A new market has been created and it’s quickly being filled. The identification of “fake news” and stopping the spread of supposed “misinformation campaigns” is a new, worthwhile venture, especially when social media giants such as Facebook, Google, and Twitter, are involved. One of the new companies filling this market is New Knowledge, who, “in the age of fake news”, detects social media security risks and provides solutions to coordinated “disinformation campaigns.” What kind of “disinformation campaigns” are they providing solutions against? You probably guessed it, but I’ll go ahead and say it, conservative media.
The natural, follow-up question then becomes, who decides what is “disinformation” or “misinformation”? And after that comes, who is funding this whole “fight” against supposed “misinformation”? Because in business, the money always gets a say. Interestingly, you’d think a company attacking the American press like this would be funded by those centered in the United States, but that’s where you’d be wrong.
The bulk of New Knowledge’s funding and their lead investor is GGV (Granite Global Ventures) Capital, a private venture capital firm with two out of its four offices being in China; one in Beijing and one in Shanghai. This might seem interesting on the face of it already, but when you dig deeper you find out that three out of the six managing partners are Chinese and own large, Chinese corporations. To top it off, the remaining three investors also have their fingers in multiple Chinese companies as well.
When you couple this “new knowledge” with the fact that, as the New York Times put in an article written on September 19th —
“The world’s two largest economies are in the opening stages of a new economic Cold War [meaning China and the U.S.], one that could persist well after Mr. Trump is out of office.”
This all starts to seem a bit odd and leads to an extremely valid question. Why is a venture capital firm centered around Chinese corporations funding an organization in the U.S. “fighting” against conservative media that mainly backs President Trump? One of GGV’s other large investments is in Alibaba, whose chairman, Jack Ma, said to investors in Hangzhou, China on Tuesday, September 18th, 2018 —
“This thing will last long. If you want a short-term solution, there is no solution.”
Both sides of the aisle supposedly don’t want foreign interference in our elections, but it seems the left side is alright with foreign funding powering the fight against Republicans, as long as that funding is working in their favor and as long as they’re involved in helping to take down conservative media organizations and their opportunity to spread their message. Ryan Fox, a co-founder of New Knowledge, was quoted in a New York Times article about Facebook’s takedown of over 500 pages on October 11th, 2018. Many of these Facebook pages were legitimate. Fox had this to say about them —
“These networks are trying to manipulate people by manufacturing consensus — that’s crossing the line over free speech.”
Facebook and New Knowledge claim the pages used bots and fake accounts to spread information, but after talking to many of the pages, as well as being involved in some of the pages taken down, we can say that this is false. These pages merely shared links to articles on their page, which in turn were picked up by their constituents and like-minded individuals, who then continued sharing. That’s not manufacturing consensus, that’s a grassroots movement and it’s one the left wants to shut down and silence, especially in the face of the mid-term elections.