At a widely anticipated hearing on Capitol Hill Tuesday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) asked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about the platform’s political bias against conservatives.
“There are a great many Americans who I would say are deeply concerned that Facebook and other tech companies are engaged in a pervasive pattern of bias and political censorship,” Cruz said
Cruz cited the banning of a Chick-Fil-A appreciation page, a former partner who cut ties with Facebook after it came to light that he was financially backing a pro-Trump organization, and the outspoken Trump fans Diamond and Silk, who were recently told their content was “unsafe” for the Facebook community. (Notably, Cruz did not ask about Cambridge Analytica, with which Cruz’s backers worked.)
It was then that Zuckerberg, with current VP of Facebook and former George W. Bush employee Joel Kaplan sitting behind him, pandered to Cruz, saying he understands Cruz’s concerns about political bias, especially considering “Facebook and tech industry is located in Silicon Valley, which is an extremely left-leaning place.”
It’s a laughable response, all things considered.
Silicon Valley is a shrine to capitalism on the west coast of a country borne of colonialism, a place that continues to make white men rich and has a history of shunning women. On top of that, Facebook itself is also a hotbed for conservative news, with Fox News, the Daily Mail, The Hill, The New York Post, and Breitbart all in the top 25 sites with the most engagement on Facebook just last month.
That engagement with right-wing ideas isn’t restricted to Facebook’s users — it’s all over Silicon Valley. Take Curtis Yarvin, for example, a computer programmer and darling among those thinly-veiled fascists known as the “alt right,” who also wants to sell you software. Yarvin is hardly the only technocrat who espouses the neo-fascist “dark enlightenment” philosophy, as Quartz noted last year.
Just last month, The Guardian reported on a number of extremely libertarian Silicon Valley billionaires who, having predicted the downfall of liberal democracies, are prepping for the apocalypse in New Zealand. Among them? Peter Thiel.
Thiel, who founded PayPal, touts a net worth of $2.6 billion and his greatest hits include killing Gawker (RIP) and literally wanting to use the blood of the young to keep himself alive forever. He’s also been a member of Facebook’s board for more than a decade and was the only Silicon Valley mogul to publicly back Donald Trump.
Additionally, Thiel has argued that capitalism and democracy are incompatible, and the solution, he has determined, is to rid ourselves of democracy.
Ideology aside, the way the Silicon Valley elites have descended on Northern California has had terrible repercussions for the neediest among us: The spike in homelessness in rural California has been directly linked to Silicon Valley. Average rents have skyrocketed in recent years, and those who can’t afford them have been forced out. Thousands of people in the area have been forced to sleep on the street, and when San Jose proposed temporary “tiny homes” to help, residents said absolutely not.