the parents of children who were murdered at Sandy Hook … Facebook, Twitter don’t have an obligation to provide him a platform because they’re private companies,” Sykes said.

Watch the segment:

Meanwhile, just Saturday, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced that he “fully admits” his platform’s “bias is more left-leaning.”

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said on Saturday that he “fully admit[s]” Twitter employees share a largely left-leaning bias after facing accusations that conservatives are discriminated against on the social media platform.

In an interview that aired Saturday on CNN, Dorsey said his company has a responsibility to be open about its political viewpoints, but to operate without bias when applying content policies to users.

“We need to constantly show that we are not adding our own bias, which I fully admit is … is more left-leaning,” Dorsey says.”But the real question behind the question is, are we doing something according to political ideology or viewpoints? And we are not. Period,” he added.

His statement that this left-leaning bias is not affecting Twitter’s ban/suspension decisions, however, is demonstrably untrue, and Dorsey admitted as much before Twitter reversed itself on the Jones’ Twitter account suspension.

Dorsey appears to referring, at least in part, to the bizarre statement Twitter released about it  not shadow-banning shadow banning conservative voices.

Over at the Federalist, Doug Wead presents a compelling case showing how YouTube—owned by Google—censors pro-Trump and conservative content. The piece is lengthy, but the gist of it is that an ad promoting one of Wead’s interviews with Fox Business network was banned, his account even briefly suspended, because the interview included President Trump saying the Mueller probe was a “witch hunt.”

Almost a year ago, an employee noticed a YouTube video at the top of a “Doug Wead” search and wondered how it got there. It wasn’t related to the date, the view count, or anything else that they could determine. But since it was there, at Google’s omniscient discretion, we decided to do something we had never done before: buy an ad to promote it. That’s when our troubles began.

Within days, Google blocked my ad and informed my team that we had violated their policies. I called Google. The problem, they explained, was that the video had hate speech.

It was a Fox Business Network video with Trish Regan interviewing me about the Russian collusion investigation. The Google employee could not find the exact offending words, but referred me to various other supervisors up the ladder.

. . . .  Google employees appeared to be baffled. Could they call me back tomorrow, they asked? The next day, Nurse Ratched at Google finally emerged. I was never given her name, but conversations with her employees indicated her sex. It was nothing that I or Regan had said in the video, her team explained. Huh?

No, no, the problem, I was told, was in the “crawler of words along the bottom of the video.” It was a quote of Trump declaring that the Robert Mueller investigation was a “witch hunt.” This was apparently hate speech.

Hmmm. You’re saying to me that words from the duly elected president of the United States cannot be shown on YouTube—words that have already been printed in The New York Times?

Wead goes on to explain that a similar thing happened earlier this year.

In January, 2018 my channel was hit by shadow-banning. Sometime that month, Google allegedly hired thousands of outside actors supplied by the infamous Southern Poverty Law Center. This was the organization that attacked Ben Carson, the only African American in Donald Trump’s cabinet. They were apparently the new arbiters of decency.

My videos got hammered. But only my pro-Trump material. My interviews defending the Obama children or talking up Chelsea Clinton’s wedding went untouched.

A viral YouTube interview with me and Fox Anchor Neil Cavuto about why Hillary Clinton lost the election was penalized. The video had more than 861,000 views and was earning an average of 15,000 views a day when it suddenly went dark. On February 17, after the new censorship took hold, this video dropped to 50 views a day. That is where it has stayed ever since.

The message is clear.  If you want to espouse pro-Democrat points of view and progressive-approved content, you are free to do so.  Move off the plantation, though, and you’re banned, either outright or by stealth (the infamous shadow ban).

Big Tech’s coordinated efforts to silence speech that does not toe the progressive left’s party line is a real problem without an obvious solution.  After all, they are not (officially) part of government, though they do seem to be working closely with and heavily financing Democrat pols, so they cannot be held responsible for violating First Amendment protections. The First Amendment doesn’t say anything about what non-government entities can and cannot say or do in terms of censorship.

John Hinderaker at Powerline has posited that the “left is outsourcing censorship of the internet.”

Hinderaker writes:

Unfortunately, most political conversation these days occurs not on the “free” internet, where independent sites like Power Line reside, but rather on social media–Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and so on. Other players include Google (in its search capacity), Apple, Pinterest, Spotify, etc. Happily–if you are a leftist–all of these tech companies are run by liberals. And because they are private companies, they are not constrained by the First Amendment. They can restrict or ban conservative communications on the ground that they are “hate speech,” or on no grounds whatsoever, with impunity.

. . . . Tech titans stick together. Two weeks ago, Apple, Facebook, YouTube and Spotify simultaneously “de-platformed” Alex Jones and Infowars. Twitter held out briefly, and then, in response to demands from liberals, also banned Jones and Infowars. I have never paid attention to Infowars and have no idea whether its content has merit. But simultaneous bans and suspensions across platforms can hardly be coincidental. The phrase “combination or conspiracy in restraint of trade” comes to mind.

Hinderaker concludes with some tentative ideas for solutions to this very real problem, a problem he quite rightly calls “one of the most important issues of our time.”

The Left’s attempt to outsource censorship to its Silicon Valley allies is one of the most important issues of our time. The proper solution may lie in creating competitive platforms, or in legislative, regulatory or judicial action. Perhaps platforms fitting a particular legal definition should be regulated as public utilities. After all, Federal Express doesn’t refuse to deliver packages to the National Review office on the ground that they may contain conservative communications, and telephone companies haven’t tried to cut off connections when two conservatives are talking. Why should Facebook, Twitter and YouTube be permitted to engage in political discrimination?

President Trump said Saturday that his administration will not let the Big Tech censorship of the internet continue.  It is not yet clear what, if any, action they can take.