Big tech fails in online freedom, gets collective ‘F’

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Washington, USA: Big tech companies are often accused of monopolistic and manipulative business practices. In recent times, many of them have been under the radar of regulators and authorities in several countries.

Many foreign governments have accused them of unfair trade practices and are facing antitrust lawsuit and investigations. Besides, there’s also growing concerns among the general public around the world about the authoritative behaviour of these big tech giants.

The latest Free Speech America (FSA)’s Big Tech Report Card have exposed the dark side of big tech companies including Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Google, YouTube and Apple. In the second quarter Big Tech Report Card, these big tech companies have received collective “F” in online freedom.

(source – Media Research Centre’s FSA’s Big Tech Q2 report)

Free Speech America (FSA) – a project of the Washington based Media Research Centre. It is dedicated to recording and exposing bias and censorship by big tech companies.

FSA has graded these companies based on five categories relating to online freedom — free speech, user transparency, bias, responsiveness to user complaints and fact-checking.

Big tech companies, according to the FSA report card performed worse in the second quarter. Despite appalling scores in Q1 following the widespread censorship of former President Donald Trump.

Facebook performed worst among these big tech companies. It received an “F” in nearly every category this quarter, except for “user transparency” in which it got a “D.”

Twitter, Amazon and Apple each received an overall “F” grade. Likewise, Google and YouTube each received “D” grade in overall online freedom.

Censoring former President Donald Trump and restricting content related to COVID-19 are the two most impactful censorship cases in the second quarter.

The report has pointed to Facebook’s authoritative behaviour. The social networking giant has upheld its Oversight Board ruling on Donald Trump and banned the former president from its platform for two years.

After the reports of the lab leak theory investigation surfaced. Facebook reversed its decision to censor content related to the COVID-19 Wuhan lab leak theory.

Besides, those big tech companies, FSA also looked at other platforms namely Parler, Rumble, Gab, FreeTalk and CloutHub. Compared to other big tech companies, these new platforms claim to hold to free speech values.

However, these new platforms were off the hook. Because they are quite new, alternative platforms and there’s lack of data linked to their content moderation.

Hence, MRC’s Free Speech America was unable to assess grades for them this quarter. But as more data become available on new platforms, they may be added to future report cards.

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