Twitter, Facebook and other social media companies have removed President Trump from their platforms, after years of debate about the disinformation he shared to millions of followers from his accounts. While many are applauding the bans, author Chris Hedges warns they could backfire. “To allow these companies to essentially function as de facto platforms for censorship and manipulation … harkens back to the way civil liberties were eviscerated in the wake of 9/11,” says Hedges. “It’s always, in the end, the left that pays for this kind of censorship.” We also speak with UCLA professor Ramesh Srinivasan, director of the Digital Cultures Lab, who says Big Tech allowed right-wing extremism to flourish for years before acting and that lawmakers need to enact robust regulation. “All of these technology platforms, powered by their hidden algorithms that are indeed opaque, thrive on the amplification of polarization,” says Srinivasan. “It is incredible how much power we have given to a very small number of people who are essentially mediating pretty much every aspect of our lives.”
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