Frederick recently published a Heritage Foundation article titled “Combating Big Tech’s Totalitarianism: A Road Map,” wherein he explains how Big Tech has used its influence to restrict Americans. The research suggests a number of steps that Americans might do to combat the crisis.
“It’s that integration of the government and big tech companies to police speech that I think is troubling and very evocative of the coming totalitarianism,” Frederick said on EpochTV’s “American Thought Leaders” program. She calls it a “symbiosis between the government and tech companies.”
She listed a few cases, including earlier this month, where White House press secretary Jen Psaki pushed Spotify and other large tech companies to take additional steps to combat what the Biden government referred to as “COVID-19 misinformation” at a media briefing.
Frederick pointed out that this isn’t the first occasion Psaki has advised huge tech corporations how to go about it. At a press conference in July 2021, Psaki and Surgeon General Vivek Murthy asked social media companies to battle what the Biden administration referred to as “health misinformation.” Psaki pointed out 12 individuals at the period for “producing 65 percent of anti-vaccine misinformation on social media platforms,” according to her.
“All of [the 12 people] remain active on Facebook, despite some even being banned on other platforms, including Facebook—ones that Facebook owns,” Psaki said at the time. A day later, Psaki said, “You shouldn’t be banned from one platform and not others … for providing misinformation out there.”
All of the individuals and profiles were removed from the Facebook platform inside a month, according to Frederick.
President Joe Biden made a “special appeal” to social media companies and the mainstream press in January to “deal with misinformation and disinformation,” and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas released a terrorism advisory in early February, Frederick noted, not only in the setting of so-called COVID-19 misinformation, but also for the context of election credibility and election safety.
“This is becoming pervasive and big tech companies are the willing agents for the government to have really a heavy hand on the American people,” Frederick said.
“So absolutely, this is a coming totalitarianism, these practices are, frankly, mirroring that of what China does in the social credit system,” she continued. “You have to remember that [it] started with private companies as well and specific provinces in the financial sector.
“So I think it’s extremely important for Americans to get their guards up and recognize what’s happening as it’s happening today.”
QuashIng Dissenting Views
Frederick discusses how internet companies have converted instruments that were designed to battle national safety concerns to now suppress alternative opinions, or what the US administration refers to as “misinformation,” “disinformation,” and “mal-information.”
“I believe that there are genuine problems on these platforms, right? Human trafficking, advertisements for drug cartels … child sexual abuse, material, child exploitation and pornography, and real foreign Islamic terrorist content. Those are real issues, not to mention state-linked influence operations, where you have bots that are farmed out to patriotic citizens by the CCP, the Chinese Communist Party, to spew bile all over the internet or cheerlead for the CCP. … So it’s very important that we do have people within these companies working on that.”
Frederick was a key contributor to the formation and leadership of Facebook’s Global Security Counterterrorism Analysis Program. She previously worked for the Department of Defense for six years as a counterterrorism specialist at the start of her employment.
She highlighted that somehow there seems to be a “very troubling trend” on social media sites where even more funds are now being committed to policing right-leaning and opposing information.
“We have failed to agree on a definition of misinformation and disinformation, and what actual, organic sort of influence operations are, versus state-linked influence operations from nefarious actors,” she said. “Right now, disinformation—it seems to be a catch-all for views that the left doesn’t like that the Biden regime doesn’t like.
“No more demonstrative examples exist other than the Hunter Biden laptop story [and] the lab leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology—these two things were considered misinformation at the time and you would be censored, suspended or banned from Facebook and Twitter and other social media.”
What’s even more concerning, Frederick added, is an obvious attempt to tie disinformation with terrorism, as seen by the latest Department of Homeland Security (DHS) alert as well as the Justice Department’s creation of a new division to counter domestic terrorism.
“These institutions have definitions for a reason,” she said. “They call things terrorism for a reason. Because you can, once you label something terrorism, you can then mobilize the robustness of the entire U.S. national security apparatus developed in the wake of the September 11 attacks.
“And you can mobilize them against anyone that you’re accusing of terrorism. And when you link disinformation, mal-information, [and] misinformation with terrorism, that gives them license to do a variety of things under a variety of specialized authorities and visit them against the purveyor of this disinformation or misinformation.”
Frederick invites Americans to look into new entrants’ venues. “I won’t name them specifically. But I think we’re starting to see these competitors come up as they recognize the challenge as they try to take on [the] monopolistic practices of these big tech companies,” she said.
“Make sure that your privacy is first and foremost as well—so using companies that are actually devoted to privacy,” she added.
According to Frederick, indiscriminate censoring is not confined to social media businesses.
“it’s important for people to understand that it’s not just social media companies or your right to be on Twitter, your right to be on Facebook,” she said. “It’s everything: email delivery services, online fundraising platforms, your ability to get a creative project going, the regular person’s ability to have a business on Instagram, your ability to sell merchandise that you create on Shopify, your ability to bank online.”
“We know that 17 digital platforms mobilized within two weeks in early January to suspend or ban President Trump from their platforms. It can happen to the everyday user as well,” she said. “So I think it’s critical that we realize it’s not just social media companies, but it’s every aspect of your digital life, which is life into perpetuity.”
Deny CCP Links, Recover Sense of Duty to America
Big internet corporations are encroaching on Americans’ constitutional rights, such as freedom of expression, “especially when [Big Tech] is working with the government,” according to Americans, such as members of Congress.
“Instead of saying ‘they’re private companies, they can do whatever they want,’ recognize that that’s a problem,” she said.
Also, huge tech companies must re-acquaint themselves with American ideals and re-establish a feeling of patriotism, and US policymakers may help initiate this process by “being brave, calling out [Big Tech], recognizing that this is a problem and taking measures to rectify it,” she said.
Frederick was “struck” at how major internet companies like Facebook exhibited a “lack of both gratitude and cognition” of how they thrived and flourished under an American system.
“Because of America, [these big tech platforms] were able to amass all of this largess, and innovate and build all these really interesting things for the people of the world,” she noted. “I recognize that they’re global companies, but when it comes to the reason why they’ve been so successful, it’s because of America and our unique system. I think companies need to recover a sense of being American again. … Recovering that sense of a duty to America, and a gratitude for what it’s been able to do and create for these executives and the people who work under them.”
She feels that Big Tech’s connections to the CCP are a big impediment towards this endeavor, and that Congress should intervene to bring the corporations into line.
“You hear an argument these days that big tech companies are, ‘the bulwark against Chinese aggression, they’re gonna help us win the race against China,’—not if [Amazon founder] Jeff Bezos is working with a CCP propaganda arm, not if [Apple CEO] Tim Cook is paying China with $275 billion to contribute to their development; not if Zoom is acquiescing to the directives from the CCP to get a human rights activist off of one of their calls. The list goes on and on and on.”
To prevent firms from operating undermining American principles, Frederick asserted that Congress must “be brave and say absolutely not.”
“Companies need to recover what it means to be American companies again,” Frederick continued. “Congress can help them do it. Civil society can help them do it. State legislators and attorney generals can help them do it. … We all have responsibilities here, but it really starts in here with all of us.”