China Central Television (CCTV) – Tech giants in Silicon Valley are cracking down on what they have deemed “hate speech”, but experts warned the dangers of stamping out voices not in line with that in the tech industry.
On the new crowdfunding site Hatreon, people can find self-proclaimed “pro-white” creators asking for funding, including well-known white supremacist Richard Spencer. So-called “alt-right” influencers are moving to Hatreon to fund projects after the crowdfunding site Patreon recently deleted the accounts of conservative Lauren Southern and members of Defend Europe, a group sought to block NGO ships from rescuing refugees.
According to Jack Conte, CEO of Patreon, that’s a violation of their content policy that prohibits creators from threatening to take or taking action that could lead to harm or loss of life.
Paypal, a third-party payment provider, recently posted a statement saying it’s working to ensure its services are not used to accept payments or donations for activities that promote racial intolerance.
Google also fueled controversy when it fired engineer James Damore after he wrote a paper arguing biological differences between men and women are the reason for the tech industry’s gender imbalance.
“I think it’s important for companies to express the beliefs of their employees to fit with what those employees want to see in the world. But at the same time understand that because Silicon Valley is now providing the tools by which people communicate, there’s a greater responsibility,” said Chris Yeh, general partner of Wasabi Ventures Global.
Yeh also warned of the dangers of stamping out voices that are not in line with that in the tech world.
“I think the power of the internet and the gatekeepers of the internet should not use their leverage to deny speech they don’t agree with. Would I ever draw any lines? Yes, I would,” said Larry Greenfield, a political commentator.
“I don’t think the American people need to be lectured at how bad awful, filthy extremist right-wing, white nationalist, national socialist, neo-Nazis are. Having said that, I would not ban the speech rights of even Nazis. I would ban or target or exclude radical Islamic terror groups, which formally declare war on the United States,” he added.
Greenfield says if Silicon Valley pushes a liberal agenda too far, it risks isolating customers that are more than willing to look elsewhere for services.