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HomeWorldNelson de Sá: Lobby now defends Big Techs as weapons against authoritarianism

Nelson de Sá: Lobby now defends Big Techs as weapons against authoritarianism


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The New York Times came out lamenting on Friday (22) that proposals to deal with the power of tech giants, Big Techs, do not advance in the US Congress.

Antitrust bills against “Apple, Amazon, Google and Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, have fallen into limbo amid fierce lobbying.”

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The newspaper focuses its hopes on a last bill, relatively unambitious, that would restrict the practice of platforms to privilege their own services and products.

The giants took to the field with the known threats, already launched in other markets. Google said it would make Google Maps unfeasible in the US; Amazon, which would make Prime unfeasible, etc.

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Saluting the recent European regulation of Big Techs, but not the Chinese one, which paved the way, the NYT repeatedly criticizes the “fierce lobby”, not to mention what shocked the most during the week.

As reported on Tuesday (19) by Washington’s Punchbowl, echoing from there, a group of ex-Secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security, ex-CIA directors, etc. launched a petition against projects that affect the hegemony of companies in their areas.

They are names like Leon Panetta and James Clapper, some of them known by another petition, on the eve of the last election, charging to bar Hunter Biden’s emails — with success with the press and platforms.

They are also known for their direct and indirect financial ties, via councils and foundations, with the companies themselves.

The argument is now the same as the one being torn apart by Joe Biden. “This is a pivotal moment in history,” the text begins.

“There is a battle brewing between authoritarianism and democracy, and the former is using every tool at its disposal, including a widespread disinformation campaign.”

In the war, “US technology platforms gave the world a chance to see the real story”, taking “concrete measures against the scourge of disinformation” from Russia.

Therefore, “in the face of these growing threats, policymakers must not inadvertently undermine the ability of US technology platforms to combat the rise of disinformation.”

In the apotheosis, he proclaims “the beginning of a new chapter in global history, in which the ideals of democracy will be put to the test”, that is:

“The United States will need to rely on the power of its technology sector to ensure that the security of its citizens and the narrative of events continue to be shaped by facts, not foreign adversaries.”

What’s on Weibo, the European website that tracks the Sina Weibo and WeChat platforms, reports that last weekend a video took over Chinese social media, “The voices of April”, with audios of ordinary people in Shanghai affected by the lockdown. For example, a mother screaming to the neighbors to get medicine for her daughter.

The six-minute video, which ends with the message “Shanghai get well soon,” was taken down shortly afterward — and can be viewed on Google’s YouTube above.

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