Editor’s note: Activist mom Stacy Singh is a former full-time writer for AFA Journal. She and her husband Maurice are missionaries at Look Unto Jesus ministries in India (globaloutreach.org). Watch for Part 2 of Stacy Singh’s series in the June issue of AFA Journal. It will focus on alternate web technology options for families. For a free six-month subscription to the print edition, visit here.
Who broke the internet? I asked myself, as I typed one query after another into Google’s search engine. Zero conservative news sources appeared in the search results listing. Instead, I repeatedly found the same few dozen headlines from CNN, New York Times, Washington Post, and other bastions of liberal media. I realized that Google’s algorithms had been set to work in sync with select content while filtering conservative voices to the bottom of the stack.
Turning to Facebook, where I regularly kept up with posts from news sources and conservative organizations, I found it to be saturated with “fact checks” blacking out posts and warning labels declaring information to be untrue, but also a slew of suggested articles coming from a liberal viewpoint. Posts would suddenly disappear, deleted by content moderators. And entire accounts would go offline as users were locked out for making political statements.
Finally, in the second week of January, the situation came to a head when Facebook and Twitter indefinitely suspended Donald Trump, then sitting president of the United States, from their platforms.
Shut down, locked out
The president was not alone as the recipient of rampant censorship. Conservative leaders have repeatedly been punished in this way for speaking out on political and ideological issues, and the repercussions of censorship have impacted the personal lives of individuals as friends, careers, and freedoms have been lost.
To name a few examples, in January, Amazon ripped its web hosting service out from under the conservative-friendly app Parler and more recently began deleting from its online store books alleged to contain “hate speech,” including Dr. Ryan Anderson’s book When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Movement. (See AFA Journal, 11/20.)
Stores such as Kohl’s, Wayfair, and Bed Bath & Beyond quietly dropped sales of conservative-owned MyPillow products, and PayPal blocked the crowdfunding site GiveSendGo used to send visitors to Washington, D.C., for pro-Trump rallies. In February, Disney’s Lucasfilm, fired actress Gina Carano for making pro-Republican posts on Twitter.
Leading up to and immediately following the 2020 elections and the end of President Trump’s term in office, the world has been made painfully aware of new masters of the universe. Instead of political, military, or religious leaders, the dominant influencers of this era have been those who control “Big Tech” – Facebook, Google, Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft. And these are not the only companies taking part in a massive campaign to silence conservatives. They are imitated by many other major businesses and aided by mainstream news and the Hollywood mob.
The price paid
While keeping a tight restraint on free speech, the spread of information, and the debate of ideas, each of these companies makes a huge profit from a conservative presence. The almighty dollar plays a direct role when people shop for products, subscribe to Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime, or use services offered by businesses such as PayPal.
Even free programs such as Google’s search engine or Facebook’s social media accounts make a return by gathering data from every “hit” or click made online. Web cookies, cross-site tracking, analytics, IP addresses, behavioral interactions, and many more methods of data collection all combine to create a huge digital footprint marking the trail any individual blazes through the web.
Big Tech can then use the data for direct marketing to consumers. Furthermore, the data can be compiled by data brokers into more detailed and valuable profiles. Altogether, it amounts to a multi-billion-dollar industry.
When my husband began shopping online for auto insurance rates and those ads began showing up on our television streaming services, and then the pharmaceutical ads playing on our television began showing up on his Facebook account, it became a little too much to ignore, and we felt that we had had enough.
According to a November 2019 study by Pew Research, 81% of Americans feel that they, too, have had enough, saying the potential risks of data collection are greater than the benefits. Seventy-two percent are convinced that advertisers and tech giants track almost all their online activities, and 91% believe people have lost control of how their personal information is obtained and used.
The AFA way
The Big Tech effort at crushing conservatives while profiting from those same users is so blatant and widespread that for us, it became unconscionable to continue using such websites, even though it seemed impossible to escape the companies whose names have become synonymous with using the internet.
However, with a due measure of research and by tweaking a few settings, I have been able to reconfigure my web experience. Although it was at first a time-consuming process, it took less time than wading through a mass of liberal propaganda every day. At the same time, I have peace of mind knowing that I am working to cut off the financial pipeline to corporations that promote ideologies I disagree with while also protecting privacy for my family and myself.
This approach is none less than AFA has advocated for years, spearheading boycotts of companies, including Target, PayPal, and Netflix that have adopted policies antagonistic to conservative and family values. This is no time to back down as anti-American, anti-family, and anti-Christian actors in our nation grow bolder and more aggressive in their attacks.
As AFA has taught for years, cutting ties to liberal corporations that control so much of American culture is necessary for the sake of freedom, truth, and Christian values. Especially when it seems those in power do not support what is right, it is important that individuals take action to do what is right. It may not be easy, pleasant, or economical, but it is worth it for the sake of living in and protecting freedom, defending our privacy, fighting for truth to be upheld in our society, and changing the direction of culture.
Additional information and resources
Why some stay on social media
Some Christians and conservatives maintain an online presence on sites such as Facebook and Twitter as an avenue of activism. Personally, I rarely post and am more concerned with safeguarding my family’s privacy.
However, there are valid reasons one might choose to stay. High-profile personalities, organizations, or ministries such as AFA have more widespread impact and can push back against restrictions by remaining in the public eye. Also, Christians may connect to strengthen and support each other.
More resources for moms
1MM (onemillionmoms.com) is one arm of AFA that has long been a watchdog to keep families aware of negative content produced by America’s corporations and hold them accountable.
“One Million Moms warns parents of harmful media attacking our families,” Monica Cole, 1MM director, told AFA Journal. “We give our supporters resources to speak out and let their voices be heard with action alerts and online petitions.”