Why US rightwing populists and their global allies disagree over big tech

Evgeny Morozov in The Guardian:

[T]here’s one issue on which there’s no agreement between American rightwing populists and their peers in the rest of the world: what to make of Silicon Valley. On the one hand, its services and platforms have been a boon to the populists everywhere, greatly boosting their audience numbers and allowing them to target potential voters with highly personalized messages; the Cambridge Analytica fiasco has made it quite clear. Today, upstart and new rightwing parties like Spain’s Vox instinctively understand the primacy of digital battles; Vox already leads all other Spanish parties in terms of Instagram followers.

This pragmatic embrace of digital platforms is where the populist consensus ends; the intellectual evaluation of Silicon Valley’s significance is rather cacophonous. The American wing of the movement sees big tech as an attractive target of attack; for them, Silicon Valley is a bizarre mix of greedy capitalists and “cultural Marxists”, keen on indoctrinating their users into leftwing ideas while getting filthy rich off everyone’s data. Populists in the rest of the world, in contrast, see Silicon Valley’s platforms as their best chance of escaping the intellectual hegemony of their own domestic “cultural Marxists”, firmly ensconced in elite institutions, such as the media, the academia, and the Deep State.

More here.

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