Facebook’s former chief security officer, Alex Stamos, and CNN’s Brian Stelter put their heads together to see what new ways could be devised of censoring “conservative” content in the US.
After the practice of removing users and their content from centralized social networks, and then deeper and wider-reaching instances of censorship like Google and Apple banning apps from their stores, while Amazon and others are denying web services to alternative platforms – the time seems to have come to consider whether massive cable and internet providers should join in.
Stamos was speaking on CNN when he openly said that Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon should do their part in making sure conservatives are unable to reach their audiences.
According to the former Facebook exec who is now an adjunct professor at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation – outlets like One America News and Newsmax should be blocked by communications and TV operators.
“We have to turn down the capability of these conservative influencers to reach these huge audiences. There are people on YouTube for example that have a larger audience than daytime CNN…” Stamos said.
As for what he referred to as conservative influencers – whose audiences on YouTube and Facebook are larger than CNN’s – this is something he thinks Google and Facebook must take care of, lest they turn into “cable networks for disinformation.”
Stamos at the same time branded these right-leaning voices that have amassed huge audiences as extremely radical.
When it comes to One America News and Newsmax, he said their availability on Comcast, etc, and their freedom of speech, is “a problem.”
Stamos believes that telecoms should stop carrying these networks – and then people who want this content should be free to go out and seek it. (But apparently, not on YouTube or Facebook).
“I think is really where we’re going to have to go here,” he said.
Blocking and banning content on political and ideological grounds at ISP and operators’ level is nothing new, although it would be new in the United States. Many authoritarian regimes routinely reach for such measures to suppress information and sever communication between people, and the ultimate step of censorship are internet blackouts.
Stamos also spoke in favor of finding a way of bringing people “back into the mainstream” in terms of what media is available to
them and from which sources they should be allowed to get their news.