>Do you think they will eventually drop the pretense and openly claim they are in fact in charge?
No. You have to remember that the most prominent underlying trait of leftists is a feeling of inferiority. Those most attracted to the ideology are society's misfits, sexual deviants, hedonists, etc. They have done nothing with their lives and are ashamed of themselves. The driving force behind leftism is a search for purpose, to fight for a 'good cause', to belong somewhere; to make up for their failings. As long as they can believe that they are part of some grassroots revolution, and not the useful idiots of Chase Bank, they are content. If Chase Bank were to openly give the marching orders, the leftists wouldn't materialize. The leftist is a rebel against authority, but a slave to the zeitgeist.
>Which corporations will be the biggest threats to free speech do you think?
All of them, because it is a self-feeding loop. Bugmen will bend over backwards to signal that they are indeed 'in on it'. You see that in all walks of life; the worship of Apple products, in-culture laptop/bumper stickers and jacket pins, the regurgitation of pop culture references at every turn. The bugman must constantly announce his 'membership' in culutural groups, to say "I participate in what you participate in." The sanitized PMC language of academia ('black and brown bodies') adds absolutely nothing to any conversation, but is instead an instantly recognizable speech pattern that signals in-group membership to other leftists, which is why it is used so prominently (and why other out-group words and phrases are 'problematic' to them).
Thus, every corporation will adopt the same ideals. From soft drinks to children's cartoons, the in-group signaling will be identical. It won't so much matter that This or That corporation is behind the funding, because the boots on the ground are downstream from all of that. The women in the USSR and East Germany that ratted out their families to the police didn't do so because of their personal political convictions; they did so seeking acceptance and belonging from the ruling class. It is no different than the wine aunt that keeps a book on 'anti-racism' on her coffee table. The leftist is terrified of being ostracized from their miserable peers.
>Any good arguments I can give him to at the least leave his phone in a drawer instead of his pocket when he's talking about this stuff?
What is acceptable today is ever changing. A decade ago, people would laugh at you if you told them that you'd be fired from your job or lose your bank account for voting for the president's reelection. They'd think you're a nutcase if you told them someone in the UK would soon be arrested for saying 'women have vaginas.' So many people like to claim that surveillance is irrelevant to them because they have 'nothing to hide.' But what is acceptable behavior today may not be tomorrow, and everything on the internet is permanent to some extent. If he is 'waking up' to the situation, then he is already outside what is acceptable. He will find himself fighting an uphill battle as the consequences change. Police routinely request access to smart device logs, and as Biden brings the War on Terror home, we will face vast new forms of surveillance geared towards fighting 'extremism.' Honestly, your best argument against him using a smartphone is what's about to happen, not what can be pointed to today. The best defense is to not be in that situation to begin with, but not everybody can be saved. People like your friend are a blessing to everyone else, because it gives The State low hanging fruit to go after, and the rest of us can avoid scrutiny.
>In the event the cafe goes down completely, IRC will be /f/'s last stand
You may want to reconsider using AnonOps for that. Take a glance at their Twitter account; they won't be any happier with our conversations than Twitter or Discord would be. XMPP is also a viable solution; one that lets people use whatever server they want, and can make use of OTR encryption.
Download Tails or Heads. Either burn it to a USB or load it in a VM. If the IRC server allows Tor connections, you're good to go.
Glad to see you again. We haven't really discussed TiTS or Fen for a long while, and for good reason. I imagine that he was as excited for Cyberpozz as every other bugman out there. I hope he was as disappointed in it as his family must be of him. But as the next consumerist hype emerges, his memory of this failing will sure fade away as he hits the pre-order button.