Barack Obama Demands Big Tech Platforms Censor Right-Wing Populists in Atlantic Interview

US President Barack Obama gestures for the crowd to keep quiet about his visit to the O&H Danish Bakery to buy kringle pastries so that First Lady Michelle Obama wouldn’t find out about the visit, during a town hall event on the economy at Racine Memorial Hall in Racine, Wisconsin, June 30, 2010. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Former President Barack Obama called for Big Tech platforms to censor views he finds objectionable in an interview with the Atlantic on Monday, citing what he sees as “crazy lies and conspiracy theories” that need to be purged from social media.

The former President made the demand for censorship in response to a question about the American media and inherent divisions present in the American electorate.

I don’t hold the tech companies entirely responsible, because this predates social media. It was already there. But social media has turbocharged it. I know most of these folks. I’ve talked to them about it. The degree to which these companies are insisting that they are more like a phone company than they are like The Atlantic, I do not think is tenable. They are making editorial choices, whether they’ve buried them in algorithms or not. The First Amendment doesn’t require private companies to provide a platform for any view that is out there.

At the end of the day, we’re going to have to find a combination of government regulations and corporate practices that address this, because it’s going to get worse. If you can perpetrate crazy lies and conspiracy theories just with texts, imagine what you can do when you can make it look like you or me saying anything on video. We’re pretty close to that now.”

Jeffrey Goldberg would go on to ask Obama about what he calls a “new malevolent information architecture,” which Obama identified as “the single biggest threat to our democracy.”

Neoliberals have increasingly criticized Section 230 on the grounds that it doesn’t abet enough censorship, and that the publisher regulation should be replaced with legislation that legally mandates Big Tech platforms purge and silence dissidents that leftists find objectionable.

Obama also cited Sarah Palin as a predecessor of the Trump-era Republican Party, generally declining to admit that his own unpopular and divisive policies played any role in creating demand among Republican voters for leaders that actually challenge the power of the organized Left.

The American left is now wholly dependent on silencing, censoring and banning those who challenge its religion from the public sphere, digital or otherwise. Maybe one day they’ll end up getting the “fascist” they’ve cried wolf about throughout the Trump presidency, and learn that relying upon craven censorship as a political tactic is a double-edged sword.

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