There’s a practice in Washington DC to name bills in a way that make them seem like they’re going to do what they’re not actually going to do. The “For the People Act,” for example, is only for Democrats, so in essence the bill’s name indicates Republicans who want free and fair elections aren’t actually considered to be people.
This is the case for several bills on the table in Congress to supposedly tackle Big Tech. For the most part, they do not. And sadly, these bills are getting bipartisan support. Why? Well, the obvious reason is that Big Tech lobbyists have quickly become some of the most powerful in DC. But it also seems likely that calls by conservatives for lawmakers to “do something” about Big Tech censorship has prompted some Republicans to embrace the names and descriptions of the bills while ignoring the details.
As Allum Bokhari points out at Breitbart, there’s a reason why both Kevin McCarthy and Jim Jordan oppose these bills [emphasis mine]:
Rep. Buck, the Republican who is leading the charge to make these bills a bipartisan effort; however, Minority Leader Rep. McCarthy and Judiciary Committee ranking member Rep. Jordan oppose these bills too — are they right?
Buck claims they will address perhaps the biggest concern for conservatives: censorship. This is not true — none of the bills address the problem of censorship directly, or reform Section 230, the law that gives Big Tech wide legal immunity to censor. Buck has also claimed that the legislation “breaks up” Big Tech, which is also not really true — one of the bills makes future acquisitions more difficult for the tech companies, but it does not separate their existing businesses.
It’s hard to believe that any bills with Rep. Cicilline behind them would address censorship, given that he was demanding Twitter censor Donald Trump less than a week after election day 2020.
Arguably the hardest thing for politicians in DC to do is to keep things simple. They’re used to building thousands of pages of legislative rhetoric in order to hide the real intentions and cover up for whatever pork they snuck into them. In the case of Big Tech, ending censorship should be simple. Anyone who wants Section 230 protection must abide by the law. In other words, if a user breaks the law with what they post or how they use the platforms, they can be banned or censored. Otherwise, free speech applies.
This is the point when someone will argue that the 1st Amendment does not apply to private companies. This is true, and they are welcome to continue to not embrace freedom of speech. But if they want protections from Section 230, then they need to abide by the laws. They can censor all day without those protections as they are private companies. To get government protections, they need to abide by government’s rules, and that means the U.S. Constitution.
What about the other bills being proposed? Bokhari continues:
If you look only at what the bills say they will do, you might come away thinking they’re quite good, or at least have some good things in them. One of them, the Ending Platform Monopolies Act, declares the largest of tech companies (those with a market cap higher than $600bn) may not “exclude from, or disadvantage, the products, services, or lines of business on the covered platform of a competing business or a business that constitutes nascent or potential competition to the covered platform operator.” Another, the ACCESS Act, mandates that those companies keep their platforms interoperable with competitors.
That seems like good news for competition, including free speech alternatives to Google-owned YouTube like Rumble and Bitchute. So what’s the catch?
Well, one big catch is enforcement. Every single one of the bills (apart from the funding bill) gives enforcement power to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice (DoJ). That is by no means necessary — there are plenty of other enforcement mechanisms, including enforcement via state attorneys general, and enforcement via a private right of action for injured parties. Lawmakers chose to hand enforcement power to the Biden administration instead.
The amount of enforcement power is quite extraordinary. Under the bills’ provisions, the tech giants could face fines of 15 percent of their total U.S. revenue in a calendar year, as well as 30 percent of the revenue of any injured party during the period in which they were discriminated against. These amount to colossal sums of money, far beyond even the multi-billion dollar fines levied against the tech giants by EU regulators.
Many Republicans seem ready to sign on to these bills that claim to take on Big Tech. We need to determine if they’re beholden in some way or just stupid because Big Tech is not shaking in their boots over these bills.
New Conservative Network Seeks Crowdfunding Help
They say we have to go big or go home. We’re trying to go big and bring the patriotic truth the the nation, but we need help.
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