Tennessee Principal on Administrative Leave for Warning Students About Social Media Censorship

A Tennessee principal was placed on paid administrative leave after warning students about the dangers of social media censorship. Principal Barton Thorne recorded a homeroom video on Monday, reportedly sharing his thoughts via the Shelby County Schools (SCS) virtual learning platform to address several Big Tech companies’ recent decisions to censor various individuals and platforms.

In a recording of the video since deleted from YouTube, Thorne emphasized the need to allow for free speech and a “marketplace of ideas.” He condemned the Capitol Hill riot and stated that his statements had nothing to do with President Donald Trump.

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Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles Talks About His Letter to Governor Lee About Forced Investment to Companies that Censor

Thursday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles to discuss his recent letter to the governor calling for divestment in companies that censor.

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Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles Calls for Tennessee to Dump Any State-Held Equity in Big Tech Companies Over Censorship

Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles is calling on the Tennessee General Assembly to dump any state-held equity and debt in the Big Tech companies over their “war on freedom of speech.”

Ogles made the announcement on his Facebook page Wednesday, available here. It is addressed to Governor Bill Lee, Lieutenant Governor Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge), House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) and the other members of the Legislature.

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Google Spied on, Fired, Coerced Employees for Unionization Attempt, National Labor Relations Board Alleges

The National Labor Relations Board accused Google of violating labor laws by spying on and coercing employees who attempted unionization, according to complaint filings.

Google and its parent company Alphabet allegedly spied on and fired employees in retaliation for trying to organize into a labor union, according to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) charges filed Tuesday, CNBC reported. The tech giant also allegedly prevented employees from sharing work grievances with each other via internal communications tools.

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Six Takeaways as Facebook, Twitter CEOs Testify at Senate Hearing

The CEOs of Twitter and Facebook returned Tuesday to Capitol Hill, this time to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

While focused on Twitter’s blocking of a New York Post story about the Biden family’s business dealings overseas and the social media giants’ immunity from lawsuit under the Communications Decency Act, the hearing veered into other topics as well.

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Democrats Say Facebook, Google Political Ad Bans Will Suppress Voter Turnout During Senate Double Runoff Election in Georgia

Facebook and Google are banning political ads from their platforms with no exceptions allowed, at a time when two U.S. Senate seats are up for grabs in a Jan. 5 runoff election in Georgia that could help determine control of that chamber, NBC News reported.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee criticized the decisions, which they said, “amount to unacceptable voter suppression.”

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Key Senators Demand to Know: Did Google Manipulate Get-Out-Vote Messages?

A powerful Senate committee chairman and two GOP colleagues sent a letter Thursday to Google’s top executive demanding to know if the digital giant manipulated pre-election get-out-the-vote messages on its search products to benefit liberals.

Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wis., and Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Mike Lee, R-Utah, wrote Google LLC CEO Sundar Pichai that an academic monitoring project claimed to capture evidence that Google only sent out voter reminder messages to liberals and not conservatives in the final days of the election.

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The Leftist Media, Tech, and Political Elite Collude to Silence Vote Count Disputes

It seems 2020 is simply not done screwing us all over just yet. silencing vote disputes

“Get Smart’s” cone of silence seems to have overtaken the vote counting. Twitter is censoring President Trump’s tweets about vote counting, and many of the states that are still counting are not being transparent about the count. Heck, in Pennsylvania, they are demanding that GOP poll watchers stay at least twenty-five feet away from the counting where they can’t see what’s being done, and the DA of Philadelphia is threatening to jail pro-Trump protesters.

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Commentary: Silicon Valley Titans Lie Again as Congress Meekly Looks On

After a series of mishaps involving muted senators, virtual cross-talk, and “connectivity issues” befuddling one of the world’s most tech-savvy men, the CEOs of Facebook, Twitter, and Google appeared before the Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday for what has now become a performative ritual: senators of both parties yell about different aspects of social media, the tech giants respond with bland, vague, noncommittal statements. And nothing substantive happens.

This is exactly where the Senate Commerce Committee found itself on Wednesday, when Big Tech was confronted with a host of critics and without any defenders—but ultimately very little in the way of committed follow-up from legislators.

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Commentary: A DOJ Roadblock to America’s Big Tech Beatdown?

It’s safe to say that Big Tech hasn’t had a great month.

Google received a beating at the Supreme Court for allegedly stealing the coding needed to create Android. Congress subpoenaed Facebook and Twitter for deliberately blocking news coverage potentially damaging to one political party — a move that culminated in a high-profile hearing yesterday. And now, the Department of Justice has charged Google with illegally maintaining its search and advertising monopoly.

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Apple Developing Search Engine as Google Comes Under Antitrust Scrutiny: Report

Apple has ramped up development of its own search engine technology as antitrust U.S. and European Union regulators scrutinize Google, according to a Financial Times report.

The Silicon Valley tech giant has subtly started the transition away from its reliance on the Google search engine, The Financial Times reported. Apple’s latest software update iOS 14, for example, directs users directly to links when they search for a term on their device’s home screen.

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Commentary: How to Restrain Big Tech Immediately

A year ago, University of Georgia professor Cas Mudde took to Twitter and asked: “How do you manage to stay informed about political news and stay mentally balanced?” In his next tweet, he confessed too much time on social media was contributing to anxiety and depression.

With this, Mudde expressed a sentiment many social media users share. As we discuss policy issues tied to social media—tech regulation, free speech, foreign influence—we shouldn’t lose sight of the damaging psychological effects of today’s information environment. You may not want to hear this a week before the election, but social media addiction is a public health issue. Big Tech is the new Big Tobacco.

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Social Media CEOs Get Earful on Bias, Warning of New Limits

With next week’s election looming, the CEOs of Twitter, Facebook and Google were scolded by Republicans at a Senate hearing Wednesday for alleged anti-conservative bias in the companies’ social media platforms and received a warning of coming restrictions from Congress.

Lawmakers of both parties are assessing the companies’ tremendous power to disseminate speech and ideas, and are looking to challenge their long-enjoyed bedrock legal protections for online speech.

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Justice Dept. Files Landmark Antitrust Case Against Google

The Justice Department on Tuesday sued Google for antitrust violations, alleging that it abused its dominance in online search and advertising to stifle competition and harm consumers.

The lawsuit marks the government’s most significant attempt to protect competition since its groundbreaking case against Microsoft more than 20 years ago. It could be an opening salvo ahead of other major government antitrust actions, given ongoing investigations of major tech companies including Apple, Amazon and Facebook at both the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission.

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Supremes Hear Google, Oracle Case of Copyright Clash

The topic was high tech: the code behind smartphones.

But on Wednesday the Supreme Court looked to more low tech examples, from the typewriter keyboard to restaurant menus, try to resolve an $8 billion-plus copyright dispute between tech giants Google and Oracle.

The case, which the justices heard by phone because of the coronavirus pandemic, has to do with Google’s creation of the Android operating system now used on the vast majority of smartphones worldwide. In developing Android, Google used some of Oracle’s computer code.

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‘Oil Barons and Railroad Tycoons’: Big Tech Must Be Restructured, House Report Says

Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google have abused their monopoly power and must undergo significant restructuring, according to a House report released Tuesday.

Lawmakers who wrote the report said the four tech companies had grown into monopolies akin to “oil barons and railroad tycoons” and suggested an overhaul to U.S. antitrust laws, according to The New York Times. The lengthy report, spearheaded by Democratic Reps. Jerrold Nadler and David Cicilline, is the result of a 15-month House Judiciary Committee investigation into the companies collectively known as Big Tech.

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More Than Half of American Voters Support Breaking up Big Tech Companies, a New Poll Finds

More than half of American voters strongly or somewhat support breaking up Silicon Valley tech giants to promote competition, according to a poll published Thursday.

Only 26% of voters oppose or strongly oppose splitting up the country’s largest tech companies, while 19% of those surveyed didn’t offer a view, a poll from progressive think tank Data for Progress showed. The poll, which surveyed 1,200 likely voters in September, comes as the House lawmakers conclude their nearly yearlong probe into the industry’s supposed anticompetitive behavior.

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Google Removes Autocomplete for Candidates and Voting

Ahead of the U.S. presidential election Google said that it will now remove any autocomplete predictions that seem to endorse or oppose a candidate or a political party and claims about voting or the electoral process, according to a CNN report. 

Google executives outlined these changes at an online press event Thursday, as well as in a blog post. Google’s autocomplete feature offers recommendations for queries once a user begins typing.

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#DELETED: Big Tech’s Battle to Erase the Trump Movement Author Allum Bokhari Highlights Elements of His New Book

Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed the author of #Deleted: Big Tech’s Battle to Erase the Trump Movement and Steal the Election Allum Bokhari to the show to highlight elements of his new book.

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Commentary: The Google v. Oracle Supreme Court Case Could Have Lasting Effects on the Music Business and Tennessee’s Economy

With the COVID-19 pandemic, racial justice protests and the looming presidential election dominating the headlines, the upcoming Supreme Court case, Google v. Oracle, has been all but forgotten.

It may seem like an inconsequential lawsuit between two Silicon Valley rivals fighting over a coveted piece of technology. But that analysis is wrong. The case has enormous potential consequences, not just for the two companies in dispute, but for countless Tennesseans and the state’s economy.

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Virginia First to Roll Out Pandemic App from Apple, Google

Virginia has rolled out a smartphone app to automatically notify people if they might have been exposed to the coronavirus, becoming the first U.S. state to use new pandemic technology created by Apple and Google.

But hopes for a nationwide app that can work seamlessly across state borders remain unrealized, and there are no known federal plans to create one. State officials say their new app won’t work as well outside Virginia, at least until a group of coordinating public health agencies gets a national server up and running and other states join in.

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Crom Carmichael Discusses Google’s Search Results That Manipulate False Statements During Axios-Trump Interview to Deceive Voters

Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed the original all-star panelist Crom Carmichael to the studio to discuss Google’s search results regarding the recent Axios-Trump interview.

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Google Deliberately Alters Search Results for Breitbart News

As the 2020 election draws nearer, search engine and tech giant Google is being exposed as engaging in election interference by artificially altering search results to negatively impact right-wing sites, as reported by Breitbart.

Breitbart reports that its own visibility on Google search results has been reduced by as much as 99.7 percent of its previous performance since the 2016 election. In contrast to its performance in April of 2016, when it was among the top ten search results for 355 key search terms, it now ranks in the top ten of only one such search term in the month of July of this year.

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Google Selects Mississippi Site for First US Operations Center

Google’s first U.S. operations center is coming to northwest Mississippi.

The company announced Thursday it will lease a new 60,000-square-foot (5,574 square-meter) facility in Southaven, Mississippi, near Memphis, Tennessee. Google expects the site, which will provide customer and operations support to customers worldwide, to be operational by summer 2021.

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Dave Yost Seeks Public’s Input on Whether Google Uses ‘Deceptive Sales Practices’

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said he wants the public to weigh in on the question of whether internet search engines should be “allowed to favor their own products and services in search results.”

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ANALYSIS: DOJ Investigators Involved in Antitrust Probe Don’t Appear to be Scrutinizing Claims of Bias in Google’s Search

by Peter Hasson and Chris White   Department of Justice investigators who are conducting an antitrust probe targeting Google do not appear to be scrutinizing claims that the tech giant manipulates its search function, leaks about the probe and a source familiar with it indicate. Google critics argue that Google…

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Massive Plot Stole Data from Google Users Who Downloaded Free Add-Ons to Chrome Web Browsers: Report

A massive spyware effort targeted users of Google’s Chrome web browser extensions downloaded tens of millions of times, Reuters reported Thursday.

The people responsible for the spyware attacked users through 32 million downloads of extensions to Google’s web browser, and collected browsing history and other user data, researchers at Awake Security told Reuters. Google removed more than 70 malicious extensions after researchers alerted the company of the attack in May, the company said.

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Hawley Announces Bill Targeting Bad-Acting Tech Companies Hours After Google, NBC Demonetization Dispute Over the Federalist

Republican Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley announced Wednesday that he is introducing a bill aimed at fighting bad-acting tech companies hours after Google threatened a conservative publication with demonetization.

The Limiting Section 230 Immunity to Good Samaritans Act, cosponsored by Republican Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, Mike Braun of Indiana and Tom Cotton of Arkansas, would prevent big tech companies from receiving Section 230 immunities unless the companies updated their terms of service, promised to operate in good faith and promised to pay a $5,000 fine if they violated their promise.

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Google Bans Ads on the Federalist After NBC News Raises Concerns About George Floyd Protest Articles

Google is planning to ban The Federalist and Zero Hedge from its ad platform, Google Ads, after NBC News raised concerns to the tech giant about articles that the conservative websites published regarding rioting and looting that occurred alongside the protests over the death of George Floyd.

According to the NBC report, Google notified The Federalist that it will block the site from using Google Ads because of concerns raised over an article related to the protests over Floyd’s death.

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Censorship, Antitrust Probes: Big Tech Is Back to Fighting Familiar Foes After Taking on Coronavirus

Amazon, Twitter, and other major tech companies are facing intense criticism on antitrust issues and censorship claims in the months since government officials reportedly began asking for help from Silicon Valley on ways to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

The president and lawmakers have turned their sights on Twitter and Amazon, respectively, while Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and other attorneys general are reportedly ratcheting up their antitrust investigation targeting Google’s business model. The White House asked them in March to fight coronavirus disinformation while also assisting the government in its virus response.

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Commentary: Trump Executive Order Strikes at the Heart of Social Media’s Leftist Censorship

President Trump’s long-hoped-for Executive Order on social media censorship is a good first step in dismantling the Left’s dangerous influence over these 21st-century communications vehicles. (You can read the draft that was available online when this article was posted through this link to The National Pulse, edited by Raheem Kassam.)

We particularly agree with this part of the EO’s statement of principles, “In a country that has long cherished the freedom of expression, we cannot allow a limited number of online platforms to hand-pick the speech that Americans may access and convey online. This practice is fundamentally un-American and anti-democratic. When large, powerful social media companies censor opinions with which they disagree, they exercise a dangerous power.”

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President Trump Reportedly Considering Forming Panel to Review Anti-Conservative Bias in Big Tech

President Donald Trump is considering forming a commission to review anti-conservative bias on social media platforms, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the idea.

A potential White House-created commission would examine allegations of online bias and censorship, according to the report. The administration will also encourage the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Election Commission to conduct similar reviews, the sources told the WSJ.

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Google Employees Blame Conservative Backlash for Canceled Racial Justice Program

Google acknowledged nixing an internal racial justice program Wednesday, and some employees believe the company did it fearing lawsuits from “right-wing employees,” according to an NBC News report.

The company ended Sojourn in 2019, claiming the program designed to teach about racial injustice was too difficult to expand beyond the United States, NBC News reported Wednesday. Current and former employees, however, told NBC the program ended because Google feared backlash in the wake of former software engineer James Damore’s 2018 lawsuit that accused the company of ideological discrimination.

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Commentary: Big Tech, Privacy, and Power

The ground is shifting quickly beneath our feet when it comes to tech, privacy, and power. And, although tech companies, their advocates, and even some policymakers, would like us to imagine these issues are cut and dried, they are not.

In their book The Sovereign Individual, published on the eve of the year 2000, James Dale Davidson and William Rees-Mogg attempt to grapple with the forthcoming technological changes that the new millennium inevitably would bring. “As technology revolutionizes the tools we use,” they wrote, “it also antiquates our laws, reshapes our morals, and alters our perceptions.”

This is the dynamic that has been unfolding slowly over the last 20 years, as Google, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms have transformed how we engage with communications, culture, commerce, and one another.

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Commentary: Big Tech’s Toadying to Chinese Communists Demands Action

As the world grapples with the coronavirus pandemic, China has become infamous for its role in allowing the virus to spread. From misleading the World Health Organization about the virus’s contagious elements, restricting the access of global investigators to infected sites, and lying about their infection numbers, China single-handedly stole months of preparation from other countries that have been savaged by the disease.

China has also hoarded masks and personal protective equipment from desperate countries and threatened to withhold critical medicines relied upon by millions of Americans.

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Attorneys General Give Conflicting Views on Future of Antitrust Probe Targeting Google as States Respond to Virus Spread

The attorneys general who are involved in an antitrust investigation targeting Google are weighing whether to press the accelerator on the probe or focus resources on the coronavirus response.

Google is doing everything it can to protect not only its employees, but also Americans, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry told the Daily Caller News Foundation. He is referring to what he said was the company’s work to help the Trump administration on the virus response.

Landry is one of the 33 attorneys general who is helping to spearhead the probe.

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Apple’s Digital Assistant Siri Told Users Israel’s Reuvin Rivlin Was the ‘President of the Zionist Occupation State’

by Chris White   Apple’s voice-controlled assistant told the big tech company’s customers Saturday night that Israel President Reuvin Rivlin is the leader of the Zionist occupation state.” Someone changed Rivlin’s Wikipedia page to describe Israel’s president as the “main child of Israel,” Israel’s i24 News reported Saturday. Apple and Google often rely…

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Commentary: The Tricky Ethics of Google’s Project Nightingale

The nation’s second-largest health system, Ascension, has agreed to allow the software behemoth Google access to tens of millions of patient records. The partnership, called Project Nightingale, aims to improve how information is used for patient care. Specifically, Ascension and Google are trying to build tools, including artificial intelligence and machine learning, “to make health records more useful, more accessible and more searchable” for doctors.

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