Big Tech has long exploited the law to enforce censorship against conservative speech. And now two Republican lawmakers, Jim Jordan (OH) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers are attempting to end Big Tech’s liability protections.
The section 230 code bars online businesses from being sued when they are classified as a platform, but in Big Tech’s case, specifically search engines and social media, these entities are regulating speech on their sites, which makes them publishers and therefore legally liable.
Google, Twitter, and Facebook are not even following their own guidelines and are without a doubt censoring conservative speech. If private users, particularly conservatives, were allowed to sue these companies, that would devastate their business and in order to stay afloat, they would have to reform their practices to become fairer in the content allowed on their sites.
According to Fox Business, “Republican Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Jim Jordan have drafted legislation that would remove Section 230 protections from Big Tech companies and require them to report any content moderation decisions to the Federal Trade Commission, in what sources familiar with the draft measure say would be a ‘robust’ reform of the Communications Decency Act. “
There has been a growing debate on the Right over what actions should be taken against Big Tech. There are two options that have been debated: 1) Break up Big Tech 2) Repeal section 230 protections.
There are antitrust laws on the book that are meant to prevent corporations from obtaining too much market power and keeping other companies from entering the market by creating barriers to entry.
This question has been debated since the times of the Rockefellers and the Carnegies. Microsoft suffered a blow in the courts after it was determined it had too much market power, and a similar solution is proposed here.
Competition is good. The more of it there is, the better the market is for consumers. However, should a company be punished for developing a product that consumers value?
Even if the company does have a monopoly, it must continue to produce high-quality goods and services to maintain its monopoly.
Millions of Americans get their news from the news feed on Facebook and Twitter.
So, how do Americans feel about Big Tech’s power to regulate news content? Let’s just say that they aren’t too keen on it.
Three out of four registered voters believe social media companies have too much influence over what news the public reads, according to a poll, with a majority also seeing these platforms as politically biased.
A Washington Examiner/YouGov poll found that 76% thought social media companies had too much influence, compared to just 6% who said too little and 11% who picked about the right level of influence. The majority includes 82% of Republicans, 71% of Democrats, and 73% of independents.
The debate on whether to regulate or possibly even break up Facebook and other Big Tech businesses will rage on, and the question won’t be solved anytime soon.
But at least something is being done about it in the halls of Congress. No doubt that the Democrats, who control both chambers of Congress, will oppose Jordan and Rodgers’ legislation, but it is a move in the right direction.
And if the Republicans take back Congress in 2022 and the White House in 2024, it will serve as a template to be used when they are in the majority.
That day can’t come soon enough.