Is Apple CEO Tim Cook Facilitating Fundamentalism?

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Apple CEO Tim Cook talks at the Debating Ethics event at the European Parliament in Brussels on October 24, 2018. (Photo: Aris Oikonomou / AFP / Getty Images)
Apple CEO Tim Cook talks at the Debating Ethics event at the European Parliament in Brussels on October 24, 2018. (Photo: Aris Oikonomou/AFP/Getty Images)

On December 3rd, 2018, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that tech needs to take a moral stand against hate speech, in a move that sounded very much like a nouveau form of fundamentalism. Speaking to individuals and groups believed to push hate, division and violence, Cook said, “You have no place on our platforms. You have no home here.” 

While such intentions are noble, their application is subjective and deeply flawed. It’s a known fact that political conservatives are frequently blocked and banned from social media, often doing little to nothing to trigger the exile while terror organizations and Islamist extremists continue to enjoy access to the very same platforms.

As reported in part of Clarion Project’s Silicon Valley series, “Who Has the Widest Censorship Reach in Human History,” a combination of leaked memos, whistleblowers, demonstrated behavior and now open statements such as those made by Cook, shows that Silicon Valley has a draconian behavior modification agenda masked by Orwellian “double talk” language that can best be summarized with the mantra “censorship is peace” or better yet, “silence is peace.” 

Peace cannot be ushered by choking voices. Neither is peace authentic when it is forced rather than collaboratively nurtured. 

As a Muslim reformer who has had to fight brick by brick against authoritarian community standards that thinks silence is peace, I am deeply alarmed by the culture of tech companies and their overpowering reach.

Of course, the fact that they have so much power is partly our fault. While we were so joyously marveling over hyper-speed advances in modern technology, voluntarily plugging data and dependency into a new evolving system, we trusted too deeply with our good faith in these organizations —  without contemplating the power they would have to imprint the next phase of human civilization. 

The effect of that imprint is a system that uses humanitarian ideals to push thought control and, when that fails, coerce human behavior with strategic punishment for deviation. 

In other words, if Silicon Valley cannot shame you into submission culturally, it will punish you into submission. In the interim, it will deceptively use the language of freedom and other pinnacle human values of tolerance and unity to ensure intolerance and conformity. 

As a nation we moan about the barbarity of Third World theocratic nations, yet we are building that same culture here. Not with one or two handfuls of fundamentalists from a Third World country, but with the most elite, well-resourced machine in known human history with access to billions of people. 



Where Does U.S. Law Stand on Hate Speech?

Twitter, Facebook and Google: A Soft Form of Extremism?

The Curse of Silicon Valley’s Community Standards

Google is Teaming up With Chinese Authorities


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Shireen Qudosi

Shireen Qudosi is Clarion Project's National Correspondent.

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