Devin Nunes issued some recent warnings about social media and we might want to listen. Nunes is smart, probably smarter than you or I and he is definitely more informed. There is a reason this Republican U.S. Representative out of California is on the House Select Committee on Intelligence as well as the ranking member.
As one story reported, according to Nunes, social media has an ill-intentioned agenda. Think Facebook, think Twitter or even Google. It wasn’t all that long ago that these were just places where people could get information, socialize or just vent and listen to others. They certainly didn’t strike anyone as dangerous but that is exactly what Nunes is saying and that’s being nice.
The story quotes Nunes saying, “Well, in general, I have a real concern overall about what I call the ‘tech oligarchs’… .” Just in case you don’t have your dictionary or thesaurus handy, “oligarchs” is a fancy way of saying a small group that holds power. The “concern” Nunes spoke of he, was also specifically addressed. He went on to cite one of those concerns saying, “They now are regulating the content, and they’re deciding how to regulate the content—and it’s clearly biased against conservatives.” While Nunes pointed directly at Twitter he included others.
Now, here is the million-dollar question, if these social media and internet outlets are being controlled then who is pulling the strings? Who indeed?
The ranking member of the House Select Committee on Intelligence didn’t mince words about that question. The story reports Nunes putting the blame squarely on the shoulders of the Democrats: “I think when you see the Democrats talking about going after these companies, that’s a fake threat,” Nunes said. “They’re doing that to basically warn them that you better do what we want. You better make sure that Democrats and leftists and all of our causes are put at the top.”
Remember, this is a very smart guy and he even broke this down for us non-technical types. He used this example to explain the bias and control of internet search: “If Matt Boyle gets Googled 50,000 times—a story that you do on Breitbart gets Googled 50,000 times—and the Washington Post story is 20,000, then Matt Boyle’s story should be first. It’s really simple.”
It is amazing how clearly he paints such a picture and it is more amazing that this isn’t something the public isn’t more aware of but it doesn’t stop there. When it comes to social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, Nunes has plenty to say. “The easiest way, I believe, to solve this—especially for Twitter and Facebook, who have already done some of this—is just get out of the content development business.”
Nunes simply explained that if these sites go back to having an open forum and quit regulating what is and isn’t said, the problem goes away. For many reasons, including pressure from the Democrats, Nunes doesn’t expect that to happen. The California Representative said that because of a Nancy Pelosi and Democrat-led House, it just isn’t realistic. This doesn’t mean that Mr. Nunes is going to concede, however, which is why he has turned to the court system. He is currently filing suit against Twitter in the Virginia courts on various charges including slander.
With no real change expected or even possible in the House until 2020, Nunes also said that it was going to take a “…word of mouth, through conservatives and through Republicans, kind of effort until then. This also leads to the question with an election season on the horizon, how much impact influenced social media and internet sites could have on voting outcomes. Social media has taken a roll in recent campaigns and has proven to be an effective tool.
Yes, Devin Nunes said he is “very concerned” and if we are paying attention and listening, we should be as well. Social media, google, and the internet has come a long way but who would have thought they could become dangerous weapons in the wrong hands? One very smart man did and now the rest of us know too.