Night Owls is a themed open thread appearing at Daily Kos seven days a week.
These Machines Won’t Kill Fascism, by Nantina Vgontzas and Meredith Whittaker. Toward a Militant Progressive Vision for Tech The left must vie for control over the algorithms, data, and infrastructure that shape our lives:
The modern fascist movement relies on Big Tech to reproduce—and it knows it.
Before Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and even Pinterest banned Donald Trump, the then-president was taking aim at a wonkish target: Section 230, a 1996 provision of the Communications Decency Act that shields tech companies from being sued for the content they host. As he told his base in the lead-up to the fumbled coup attempt on January 6, “We have to get rid of Section 230, or you’re not going to have a country.” Around the same time, Trump vetoed the annual defense spending bill because it didn’t repeal 230, and pressured Republican then–Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell to make it a bargaining chip in the stimulus negotiations.
In pursuing their campaign against 230 at the same time that they’re seeking to protect corporations from worker lawsuits related to Covid-19, conservatives have made their agenda painfully clear: Corporate liability is permissible in the tech industry only if it helps them dominate the platforms and capture a sector that has long been the darling of liberals.