House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy wrote a letter calling on Republicans in the House to go after Big tech for censoring conservatives.
He started off by noting that big tech censorship against conservatives, “wasn’t subtle at all.” From there, he added that, “Big Tech doesn’t just have a free speech problem. It has an anti-competition problem too.” McCarthy then went on to describe the principles the GOP should have in dealing with Big Tech legislatively.
The Dem plan for Big Tech ignores conservative censorship—and makes it even worse. They want to empower a federal bureaucracy with no accountability.
Conservatives and our ideas have been targeted for too long. It's time for Big Tech to face the music.
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) June 28, 2021
His letter specifically calls for the following:
Accountability: Our framework would rein in Big Tech and end their abusive practices, including by changing the law so that Americans can challenge Big Tech directly for their infringement of public speech rights. This effort starts by taking away the liability shield Big Tech has hidden behind for far too long. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act would be changed to limit liability protections for moderation of speech that is not protected by the First Amendment and would preclude Big Tech from discriminating against Americans based on their political affiliation. We would also require regular reauthorization of Section 230 so Congress may update regulations of the constantly-evolving internet landscape.
Transparency: Our framework would empower Americans by ending Big Tech’s ability to hide behind vague terms of service that have not constrained their conduct in any meaningful way. We will do so by mandating that any Big Tech content moderation decisions or censorship must be listed, with specificity, on a publicly available website. In addition, by requiring Big Tech to implement and maintain a reasonable user-friendly appeals process, our plan will empower conservatives and others whose speech rights have been infringed to challenge Big Tech’s attacks.
Strengthening Anti-Trust Review: Our framework also recognizes that the status quo and bureaucratic delays are not acceptable when it comes to bringing long-overdue antitrust scrutiny to Big Tech. We will provide an expedited court process with direct appeal to the Supreme Court and empower state attorneys general to help lead the charge against the tech giants to break them up. We will also reform the administrative state and remove impediments that delay taking action on Big Tech power.
All of this sounds very good, but conservatives would be wise to primarily focus their attention on the third prong. There are two reasons for that. The first is that powerful corporations have often managed to use their money and influence to corrupt legislative efforts like this one. Next thing you know, the politicians are trumpeting their “victory,” but the rules in place end up only mildly inconveniencing the powerful corporations while simultaneously making it nearly impossible for smaller, poorer rivals to rise up and challenge their dominance.
More importantly, it’s worth noting that what Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Twitter are doing isn’t problematic per se, it’s problematic because they’re monopolies that so dominate the spaces that they’re in that there is no comparable competitor. If you live in New York City and McDonald’s bans you from their restaurants, that’s not a problem because there are lots of alternatives. If McDonald’s was the only restaurant, that would be a different matter, although you shouldn’t be eating that crap anyway. Break up the monopolies and it will cease to matter whether they hate your guts or not.
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