The following is an op-ed written by Nick Frankel, Vice President of Operations at 2a Gun Show, an online marketplace that allows for the peaceable sales of guns, ammo, and firearms-related products. Tancacea and the team at 2a Gun Show share the pro-gun, and pro-free speech vision of the team here at Pro-Gun News.
In 2021, Big Tech’s agenda to mitigate the presence of conservative voices and businesses was galvanized by an increase in canceled conservative accounts, websites and by limiting their social reach. In particular, E-commerce giant Shopify has actively de-platformed numerous conservative companies from its service. BringAmmo.com, a website that sells patriotic and pro-second amendment apparel and accessories, is currently embroiled in a legal argument with Shopify, accusing the company of conservative bias after blocking a “Free Kyle” (referring to Kyle Rittenhouse) shirt in their shop. Shopify told Seth Weathers, BringAmmo founder/owner, that the product, listed since summer 2020, violated their Acceptable Use Policy. “We’re assuming they’re making the point we can’t sell anything related to raising money for [Rittenhouse],” Weathers said. “Again, they did this without discussion and there is nothing in the Terms of Service that would be a violation unless they are making assumptions about Rittenhouse’s guilt.”
BringAmmo.com is not alone … upstart brands such as GunLoot.com and countless others are suffering the same fate. This aggressive censorship limits smaller entrepreneurs from getting their business off the ground. The startup costs of a new launch on Shopify present a significant risk when choosing a platform that will indiscriminately shut a company down for having a different view.
In recent years, Shopify solidified itself as the largest e-commerce platform provider, with staunch Democratic leadership whose policies align with the current liberal narrative. Unfortunately for conservative businesses – who rely on their platform – due to Shopify’s influence and reputation as the best e-commerce and POS services provider, there are limited alternatives if canceled. If it is discovered conservative policies play a role in their company or personal ethos, Shopify might refuse their services. Because of ideological differences, these companies then have to give up the numerous perks and benefits of working with Shopify.
“They’re the largest e-commerce platform in the world now, and I do believe they’re the best,” Weathers said. “They have integration with other partners we need… We can’t go anywhere … They’re based in Canada. I don’t know why American politics and the Second Amendment should be a concern of theirs … It’s scary when you’ve got kids … You realize how quickly the plug can get pulled because somebody disagrees with you.”
Social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter have also actively shut down and suspended conservative accounts. It is a hypocritical gambit on the social media companies’ part to limit the exposure of speech that detracts from the popular leftist narrative. This was a familiar tune in 2020, but the moratorium on conservative accounts was galvanized in the wake of the Capitol Hill protest.
Here is a list of social media platforms that banned Trump since the protest:
- Pinterest (really?)
- Reddit (surprising)
- Twitch (Damn, we were looking forward to watching Trump play Fortnight!)
The conservative cull does not stop at Trump. Amazon, Apple, and Google took action against Parler, an alternative social media app, for drawing conservative users. Twitter has also suspended the accounts of dozens of conservative celebrities such as Steven Crowder for “violating” Twitter’s rules. These suspensions are invariably accompanied by notices citing vague violations of community rules but are often bereft of specifics about the alleged violations. The trend of seeing these increased restrictions seeming to apply mainly to conservative accounts indicates the intent is anything but arbitrary.
“It’s getting bad and it’s obvious they’re cutting media influence of folks on the right to cut any question/dissent from the Democratic narrative,” says RedState’s Nick Arama. “They’re trying to consolidate power now while they have the excuse of the Capitol protests to buttress the fascistic effort.”
All of this points to Big Tech declaring war not just on the right but on the American ideal of freedom. This should be apparent to anyone – right or left – capable of independent thought. We should all feel queasy at the level of control these companies have over our lives. Luckily, many see this situation for what it is. In a recent poll conducted by Harris, 59% of Americans believe the Capital protests are being used as an excuse to silence voices on the right. The same poll showed 59% of Americans believe that internet and social media platforms like Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook, and Twitter have too much power over free speech.
These biased opinions and restrictions impact the livelihood of 2A and 1A- friendly businesses across the country. Facebook and Google, which millions of companies rely on for marketing, do not permit businesses to advertise for firearms and knife sales. Google also hinders firearms instructors from promoting their courses; however, Google allows businesses that advertise martial arts lessons, such as Krav Maga, Karate, Taekwondo, and others. The FBI’s Uniform Crime Report states that more people are killed each year using blunt objects or “personal weapons” (fists, hands, or feet) than are killed using rifles. Rifles are used in a small fraction of gun homicides. Given this data, by their logic, shouldn’t Google ban companies from advertising martial arts? Could the reason they do not do this be because a majority of these businesses are owned by liberals who assert that martial arts promote “self-discipline” and “restraint?” For our money, we cannot think of an instructor more dedicated to teaching awareness, self-discipline, safety, and restraint than one who teaches firearms safety.
This metaphor gets overused, but what is happening is nothing short of Orwellian thought-policing. We’re now living in a world where everyone must agree with the populist narrative or risk being labeled as political and social pariahs, or else have their livelihood threatened for the price of giving up our constitutional right to free speech and the right to bear arms.
Thankfully, several companies have stepped up to establish a safety net for free-thinking people looking for an alternative to the Big Tech giants. Sadly, some of the companies in the list below are targeted by the woke left as being racially motivated, or having specific political leanings:
Brave – A fast, private and secure web browser for PC, Mac and mobile.
Whalnut – A Shopify alternative that puts the power of running your business back in your hands by honoring the liberties and freedoms that make our nation great.
Bitchute – A free-speech centered video-sharing platform based on peer-to-peer WebTorrent technology for video distribution.
Rumble – A popular video-sharing service which has been getting a lot of attention recently.
MeWe – An American social media and social networking service with a light approach to content moderation.
DuckDuckGo – An internet search engine that emphasizes protecting searchers’ privacy and avoiding the filter bubble of personalized search results.
2A Gun Show – A competitor to Etsy, 2A Gun Show is an online marketplace for sellers and buyers to buy, list, and sell products and services.