(National Review) -- After the shock results of Brexit and Trump, historian Niall Ferguson made a bold prediction. “Make no mistake: 2016 will never happen again,” he wrote. Silicon Valley was blamed by the center Left for their electoral misfortunes. These sites allowed the spread of fake news, or were vulnerable to foreign manipulation, liberals argued. And the giant companies had a compelling reason to respond to these complaints. First, to retain the loyalty of young customers. Second, to ward off the prospect of further regulation.
Their response was not to actually do anything about Russian hackers but to begin disempowering the populist and conservative voices who used their platforms. Soon conservative YouTubers watched helplessly as Google demonetized their videos. Facebook hired a phalanx of fact-checkers from liberal media outlets to control the flow of viral news.
And now it seems the big tech companies have decided to draw a line around Ireland, where many of them have their European headquarters and find a suitable tax shelter for their profits. Ireland has scheduled a referendum for May 25 on repealing the Eighth Amendment of their constitution, which forbids abortion. The side urging repeal and the legalization of abortion has held a significant lead in polling during the runup, but one that has been shrinking recently.
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