Billionaire Peter Theil, the PayPal co-founder, made headlines recently when he decided to relocate himself and his investment firm from the San Francisco area to Los Angeles. A libertarian, Thiel is one of the few luminaries in progressive Silicon Valley who publicly supported Donald Trump for president.
According to the Guardian, Thiel’s change of address has occurred because he wants to “escape what he views as an increasing intolerance for conservatives” and “comes at a time when conservatives in the Bay Area are feeling increasingly squeezed by what they perceive to be liberal groupthink.”
In a sit-down with Maria Bartiromo of the Fox Business Channel that aired today, Peter Thiel explained that technological innovation is no longer centered only in Silicon Valley and that the Los Angeles area offers a more diversified economy.
He also noted that the likes President Trump, a former Democrat and independent who ran for president as a first-time candidate on the GOP ticket, for the way he challenges accepted political orthodoxies in the U.S. such as “glib globalization.”
Thiel underscored to Bartiromo that he has no issue with living in a predominantly liberal area despite his differences with that political philosophy.
The Silicon Valley tech firms have taken it to the next level, Thiel implied, in the form of politically correct groupthink, however, that is tantamount to a one-party dictatorship, The Daily Caller reported.
“I do think it’s okay to be in a place where most people are liberal or most people have views different from my own. I do think there’s something different when it goes from a large majority having one way to it being almost unanimous. Things are never unanimous. When people are unanimously on one side, that tells you not that they’ve all figured out the truth, but that they’re in a sort of totalitarian place, that they’re in a one-party state, where they’re not allowed to have dissenting views. I think somehow Silicon Valley shifted from being quite liberal to being a one-party state. Those are clearly two very different things.”
Thiel, 50, added that debate-limiting political correctness is the country’s “greatest problem,” and that it is important to push back when necessary so that the debate can include a “much broader range of possibilities.”
Thiel also quipped that he’d encounter the same barriers in Hollywood if he was seeking to become a movie star. He characterized his support for Trump as simultaneously the most and the least contrarian thing he’s ever done.
“Thiel’s decision to support Trump was unpopular among many of his progressive peers in the technology industry, with some calling for him to be dumped from the Facebook board,” the Guardian added.
Parenthetically, Peter Thiel is considering launching a media company offering conservative- and libertarian-focused content assuming he and his team can come up with an appropriate business model.
A backer of bitcoin, which he says could become the “digital equivalent of gold,” Peter Thiel also predicted that Donald Trump would win reelection in 2020, Business Insider reported.
In the clip below, historian Niall Ferguson of Stanford University’s Hoover Institute claims that the 2018 midterm elections could be bad news for Republicans because the network platforms in Silicon Valley like Facebook won’t allow conservative candidates access in the same way the Trump campaign used them in the 2016 presidential election.
Against this backdrop, Trump supporters and others have accused Facebook, Google, and Twitter of engaging in censorship of right-wing websites and individuals through algorithm changes, shadow banning, throttling, de-platforming, and de-monetization.
A number of personalities and entities on the right have found themselves suspended for alleged hate speech under broad-brush standards that they claim aren’t applied to their left-wing counterparts. Silicon Valley critics have assailed the tech firms, moreover, for championing net neutrality but not content neutrality. There are increasing calls across the ideological spectrum to regulate the social media platforms like public utilities.
In a study of 50 online publishers released on Tuesday, The Western Journal, which is a conservative-leaning outlet, concluded that modifications to Facebook’s news feeds have adversely affected conservatives’ market share more than liberals.
“Liberal publishers have gained about 2 percent more web traffic from Facebook than they were getting prior to the algorithm changes implemented in early February. On the other hand, conservative publishers have lost an average of nearly 14 percent of their traffic from Facebook…This algorithm change, intentional or not, has in effect censored conservative viewpoints on the largest social media platform in the world.”
The Outline came up with similar findings after Facebook adjusted the news feeds to de-emphasize content from news publishers.
“According to The Outline‘s analysis of Facebook engagement data obtained from research tool BuzzSumo, conservative and right-wing publishers…were hit the hardest in the weeks following the announcement, with Facebook engagement totals for February dropping as much as 55 percent for some, while the engagement numbers of most predominantly liberal publishers remained unaffected.”
The Outline added that so-called clickbait sites, regardless of ideology, also lost ground under the new parameters.
Citing an online survey about viewpoint diversity of 387 Silicon Valley workers and about two-dozen interviews by the Lincoln Network, described as right-leaning political group for tech workers, Wired summarized the findings.
“Two-thirds or more of respondents who describe themselves as libertarian, conservative or very conservative say they feel less comfortable sharing their ideological views with colleagues since Google fired Damore in August. But only 30 percent of liberals and 14 percent of people who say they are very liberal feel that way…Sixty percent of the very conservative group said they would ‘never’ share their views, compared to just 4.7 percent of very liberals.”
The above-referenced James Damore is the software engineer who was shown the door after authoring the controversial 10-page memo called “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber” that challenged what he perceived as the company’s cosmetic diversity policies and politically correct atmosphere. Damore is now suing Google.
Added: Facebook has just announced it has suspended Cambridge Analytica, the political data firm affiliated with the Trump presidential campaign, from the platform for alleged policy violations.