Could Online Censorship Affect Your Investments?
The internet has proven to be an amazing invention. In a matter of years, it has gone from a neat tool adding an additional layer of functionality to a vital backbone of everyday life. Take away the internet, and many people today have no idea how to go about their normal lives. We take for granted the ability to access email, look up websites, and use apps at a moment’s notice. But that could change.
The events that shook up Washington, DC last week have seen a reaction from Big Tech, and what we’ve seen so far could only be the tip of the iceberg. Fears of Big Tech’s monopoly on internet presence have existed for years, but now we’re seeing just what coordinated action among Big Tech firms can result in, and it doesn’t look pretty.
With so much of our lives being online today, losing access to the internet or to various websites can be a death sentence for some. Businesses that can no longer advertise or host a website can essentially be disappeared from view, and face losing customers and going into bankruptcy. And investors whose assets are today mostly held and accessed electronically risk not being able to access their wealth when they need it most.
Given the way things are going today, it isn’t inconceivable that many people may find themselves cut off from banks, brokerages, and investment firms if they hold the wrong ideas or anger the wrong people. And it could come at a moment’s notice, completely upending your way of life.
Big Tech’s Purge
One of the first things Big Tech did in reaction to the takeover of the Capitol Building was to shut down President Trump’s social media accounts, such as his Facebook and Twitter page. Regardless of your opinion of President Trump and his actions, the fact that the “most powerful man in the world” could effectively be silenced on social media is worrying. After all, if Trump can be silenced, anyone can be.
The suspension of Trump’s account earned the rebuke of the President of Mexico, himself previously the victim of an allegedly fraudulent election. Leaders in Germany, France, and other European nations similarly expressed their concern at Big Tech’s reaction. And it wasn’t just Trump’s personal account that Twitter censored either. Twitter censored the US government’s official @POTUS account too, and suspended Trump’s campaign Twitter account too. How that doesn’t fall afoul of US election law is probably a question for the Federal Election Commission and its lawyers, so we’ll see how that ends up getting resolved.
Trump wasn’t the only victim of Big Tech’s purge, as alternative social media firm Parler saw itself shut down in a concerted action right after Trump set up an account there. Parler’s web host, Amazon’s AWS, shut down the firm’s site. Simultaneously, every single vendor that worked with the company dropped them, from email service providers to payment processors and even to its lawyers. Parler went from being the top app in the Apple app store to being non-existent, something that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey showed his approval of in a tweet. Will this concerted anti-competitive behavior from Big Tech to shut down its competition merit an antitrust investigation?
Other conservative-leaning sites began to be affected as well, as conservative website Newsmax allegedly was unreachable for a while. AR15.com, the internet’s largest firearms discussion forum, saw its domain name locked by registrar GoDaddy and its DNS services suspended, keeping the site unavailable for hours while administrators scrambled for a fix. And the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL), a Virginia gun rights organization, saw its Mailchimp account shut down, keeping it from sending out important emails to its membership.
This is the pattern we’re going to see in the near future: websites and organizations that engage in wrongthink will face deplatforming in every way possible. They’ll lose their social media accounts, their domain names will be locked, their web hosts will refuse to host them, and their email service providers will erase their lists and cut off service. They’ll try to rebuild, until the next service partners get pressured to end their business relationship too, and the pattern repeats itself. After constantly trying to rebuild, many may end up giving up. And because all of this is being done by “private” businesses, the censorship won’t face a First Amendment challenge.
What Does the Future Hold?
It’s only a matter of time before this type of retaliation begins to affect ordinary citizens too. Say the “wrong” thing on Twitter or Facebook and you could find yourself the target of an online mob that tries to doxx you and get you fired. Many people who attended the Trump rally last week are starting to face disciplinary action at their jobs, even though they had nothing to do with the events at the Capitol.
Eventually, this type of behavior will spread to banks, brokerages, and investment firms, who will break off relationships with those who are deemed to be undesirable or “deplorable.” We saw a foretaste of this with Operation Choke Point under the Obama administration, in which banks were pressured to stop doing business with gun companies, firearms dealers, payday lenders, and other legitimate businesses that the government alleged were at risk of being involved with money laundering or fraud.
Many companies that had done nothing wrong suddenly saw their access to bank accounts, credit card processing, and other basic financial services cut off, endangering their ability to do business. Individuals working in those industries also saw increased scrutiny of their accounts, and it was only after increased public scrutiny, including Congressional hearings, that the government acknowledged the program had overstepped its bounds and shut it down.
With the Biden administration expected to pick up the mantle where Obama left off, an Operation Choke Point-type action could very well end up starting up again. Who it might target and how wide-ranging it might be is anyone’s guess. But given the atmosphere in the nation today, anyone who falls afoul of the gradually shrinking range of acceptable public opinion could be at risk.
Imagine making what you think is a perfectly innocuous comment on social media, only to wake up the next day to find yourself the target of a “canceling” mob. Before you know it, you’ve lost your job or your pension, your bank shuts down your account, and your credit cards are closed. What would you do? How would you go about your everyday life without access to the financial system?
Can Gold Protect You?
One way you could help protect yourself against that possibility is by investing in physical gold coins or bars. With the financial world largely operating electronically today, you could be cut off from your finances with the press of a button. But if you own physical gold bars and coins, that’s not something that can be seized as easily. And because gold remains a niche investment for most investors, if you happen to be targeted by cancel culture, your assets invested in gold will most likely fly under the radar.
As if investors didn’t have enough to worry about already, with a weakening economy, a possible financial crisis just around the corner, and for many investors the possibility of pay cuts, job losses, and subpar investment returns for years to come, now you have to deal with the possibility of being canceled for having the wrong opinions. That’s all the more reason to look into investing in gold now and strengthening your financial position to protect against that possibility before it’s too late.
Don’t let your investments fall victim to cancel culture and censorship. Call Goldco today and learn more about how gold can protect your valued investment assets.