Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Where are the Whistleblowers?

 

As high-tech companies prepare to help the political Left dominate pre-election rhetoric, they will likely ramp up their efforts to silence the Right, especially on controversial issues like abortion. One young man decided not to stand by and immediately lost his job as a result.

Eric Cochran was a technical employee at Pinterest. He contacted Project Veritas when he saw that a staff member of Pinterest had listed an anti-abortion site, Live Action, on the Pinterest pornographic list:

I did this because I saw wrongdoing and the normalization of censorship within Big Tech companies right now is downright un-American. And I saw this as the fight for abortion. I saw a Big Tech company saying … behind closed doors that they believe that Live Action shouldn’t have a platform to speak, and the big thing is: I want them to have to … say this publicly instead of behind closed doors.

Cochran shared his thoughts with Tucker Carlson after Carlson learned that Cochran was fired without notice and escorted from his office.

Facebook and Twitter have already been called out for censoring posts from people on the Right. We’ve seen our own Ricochet members suspended or removed from those sites without explanation. Twitter won’t sell advertisements to Live Action, who apparently has experienced “detrimental treatment” from Google and YouTube.

After Project Veritas contacted Pinterest regarding Live Action’s being placed on their porn list, they were removed from that list. Hours later, though, Live Action’s Lilah Rose got an email saying it had been suspended:

‘Your account was permanently suspended because its contents went against our policies on misinformation,’ said the email provided by Rose. ‘We don’t allow harmful misinformation on Pinterest. That includes medical misinformation and conspiracies that turn individuals and facilities into targets for harassment or violence.’

I realize that Eric Cochran has made a personal sacrifice. We don’t know how difficult a time he will have finding another job; I doubt that he’ll find one in the tech companies who are politically Left, or any company that might be leery about whistleblowers. I hope that there are other courageous people in the tech world who are seeing these attacks on free speech and acts of censorship who will be willing to speak up. If enough of them took action, it would be difficult to fire all of them!

Cochran called out to his colleagues who might be willing to speak up:

Cochran said he believes this is a ‘watershed’ moment,’ and that he hopes other pro-lifers at tech companies will come forward, forcing their employers to explicitly say they are pro-abortion so the public knows their political stances.

‘Now they are in full cover-up mode as they try to protect their pro-abortion stances,’ he said. ‘Now with YouTube doing Pinterest’s bidding by removing the Project Veritas video, you’re seeing that they are going to do whatever it takes. They are 100 percent in to protect the abortion lobby.’

I’m skeptical about companies’ willingness to show their true stripes, but I still hope that their employees will call them out.

Let’s hope that others answer Eric Cochran’s call.

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There are 27 comments.

  1. Barfly Member

    I figure that tech company whistleblowers are, if anything, more likely to speak out than are, say, good-and-true FBI agents. Just picking an example at random, you know, because we’re regularly assured that the problems lie with a few bad actors at the top.

    • #1
    • June 16, 2019, at 4:34 PM PST
    • 9 likes
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Barfly (View Comment):

    I figure that tech company whistleblowers are, if anything, more likely to speak out than are, say, good-and-true FBI agents. Just picking an example at random, you know, because we’re regularly assured that the problems lie with a few bad actors at the top.

    Right. Ahem. But I think it is noteworthy that Cochran is not from the government and he is calling out to those in private companies. Again, I know it will be tough, but in a climate where companies are desperate for skilled workers, it may not b e as tough to get a job as people think. Thanks, @barfly.

    • #2
    • June 16, 2019, at 4:37 PM PST
    • 1 like
  3. Percival Thatcher

    I was getting peppered with “ancient aliens” and assorted other gunk on my Pinterest account. Once their algorithm decides that you have a particular interest, there doesn’t seem to be any way to dissuade it.

    Whatever Pinterest’s abortion stance is, they are objectively pro-nonsense. Labelling Project Veritas as a porn site and firing this guy was the final straw. I’ve quit already.

    • #3
    • June 16, 2019, at 4:38 PM PST
    • 8 likes
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Percival (View Comment):

    I was getting peppered with “ancient aliens” and assorted other gunk on my Pinterest account. Once their algorithm decides that you have a particular interest, there doesn’t seem to be any way to dissuade it.

    Whatever Pinterest’s abortion stance is, they are objectively pro-nonsense. Labelling Project Veritas as a porn site and firing this guy was the final straw. I’ve quit already.

    Just to be clear, I think that Live Action was put on the porn list; the video of Project Veritas was removed from YouTube. They have both essentially been targeted.

    • #4
    • June 16, 2019, at 4:41 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  5. Henry Castaigne Member

    Regrettably, I am leaning more and more towards government intervention in these big tech companies. I don’t like using government power but they seem insistent on saying one thing and doing another. Furthermore, these social media corporations have incredible amounts of power. 

    I usually don’t like using government power because government power is very hard to constrain and it can easily get out of hand. But these corporations seem to relish using their power to silence conservative voices. I feel like the illiberalism of these companies is forcing my to open the Pandora’s box of government regulation. 

    • #5
    • June 16, 2019, at 4:43 PM PST
    • 12 likes
  6. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge

     I doubt you will find many whistle blowers since tech, especially on the leading edge is very progressive. These are people that spend much time in their heads and in machines. Not so much thinking through real world issues. When you are raised in your parents basements and your first jobs are with companies that supply many needs like lunch, dinner and snacks, you sort of do not understand why the rest of the world does not get these things.

    • #6
    • June 16, 2019, at 5:06 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  7. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    I doubt you will find many whistle blowers since tech, especially on the leading edge is very progressive. These are people that spend much time in their heads and in machines. Not so much thinking through real world issues. When you are raised in your parents basements and your first jobs are with companies that supply many needs like lunch, dinner and snacks, you sort of do not understand why the rest of the world does not get these things.

    We don’t need a lot of them. We just need a few very vocal ones!

    • #7
    • June 16, 2019, at 5:17 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  8. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    I doubt you will find many whistle blowers since tech, especially on the leading edge is very progressive. These are people that spend much time in their heads and in machines. Not so much thinking through real world issues. When you are raised in your parents basements and your first jobs are with companies that supply many needs like lunch, dinner and snacks, you sort of do not understand why the rest of the world does not get these things.

    We don’t need a lot of them. We just need a few very vocal ones!

    Usually not their way. Look for Wikileaks type data dumps and anonymous hacker stuff.

    • #8
    • June 16, 2019, at 5:19 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  9. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Regrettably, I am leaning more and more towards government intervention in these big tech companies. I don’t like using government power but they seem insistent on saying one thing and doing another. Furthermore, these social media corporations have incredible amounts of power.

    I usually don’t like using government power because government power is very hard to constrain and it can easily get out of hand. But these corporations seem to relish using their power to silence conservative voices. I feel like the illiberalism of these companies is forcing my to open the Pandora’s box of government regulation.

    It’s so tempting, Henry, seeing how badly the techs are behaving. But I just can’t go there. The customer is king, and we are the ones who have to speak up and make life difficult for these companies. And I’m hoping their employees will be fed up, too, and realize that this could be their moment. Step up!

    • #9
    • June 16, 2019, at 5:21 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  10. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    I doubt you will find many whistle blowers since tech, especially on the leading edge is very progressive. These are people that spend much time in their heads and in machines. Not so much thinking through real world issues. When you are raised in your parents basements and your first jobs are with companies that supply many needs like lunch, dinner and snacks, you sort of do not understand why the rest of the world does not get these things.

    We don’t need a lot of them. We just need a few very vocal ones!

    Usually not their way. Look for Wikileaks type data dumps and anonymous hacker stuff.

    @fakejohnjanegalt, I don’t care where the call-outs come from. I just want the information out there. And maybe if they send out leaks, it will get enough attention that even the MSM can’t ignore them.

    • #10
    • June 16, 2019, at 5:22 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  11. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    I doubt you will find many whistle blowers since tech, especially on the leading edge is very progressive. These are people that spend much time in their heads and in machines. Not so much thinking through real world issues. When you are raised in your parents basements and your first jobs are with companies that supply many needs like lunch, dinner and snacks, you sort of do not understand why the rest of the world does not get these things.

    We don’t need a lot of them. We just need a few very vocal ones!

    Usually not their way. Look for Wikileaks type data dumps and anonymous hacker stuff.

    @fakejohnjanegalt, I don’t care where the call-outs come from. I just want the information out there. And maybe if they send out leaks, it will get enough attention that even the MSM can’t ignore them.

    Then there is a question about who to leak to? The government that supports and maybe sponsors the censorship? The news media that is part of that complex?

    • #11
    • June 16, 2019, at 5:29 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  12. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    I doubt you will find many whistle blowers since tech, especially on the leading edge is very progressive. These are people that spend much time in their heads and in machines. Not so much thinking through real world issues. When you are raised in your parents basements and your first jobs are with companies that supply many needs like lunch, dinner and snacks, you sort of do not understand why the rest of the world does not get these things.

    We don’t need a lot of them. We just need a few very vocal ones!

    Usually not their way. Look for Wikileaks type data dumps and anonymous hacker stuff.

    @fakejohnjanegalt, I don’t care where the call-outs come from. I just want the information out there. And maybe if they send out leaks, it will get enough attention that even the MSM can’t ignore them.

    Then there is a question about who to leak to? The government that supports and maybe sponsors the censorship? The news media that is part of that complex?

    Neither. I’d go to Breibart, WSJ, and all the blogs on the Right. If it gets enough exposure, I think WaPo or the NYT will reluctantly pick it up. At some point the MSM is going to realize it’s going to have to shift. I’ve already seen some small changes. How willing will they be to have egg on their faces when the avalanche picks up speed?

    • #12
    • June 16, 2019, at 6:03 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  13. The Reticulator Member

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):
    Regrettably, I am leaning more and more towards government intervention in these big tech companies. I don’t like using government power but they seem insistent on saying one thing and doing another. Furthermore, these social media corporations have incredible amounts of power. 

    I hate when people call for intervention or regulation, but don’t specify which intervention or regulation.

    • #13
    • June 16, 2019, at 6:15 PM PST
    • 1 like
  14. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    I also want to challenge Fake John’s comment that the tech people in those companies are mostly liberals. I know the head people are, but I wonder if there are lots more Conservatives than we think who are keeping their heads low? Maybe it’s time to lift their heads out of the sand. What do you tech-types here on Ricochet think? Are there Righties in techie town?

    • #14
    • June 16, 2019, at 6:26 PM PST
    • 1 like
  15. The Reticulator Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    I also want to challenge Fake John’s comment that the tech people in those companies are mostly liberals. I know the head people are, but I wonder if there are lots more Conservatives than we think who are keeping their heads low? Maybe it’s time to lift their heads out of the sand. What do you tech-types here on Ricochet think? Are their Righties in techie town?

    As a tech-type I’d say they are a lot rarer than you might think. I worked mostly in a university environment where there were some righties among the support staffers, but not very much among the full-time technical people. (A lot of other support staffers also provide technical support these days, which is why I make the distinction.) I didn’t find so many righties among contacts in private industry, either. At the university I may have found more conservatism among faculty members than among technical support staff. Maybe it’s a close call.

    • #15
    • June 16, 2019, at 6:47 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  16. DonG Coolidge

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):
    I doubt you will find many whistle blowers since tech, especially on the leading edge is very progressive.

    I don’t know if they start progressive, but I guarantee they are brainwashed continually on woke culture. They also know they may be “spied” on at any time. Furthermore, half of the code slingers will be non-Americans and they will be especially schooled on wokeness and indifferent to “local” politics. Pro-life is a meaningless issue. Free speech is a meaningless concept. You don’t have to explain too hard to a guy from China that he is being watched and he must be careful not to upset the powers that be. 

    • #16
    • June 16, 2019, at 7:26 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  17. Clifford A. Brown Contributor

    Either the conduct is legal, meaning within the four corners of existing federal and state law, or it is not. If the federal law provides significant protection these content platforms just so long as they act as neutral forums, rather than publishers, then the time is now for individuals and entities to start suing for liable or intellectual property violations, stating in the initial pleadings that the plaintiff will show that the corporation has, by its actions, left the protections of “neutral content provider,” for the status of “publisher.”

    The SEC needs to immediately open an investigation into the alleged failure of the leadership in these public corporations to control risk to their stock value, or to advise of their intent to assume a previously undisclosed risk by changing their status to publisher.

    An antitrust investigation must also be opened now.

    The basic idea is to drive them back into real content neutrality.

     

    • #17
    • June 16, 2019, at 8:04 PM PST
    • 8 likes
  18. Barfly Member

    Not quite on topic with the whistleblowers, but this discussion invites a question. We certainly need to address our social tech dystopia, but it seems to me the kink in the network is that we’ve granted these companies the most lenient of both worlds. They’re commercial publishers and public platforms as it suits them. They have all the privileges of both and none of the responsibilities of either.

    Why don’t we just fix this obvious problem? Then we don’t have to even worry about government intervention – we’ll have reduced the problem to one we already handle in older markets.

    At one time, this question was being discussed. What’s wrong with that? Isn’t that better than making a further mistake and tying ourselves in more sophisticated knots? That’s what intervention in this market will do.

    • #18
    • June 16, 2019, at 8:13 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  19. Clifford A. Brown Contributor

    Barfly (View Comment):

    Not quite on topic with the whistleblowers, but this discussion invites a question. We certainly need to address our social tech dystopia, but it seems to me the kink in the network is that we’ve granted these companies the most lenient of both worlds. They’re commercial publishers and public platforms as it suits them. They have all the privileges of both and none of the responsibilities of either.

    Why don’t we just fix this obvious problem? Then we don’t have to even worry about government intervention – we’ll have reduced the problem to one we already handle in older markets.

    At one time, this question was being discussed. What’s wrong with that? Isn’t that better than making a further mistake and tying ourselves in more sophisticated knots? That’s what intervention in this market will do.

    Exactly. 

    • #19
    • June 16, 2019, at 8:17 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  20. Mim526 Member

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Regrettably, I am leaning more and more towards government intervention in these big tech companies. I don’t like using government power but they seem insistent on saying one thing and doing another. Furthermore, these social media corporations have incredible amounts of power.

    I usually don’t like using government power because government power is very hard to constrain and it can easily get out of hand. But these corporations seem to relish using their power to silence conservative voices. I feel like the illiberalism of these companies is forcing my to open the Pandora’s box of government regulation.

    I agree with @barfly: seems to me big techs are increasingly functioning as publishers and not mere platforms/service providers. I’m for changing their status to reflect what they do, which would allow them to be sued. I am not for allowing the government to determine the type of speech that is acceptable on a private platform.

    Also, the monopoly laws need updated to include monopolistic practices across industries, not just within similar or the same industry.

    Our slander and libel laws need updated to hold our media accountable for what they say about individuals, particularly when it promotes or results in physical or economic harm. Too many of them do little to no homework before publishing or making public remarks in their work capacity, and I think I would include social media remarks made under profiles that list their journalistic affiliations as work.

    • #20
    • June 16, 2019, at 11:48 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  21. WillowSpring Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    I also want to challenge Fake John’s comment that the tech people in those companies are mostly liberals. I know the head people are, but I wonder if there are lots more Conservatives than we think who are keeping their heads low? Maybe it’s time to lift their heads out of the sand. What do you tech-types here on Ricochet think? Are their Righties in techie town?

    As a working Engineer/software designer, I would think that the actual “tech” work tends to drive you towards being conservative – depending on data and results. The circuit you are designing or the code you are writing doesn’t care much about how you feel about it.

    As you move up towards marketing or management, feelings/liberalism increase.

    Of course, I’ve never worked in a liberal bubble of a place like Silicon Valley. I expect it is different there.

    • #21
    • June 17, 2019, at 4:01 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  22. WillowSpring Member

    Like @barfly, when I saw the heading of the OP, my first thought was that it was asking about low level FBI employees, in particular those outside of the main DC headquarters.

    I am starting to think that even if the rot started at the top, it has infected the entire organization.

    • #22
    • June 17, 2019, at 4:54 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  23. PHCheese Member

    The government is the problem not the solution. Big Tech will see its downturn like everything else that over reaches. Market forces wi come to the rescue.

    • #23
    • June 17, 2019, at 5:11 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  24. Henry Castaigne Member

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):
    Regrettably, I am leaning more and more towards government intervention in these big tech companies. I don’t like using government power but they seem insistent on saying one thing and doing another. Furthermore, these social media corporations have incredible amounts of power.

    I hate when people call for intervention or regulation, but don’t specify which intervention or regulation.

    I am reluctantly calling for social media to have a transparent code for what they would censor. As it is now, they censor anyone they disagree with whenever they like. 

     

    • #24
    • June 17, 2019, at 6:33 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  25. The Reticulator Member

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):
    Regrettably, I am leaning more and more towards government intervention in these big tech companies. I don’t like using government power but they seem insistent on saying one thing and doing another. Furthermore, these social media corporations have incredible amounts of power.

    I hate when people call for intervention or regulation, but don’t specify which intervention or regulation.

    I am reluctantly calling for social media to have a transparent code for what they would censor. As it is now, they censor anyone they disagree with whenever they like.

     

    I think that is is on the right track. Maybe it can be something that could come under the heading of contract law.

    • #25
    • June 17, 2019, at 7:28 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  26. Full Size Tabby Member

    Rather than expect more “whistleblowers,” I’m with several commenters above in treating the social media companies for legal purposes as the publishers they now clearly have announced they are. They claim to be exerting editorial control, so they are publishers. So hold them legally accountable (libel, slander, copyright infringement, etc.) for everything any of their “members” say. This won’t immediately get conservatives back on, but I suspect the social media companies will quickly tire of swatting at thousands of lawsuits based on the activities of their “members” and decide to go back to being actual content-neutral platforms. They can even help to re-educate the public about the virtues of free speech and how bad ideas are countered not by silencing the bad idea, but by presenting better ideas. Obviously our government-run education system has failed that basic parameter of education.

    • #26
    • June 17, 2019, at 10:08 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  27. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    Rather than expect more “whistleblowers,” I’m with several commenters above in treating the social media companies for legal purposes as the publishers they now clearly have announced they are. They claim to be exerting editorial control, so they are publishers. So hold them legally accountable (libel, slander, copyright infringement, etc.) for everything any of their “members” say. This won’t immediately get conservatives back on, but I suspect the social media companies will quickly tire of swatting at thousands of lawsuits based on the activities of their “members” and decide to go back to being actual content-neutral platforms. They can even help to re-educate the public about the virtues of free speech and how bad ideas are countered not by silencing the bad idea, but by presenting better ideas. Obviously our government-run education system has failed that basic parameter of education.

    @fullsizetabby, I like much of what you say, but I’m also skeptical. On one hand, it calls to those who have been mistreated to fight back. My concern is that these tech companies have deep pockets, where most of their customers/users do not. Lawsuits can go on for years–how long has Dennis Prager been fighting YouTube? I’m no lawyer, but I wonder if there’s the possibility of a class action suit, so these users could share resources and reduce the potentially enormous cost of lawsuits.

    • #27
    • June 17, 2019, at 10:15 AM PST
    • 4 likes