Vi beklager ikke ulejligheden…

Google was all over the Danish news today. Here’s a summary from Berlingske (“Google ville forbyde lakridspiber. Nu har politikerne fĂĄet nok“):

Sagen om DR og Google begyndte onsdag, da Google Play Team fjernede DRs børneapp »DR Ramasjang« fra deres digitale butik, Play.

Ifølge en mail, som Googles Play Team har sendt til DR, og som Politiken har læst, er problemet blandt andet, at appen indeholder »skildringer af tobak, piber og farlige aktiviteter, der ikke er passende for børn, som er under 13«. Ordene dækker over, at deltagerne i Ramasjang Mysteriet får udstukket en lakridspibe, samt over et spil med karakteren Onkel Reje, der tæver ninjaer.

Igennem det seneste år har det amerikanske firma i øvrigt sendt ni klager over DRs brug af lakridspiber, og i marts måned klagede Google over et pruttespil, som DR havde i appen.

The Ramasjang App has been returned to the Google Play store, apparently without any explanation (not even a generic apology for any inconvenience, at least as of this writing), but the episode is proving to have been what Americans would call a “teachable moment.”

The same article provided me, for example, the shock of finding myself in complete and total agreement with Enhedslisten (emphasis mine):

Også Enhedslistens medieordfører, Søren Søndergaard, mener, at det er tid til politisk indgriben.

»Der tegner sig et billede af en tendens, hvor store private firmaer lukker eller fjerner ting, som de ikke bryder sig om. Hvis opmærksomheden bliver stor nok, som her, så dukker de sig igen. Det duer jo ikke. Hvad sker der så i de sager, hvor der ikke er opmærksomhed eller ressourcer? Det sidste, vi må gøre, er at sætte os ned og klappe i hænderne over, at børnene igen kan se Onkel Reje. Magten er i stadig højere grad placeret uden for Danmark,« siger Søren Søndergaard, der allerede har sendt en række spørgsmål til kulturministeren.

Blandt andet mener han, at Joy Mogensen skal forholde sig til, hvorvidt man kan lave et dansk alternativ til de amerikanske services.

I have only one thing to say to that:

Welcome to the party, pal.

Those of us on the right have been trying to get your attention for a while, and we’re glad to have it. See, the “Big Tech” monopolies aren’t just concerned about licorice pipes and farting in children’s games: they also care about politics. Deeply. And just as they feel justified in limiting what games children may and may not be exposed to, they feel justified in limiting what political messages adults may and may not be exposed to.

Which, one might argue, as indeed I will, is slightly more important than the question of childrens’ access to fart-alongs with Bamse.

Enhedlisten and other leftist groups and individuals may have been comfortable with this state of affairs in the past because Big Tech is largely on their side of the political divide, but Søndergaard’s point about apps is equally applicable to politics: “Det duer jo ikke. Hvad sker der sĂĄ i de sager, hvor der ikke er opmærksomhed eller ressourcer?”

What indeed?

Well, the “little people” without attention or resources get deplatformed. Silenced. And that’s it. Their videos get removed from or demonetized on YouTube. They get shadowbanned on Twitter and Facebook. Their privately hosted website gets buried in or blocked entirely from search engine results. It doesn’t matter how smart or accurate or valuable the content: if they don’t like it, it’s gone.

If they’re willing to block a state-sponsored media company’s children’s app because of licorice pipes or farts, what do you think they’re doing to political messages they happen to disagree with?