Peter Thiel, known defender of people’s rights to say what they want online.
The Wall Street Journal have reported that parasite Peter Thiel is responsible for Facebook’s controversial policy against fact-checking political ads.
Wall Street Journal is paywalled heavily though, so I will be quoting from a CNBC article about it.
Lauren Feiner writes for CNBC:
“The Facebook board member and Palantir co-founder pushed for the company’s controversial policy, which has been the subject of debate inside and outside Facebook, the Journal reported, citing unnamed sources. Zuckerberg has publicly argued that Facebook should not be the one to decide which claims are true when it comes to political ads, while critics say that stance will allow misinformation to continue to thrive on the platform.”
The obvious contradiction here is, Peter Thiel is most known, to most people, as an enemy to the press. He bankrolled Hulk Hogan’s lengthy and prohibitively expensive court case against Gawker. Hogan was suing Gawker because they published clips of him before and after sex.
Thiel’s personal issue with Gawker, is they outed him as gay several years before, and Thiel (who I imagined was full of seething rage this whole time), held onto that grudge until the time was right, and latched onto a separate lawsuit to take down Gawker.
Also, Zuckerberg’s claim that it’s not Facebook’s responsibility to fact check political ads, on the surface, is meant to evoke freedom of speech. However, we know that Thiel isn’t big on free speech. We have reports that Thiel is behind this policy. So what power dynamics are really at play? What freedoms do they really want to defend?
Thiel, Zuckerberg, and basically any rich tech asshole’s goal is to increase the power of capital, because capital is the currency they trade in. Capital is already immensely and singularly powerful, to a point where the richest of the rich can’t really get more powerful with more capital, but they can continue to commodify and consolidate power into the capitalist realm.
Thiel recognizes this. What he’s realized facebook can, and should do, is be a for-profit propaganda machine. This strengthens capital because political control isn’t coming straight from the state, and Thiel isn’t burdened by a conventional news press, so political control is being laundered into social media, for profit.
“Thiel has reportedly bumped heads over politics with other directors on Facebook’s board. In 2016, after Thiel delivered a speech supporting Trump at the Republican National Convention, director and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings told Thiel in an email that his support of Trump demonstrated “catastrophically bad judgment,” The New York Times reported. Both Hastings and former White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles, will not stand for reelection to the board, Facebook previously announced. Bowles also has had tensions with Thiel in the past, sources told the Journal.”
So, we established that by distributing political propaganda through facebook, it strengthens capital by tying it into the political distribution process. We get why capitalists like Thiel would want to make money even more important for message distribution.
But why does it matter that Thiel is a conservative asshole? From the most liberal to the most conservative capitalists, there’s universal desire for their capital to give them more power. The Netflix CEO should be just as supportive of this type of fusion of media and politics as Thiel (and, in fact, he is in favor of it).
Thiel is unique, however, as a right-wing ideologue. Most technocapitalists want to regurgitate culture back into itself, reifying itself by the cold comfort of society, like a loop. Netflix heavily focus tests things to determine exactly what people want.
Thiel wants to make people think what he wants them to think.
And Thiel knows that letting politicians lie on his platform will help Republicans. Because Republicans, since Trump, have been (even more than before), in the market of selling a fake, scary reality, to justify their position.