We are seeing an unprecedented erosion in our First Amendment rights, increasingly prohibiting the flow of ideas and free expression in the public square (social media). Run by left-wing self-possessed snowflakes, social media giants are indulging their worst autocratic impulses. And because they can, it is getting worse. “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
Having been one of the early targets of social media censorship on Facebook, YouTube et al, I have advocated for anti-trust action against these bullying behemoths.
The Urgent Case for Legislation against Social Media Giants Pamela Geller, American Thinker
AT&T has called for an “Internet Bill of Rights” and argued that Facebook and Google should also be subjected to rules that would prevent unfair censorship on their platforms.
AT&T, one of the largest telecommunications companies, called for Congress to enact an “Internet Bill of Rights” which would subject Facebook, Google, and other content providers to rules that would prevent unfair censorship on Internet Service Providers (ISPs) such as Comcast or AT&T as well as content providers such as Facebook and Google.
AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson wrote, “Congressional action is needed to establish an ‘Internet Bill of Rights’ that applies to all internet companies and guarantees neutrality, transparency, openness, non-discrimination and privacy protection for all internet users.”
Stephenson posted the ad in the New York Times, Washington Post, and other national news outlets on Wednesday.
We must get behind this — all of us — and fast. Because what is happening is being engineered at the government level. A chief officer from a major American communications company went to the terror state of Pakistan to assure the Pakistani government that Facebook would adhere to the sharia. The commitment was given by Vice President of Facebook Joel Kaplan, who called on Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan. “Facebook has reiterated its commitment to keep the platform safe and promote values that are in congruence with its community standards.”
Early last year, I wrote: “The US government has used anti-trust laws to break up monopolies. They ought to break up Facebook. Section 2 of the Sherman Act highlights particular results deemed anticompetitive by nature and prohibits actions that ‘shall monopolize, or attempt to monopolize, or combine or conspire with any other person or persons, to monopolize any part of the trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations.’ Couldn’t the same be applied to information? The United States government took down Standard Oil, Alcoa, Northern Securities, the American Tobacco Company and many others without nearly the power that Facebook has.”
NRO has come to that same conclusion:
Tech companies such as Google and Facebook are also utilities of sorts that provide essential services. They depend on the free use of public airwaves. Yet they are subject to little oversight; they simply make up their own rules as they go along. Antitrust laws prohibit one corporation from unfairly devouring its competition, capturing most of its market, and then price-gouging as it sees fit without fear of competition. Google has all but destroyed its search-engine competitors in the same manner that Facebook has driven out competing social media.
Clearly Mark Zuckerberg, Sergey Brin, Eric Schmidt, Jack Dorsey, and Jeff Bezos are contemporary “robber barons.” So why are they not smeared, defamed, and reviled like the robber barons of yesteryear? Says NRO:
Why are huge tech companies seemingly exempt from the rules that older corporations must follow? First, their CEOs wisely cultivate the image of hipsters. The public sees them more as aging teenagers in T-shirts, turtlenecks, and flip-flops than as updated versions of J. P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, or other robber barons of the past. Second, the tech industry’s hierarchy is politically progressive.
In brilliant marketing fashion, the Internet, laptops, tablets, and smartphones have meshed with the hip youth culture of music, television, the movies, universities, and fashion. Think Woodstock rather than Wall Street. Corporate spokesmen at companies such as Twitter and YouTube brag about their social awareness, especially on issues such as radical environmentalism, identity politics, and feminism. Given that the regulatory deep state is mostly a liberal enterprise, the tech industry is seen as an ally of federal bureaucrats and regulators. Think more of Hollywood, the media, and universities than Exxon, General Motors, Koch Industries, and Philip Morris.
The groovy t-shirt-turtleneck vibe may keep the great unwashed under their spell, but it’s the shared political ideology with the left that keeps these corporate managers free from accountability. The WSJ writes that antitrust regulators have a narrow test: Does their size leave consumers worse off? Surmising that if that’s the test, “there isn’t a clear case for going after big tech.”
I disagree. The consumer is far worse off. If we are not free to speak and think in what is today’s Gutenberg press, than we could not be worse off.
Tech giants are run by uniformly leftwing corporate managers.
We have, FOR YEARS, warned of coming totalitarianism, crushing our 1st amendment rights on these public forums.
The internet was the work of DoD paid for by US taxpayers.
Time for govt intervention. https://t.co/nnvxsjJpck
— Pamela Geller (@PamelaGeller) May 2, 2020
Commentator Candace Owens says her Twitter account was suspended following tweet about WhitmerBy Kaelan Deese – The Hill, May 2, 2020
Twitter flagged Owens’s tweet for violating the site’s policies, according to the news source Mediaite. Owens alerted several conservative colleagues of her suspended account following her critique of Whitmer.
A spokeswoman for Twitter confirmed to The Hill that Owens’s tweet violated the platform’s COVID-19 misinformation policy, “specifically around heightened-risk health claims.”She added that, according to the policy, Owens’s tweet involved “denial of … government body recommendations to decrease an individual’s likelihood of exposure to COVID-19 with the intent to influence users into acting contrary to recommended guidance.”The spokeswoman said the tweet would need to be deleted while Owens served a “timeout” before her profile could be reinstated.
The tweet, which has been removed, said, “Apparently @GovWhitmer believes she is a duly elected dictator of a socialist country. The people of Michigan need to stand up to her. Open your businesses. Go to work. The police think she’s crazy too. They are not going to arrest 10,000,000 people for going to work.”
Owens shared a screenshot of her removed post with the Gateway Pundit, a conservative website, with a comment that stated, “Twitter has locked me out of my account but has decided to omit which of their policies I have violated,” adding that “I stand by my statement about Governor Whitmer acting as a dictator.”
Other conservative accounts chimed in, expressing their support for Owens, including political activist Chuck Woolery and Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk.
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