It is inarguable that by financially crippling, socially segregating, and digitally banishing politically irksome people and enterprises, the big tech cartel is flouting the spirit, if not the strict letter, of the Civil Rights Act.
For how do you make a living if your banking options increasingly are curtailed and constantly threatened, and your ability to electronically communicate with clients is likewise circumscribed?
Almost nine in ten voters are very concerned about the impact social media is having on children, according to a new poll.
When asked whether they were “very nervous about the effects social media is having on kids today,” 84% of registered voters said they at least somewhat agreed, according to the results of a poll conducted by Benenson Strategy Group and released Thursday by the Future of Tech Commission. Roughly 6 out of 10 parents polled agreed that they felt like they had no control over what their children see online, while 85% of voters overall supported special online privacy measures for children.
An internal memo published by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Thursday detailed Chairwoman Lina Khan’s vision for antitrust enforcement, including plans to target several of Big Tech’s business practices.
The memo, sent to FTC commissioners and staff, titled “Vision and Priorities for the FTC,” outlined several key antitrust enforcement areas Khan sought to prioritize, including addressing “root causes” of monopolies, considering the harm of anticompetitive conduct on workers and other businesses, and focusing on “next-generation technologies.” Although Khan did not identify any of the major tech companies by name, she highlighted several allegedly anti-competitive business practices that have been the subject of tech antitrust litigation.
Facebook released its updated Content Distribution Guidelines on Thursday, shedding more light on how the tech giant decides what content it suppresses.
While Facebook has previously provided some details on the types of content that receive reduced distribution in Facebook’s News Feed, the updated guidelines are designed to provide clarity and accessibility, Director of Product Management Anna Stepanov announced in a blog post Thursday.
A bipartisan group of 32 state attorneys general sent a letter to leading lawmakers in the House and Senate on Monday urging the passage of a series of antitrust bills targeting major technology companies.
The letter, led by attorneys general Phil Weiser of Colorado, Douglas Peterson of Nebraska, Letitia James of New York, and Herbert H. Slatery III of Tennessee, was addressed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The attorneys general urged Congress to modernize federal antitrust laws and enhance consumer protections by passing a series of bills introduced in the House Judiciary Committee in June that target big tech companies.
“A comprehensive update of federal antitrust laws has not occurred in decades,” the attorneys general wrote. “The sponsors of these bills should be commended for working to ensure that federal antitrust laws remain robust and keep pace with that of modern markets.”
This week the Wall Street Journal unveiled “The Facebook Files” – an investigative series based on leaked internal Facebook materials that offer an unvarnished look at how the social media giant sees its platform and its impact on society. A central theme of the reporting is the degree to which Facebook’s own research is at odds with its public statements, and that internally it has recognized the harms the platform causes for society even while publicly touting its benefits.
The Journal’s reporting raises myriad concerns over the state of social platforms generally today, from Instagram’s toxic influence on teenage girls to the impact of algorithmic changes on political discourse to how Facebook secretly shields influential users from its content moderation rules.
A warning by former national security officials about the dangers of regulating technology companies is in lockstep with arguments made by Big Tech chief executives, according to a report from an internet watchdog group.
A group of former intelligence community officials sent a letter Wednesday to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy arguing against the passage of a series of antitrust bills advanced in the House Judiciary Committee in June. The warnings echo talking points made by groups lobbying for the tech industry and major tech firms themselves, according to a report by the Internet Accountability Project, a nonprofit conservative advocacy group focused on issues related to Big Tech.
The intelligence community officials argued the bills would make the U.S. less competitive with China and could even compromise America’s national security.
Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters wants to break up Big Tech and ban their business practices he believes are harmful.
“I think Republicans need to reacquaint themselves with their history of antitrust enforcement, and realize huge concentrations of power in private hands can violate people’s liberties just as much as government,” Masters said in an interview with the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Masters, who announced his candidacy in July, serves as chief operating officer at investment firm Thiel Capital and runs the Thiel Foundation, a philanthropic organization founded by billionaire investor and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel. He competes in a crowded Republican primary with fellow candidate and current Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich for the chance to unseat incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly in 2022.
Senate Republicans are joining with Democrats to work on a series of antitrust bills aimed at breaking up and regulating major tech companies.
Sen. Tom Cotton is working with both Democrats and Republicans in developing complementary legislation to several of the antitrust bills the House Judiciary Committee advanced in June, a spokesman for Sen. Cotton told the Daily Caller News Foundation, including the Platform Competition and Opportunity Act.
The House’s version of the act, one of a series of antitrust bills introduced by bipartisan members of the House Judiciary Committee, sought to prevent major tech platforms from consolidating their market share by acquiring smaller competitors. Under the law, the burden of proof would be on big tech companies to prove their mergers are lawful.
After former President Donald J. Trump attempted to ban TikTok, a popular video streaming social network, the Chinese-owned company has overtaken Google-owned YouTube in popularity in the United States.
“App users in the UK and US are spending more time on TikTok than on YouTube, a new report suggests,” BBC reported. “Data from app monitoring firm App Annie indicates that average time per user spent on the apps is higher for TikTok, indicating high levels of engagement.”
Thursday morning on Frist Principles with Phill Kline, host Kline welcomed The Star News Networks CEO and Editor in Chief Michael Patrick Leahy to the phone lines to discuss the changing landscape of journalism and Big Techs’ partnership with social media titans.
Apple is delaying the release of a software update that scans iPhones for child pornography after criticism suggested that the features violated user privacy, the tech giant announced Friday.
“Previously we announced plans for features intended to help protect children from predators who use communication tools to recruit and exploit them and to help limit the spread of Child Sexual Abuse Material,” the company said in a statement posted to its website Friday. “Based on feedback from customers, advocacy groups, researchers, and others, we have decided to take additional time over the coming months to collect input and make improvements before releasing these critically important child safety features.”
European Union regulators imposed a $265 million fine on Facebook-owned messaging service WhatsApp on Thursday for failing to adequately inform consumers what it did with their data.
The fine, issued by the Data Protection Commission (DPC), related to WhatsApp’s failure to provide consumers with certain information about how it shared their personal data with other Facebook-owned companies, according to the agency’s announcement. This omission by WhatsApp violated the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the EU’s data protection and privacy law governing how tech companies collect and share user information.
Thursday morning on First Principles with Phill Kline, host Kline welcomed Michael Patrick Leahy, CEO of The Star News Network and host of The Tennessee Star Report to weigh in on the developing oligopoly of Big Tech and social media giants.
Apple and Google might change their app store business practices because of a new South Korean law similar to recent legislative efforts by U.S. lawmakers.
The new law would prohibit app stores, including Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store, from forcing developers to use the tech giants’ payment systems, The Wall Street Journal reported. The bill, passed by South Korea’s National Assembly, will become law once signed by President Moon Jae-in.
The Korean bill is similar to a bipartisan bill introduced by Sens. Richard Blumenthal, Amy Klobuchar, and Marsha Blackburn to the U.S. Senate earlier this month that seeks “to promote competition and reduce gatekeeper power in the app economy, increase choice, improve quality, and reduce costs for consumers.” Both bills prevent app stores from requiring the use of their billing systems and take aim at the tech giants’ commission structure.
With national attention riveted over the weekend on two major stories — the frantic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan amid its fall to the Taliban and category 4 Hurricane Ida slamming into the Louisiana coast — Big Tech and woke finance dramatically extended the reach of cancel culture with brazen moves to silence and harass three high-profile voices of political and scientific dissent: independent journalist Alex Berenson, popular conservative news and opinion website The Gateway Pundit, and Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.
On Saturday, Twitter permanently banned Alex Berenson, who has built a large social media following challenging public health establishment orthodoxy on COVID issues ranging from lockdown to vaccine mandates.
“The account you referenced has been permanently suspended for repeated violations of our COVID-19 misinformation rules,” a Twitter spokesperson responded to an inquiry from Fox News.
Twitter has permanently banned Alex Berenson, a former New York Times journalist who has become a major critic of Big Tech censorship and coronavirus lockdowns and mandates.
Responding to an inquiry from Fox News, where Berenson has been a frequent guest during the pandemic, a spokesperson for Twitter replied that “The account you referenced has been permanently suspended for repeated violations of our COVID-19 misinformation rules.”
Berenson responded on his Substack page, where he posted a message titled “Goodbye Twitter.”
The House committee probing the Jan. 6 riots is demanding over a dozen social media companies hand over extensive records related to the events at the Capitol.
The Select Committee investigating the Capitol riot sent letters dated Aug. 26 to Facebook, Google, Twitter, YouTube and Reddit, along with Parler, TikTok, 4chan and seven other social media platforms asking them to provide all documents, data and other information related to the Capitol riot since April 2020.
Facebook is considering creating a commission to advise the tech giant on election-related issues including misinformation, The New York Times reported.
The tech company reportedly contacted several academics and policy experts to draft plans for a commission that will advise Facebook on electoral matters and potentially decide policies related to political misinformation and advertising, several people familiar with the plans told The New York Times. Facebook plans to announce the commission in the next few months to be prepared for the 2022 midterms, the Times reported.
While the Taliban and Iranian mullahs still enjoy Twitter privileges, a growing number of Americans, mostly of conservative persuasion, face a range of restrictions imposed on their accounts by U.S. social media platforms.
The list of Americans who have seen their social media reach limited is topped by former U.S. President Donald Trump, who has been banned indefinitely on Twitter and for two years on Facebook. More recently, Georgia GOP Rep. Majorie Taylor Greene was temporarily silenced by Twitter.
The firebrand freshman congresswoman was suspended earlier this month for seven days for what Twitter called “misinformation” for arguing COVID-19 masks and vaccines are “failing,” as more fully vaccinated Americans are contracting the virus’s highly contagious delta strain.
Senators from both parties introduced a bill Wednesday targeting alleged anticompetitive conduct among Apple and Google app stores.
The Open App Markets Act, introduced Wednesday by Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn along with Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Amy Klobuchar, would prevent app stores such as Google Play and Apple’s App Store from requiring developers to use the tech giants’ in-app payment systems as a condition of distribution. The bill would also stop Apple and Google from taking “punitive action” against developers who offer different pricing terms in other app stores.
“This legislation will tear down coercive anticompetitive walls in the app economy, giving consumers more choices and smaller startup tech companies a fighting chance,” Blumenthal said in a joint statement.
One of the residual effects of last year’s chaotic election is the palpable fear of former President Trump that still haunts the Democrats. Their congressional antics, from the absurd post-election impeachment to the parodic House investigation into the Jan. 6 “insurrection,” confirm that they are still very much afraid of the man they ostensibly defeated last November. This has nothing to do with any threat that Trump or his supporters pose to the republic, as media alarmists insist. The actual source of Democratic trepidation can be found in their lackluster performance in the 2020 presidential and congressional elections combined with Trump’s clear intention to become very much involved in boosting Republicans in next year’s midterms.
First, a reality check concerning the 2020 election: Biden didn’t win a popular vote landslide as the Democrats still claim. According to Federal Election Commission (FEC) totals, he won 81,268,924 of 158,383,403 ballots cast. In other words, 77,114,479 people voted for Trump or one of the third-party candidates. That nearly 49 percent of the voters cast ballots against Biden, despite the unprecedented support he received from the media and Big Tech cannot fail to worry rational Democrats. Nor can they help being unnerved by a poll conducted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) that strongly suggests their anemic 2020 congressional showing portends worse results in 2022.
Two of the largest news publications in the country, the Associated Press (AP) and Reuters, have teamed up with one of the leading tech giants, Twitter, in a new partnership to crack down on “misinformation” and “elevate credible information,” the Daily Caller reports.
Twitter confirmed the new alliance in a blog post, saying that the two publications would be responsible for identifying “misleading” information, and to help Twitter expand its efforts to mediate trending stories, “especially where facts are in dispute.” The websites will also help Twitter staff whenever they lack “sufficient expertise or access to a high enough volume of reputable reporting.”
“This program is just part of our ongoing efforts to help people understand the conversation happening on our service,” the Twitter blog post continued. “People experience a range of public conversations on Twitter every day, and we’re committed to continuing our work to elevate credible information and context.”
Big Tech companies reported massive, record-breaking earnings figures as their sales continued to surge amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Google, Apple, Microsoft and Twitter all beat earnings estimates and showed large revenue growth, executives for the tech companies said during earnings calls Tuesday evening. The four companies’ earnings reports suggested that the growth experienced by Big Tech during the pandemic will continue apace.
“Our long-term investments in AI and Google Cloud are helping us drive significant improvements in everyone’s digital experience,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in a statement Tuesday, explaining his company’s strong performance.
With the rise of populist and bipartisan resentment against Big Tech monopolies along with the recent appointment of Big Tech opponent Lina Khan as chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, government action against these companies seems imminent. People are waking up to the fact that they have way too much power and are a threat to the American way of life.
As if on cue, prominent conservatives have come to the defense of these monopolies. Most recently, Robert Bork Jr. argued in National Review that breaking up Big Tech would lead to “a slippery slope to the end of capitalism and the rise of political management of the economy.” He agrees with conservatives such as Representative Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who says, “These [anti-monopoly] bills give power to the FTC, the new commissioner we all know is radically left.”
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has so many problems to solve right now. A crime wave leaves hundreds of Americans dead and has turned our cities into war zones. A border crisis allows hundreds of thousands of illegals to enter our country. A domestic war on terror threatens basic civil liberties.
But none of these crises have persuaded Graham to go to war. No, the civilizational question that demands his full zeal has to do with . . . a fast-food chain.
A majority of Americans believe major tech companies are too powerful, and support the government regulating and breaking them up, according to a new poll.
The poll, conducted from June 7 to 12 and released Wednesday by Change Research on behalf of progressive groups CAP Action and Public Citizen, found that 81% of respondents believe Big Tech and social media companies are too powerful, with 73% at least “somewhat convinced” they should be regulated and broken up. Republicans had a less favorable view of tech companies than Democrats and tended to be more supportive of antitrust action.
FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr believes the agency should require Big Tech to fund internet infrastructure, following the introduction last week of a bill mandating the FCC consider collecting contributions from the tech companies.
The Funding Affordable Internet with Reliable (FAIR) Contributions Act, introduced July 21 by Republican Sens. Roger Wicker, Todd Young, and Shelley Moore Capito, instructs the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to look into charging major tech companies like Google, Facebook, and Netflix to fund broadband networks. Currently, new internet infrastructure is paid for by the Universal Service Fund (USF), a $9 billion pot of money funded by charges on consumers’ phone service.
The America First Policy Institute (AFPI) announced on Tuesday that the organization will expand its reach by establishing the Center for Election Integrity (CEI).
“Free and fair elections are the cornerstone of our democracy, and I’m looking forward to seeing the Center for Election Integrity work in the states to help them strengthen their state election laws and fight for the voting rights of their citizens,” said AFPI President and CEO Brooke Rollins.
The tech industry’s anti-terrorism alliance announced Monday it would begin tracking content from far-right organization in a shared counter-terrorism database used by major tech companies.
The Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT), a non-profit organization founded by Microsoft, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, will add manifestos, posts and links from far-right militias flagged by U.N. anti-terrorist group Tech Against Terrorism to a shared database, GIFCT told Reuters. The organization will also share content flagged by Five Eyes, a global partnership between intelligence agencies in the U.S. and other countries, Reuters reported.
The database, established in 2017 and shared exclusively by the tech giants, aggregates hashes, or digital signatures, of images, videos and URLs, allowing tech companies to easily remove logged content, according to the GIFCT website. The database was previously focused on content primarily from Islamic terror organizations, according to Reuters.
Senate Democrats introduced legislation Thursday removing liability protections from online platforms that promote content deemed health misinformation.
The bill, proposed by Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Ben Ray Lujan on Thursday, seeks to carve out an exception from Section 230 liability shields enjoyed by online platforms, such as Facebook or YouTube, if those platforms boost content classified as health misinformation, Vox first reported.
The legislation, known as the Health Misinformation Act, directs the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to create a definition of health misinformation, and strips liability protections from platforms “if the provider promotes that health misinformation through an algorithm used by the provider.” HHS defined health misinformation in an advisory last week as “information that is false, inaccurate, or misleading according to the best available evidence.”
Three Senate Republicans introduced a bill Wednesday requiring the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to consider collecting revenue from major tech companies to fund broadband internet.
The Funding Affordable Internet with Reliable Contributions Act, introduced by Sens. Roger Wicker, Todd Young, and Shelley Moore Capito, directs the FCC to consider collecting Universal Service Fund (USF) contributions from Big Tech companies “such as YouTube, Netflix, and Google,” the lawmakers announced in a statement Wednesday. USF is a subsidy fund of the FCC that dispenses around $10 billion a year for broadband internet infrastructure in rural areas, according to the FCC website.
Republican Reps. Ken Buck and Lance Gooden announced Friday the launch of the Freedom from Big Tech Caucus, a group of House Republicans working towards reining in major tech companies.
The caucus will focus on addressing anticompetitive and monopolistic practices by major tech companies, political censorship, and Big Tech’s relationship with China, Buck and Gooden announced in a statement. The caucus will also include Reps. Madison Cawthorn, Burgess Owens, and Paul Gosar, according to the announcement.
“Big Tech has abused its market power for decades, and Congress must act to hold these companies accountable and preserve the free market, promote competition and innovation, protect the freedom of speech, and foster a thriving digital economy,” Buck said in the statement.
In a Thursday press conference, Press Secretary to President Joe Biden admitted that the White House is colluding with Facebook to censor content on the social media platform.
“We are in regular touch with the social media platforms and those engagements typically happen through members of our senior staff and also members of our COVID-19 team — given as Dr. Murthy conveyed, this is a big issue, of misinformation, specifically on the pandemic,” Psaki reportedly said
For Big Tech billionaires, these are the best of times, and the worst of times.
Why the best? Because the long arm of social media and online commerce has never reached further and deeper into Americans’ culture, spending habits, lifestyles, and worldview. Likewise, the net worth of these billionaires has risen to undreamed-of heights. COVID was, for tech barons, a blessing in disguise: it trapped Americans indoors, where they could do little else but browse the web, consume digital entertainment, and spend their stimulus dollars on imported Chinese doohickeys. Even as the dreaded virus has retreated, Big Tech has successfully locked in its gains.
Why the worst of times, though? The very rise of Big Tech has portended greater scrutiny. The debasement of Big Tech’s competitors and natural enemies—from brick-and-mortar stores to Trump supporters—has ensured that the drumbeat of criticism of social media companies and online retailers has never been more stridently percussive.
YouTube deleted the American Conservative Union’s (ACU) video featuring former President Trump announcing his class-action lawsuit against Big Tech, citing an alleged violation of its COVID-19 terms and conditions.
The ACU, which hosts the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), received “a strike” on their account from YouTube on July 9, preventing them from uploading new content for a week. This includes ACU’s CPAC 2021 Part 2 in Dallas, Texas, and Trump’s CPAC speech scheduled for Sunday, the organization said in a statement.
In the deleted YouTube video of Trump’s announcement of a lawsuit against Big Tech, which includes Google, he also cited a medical study on hydroxychloroquine as a therapeutic for COVID-19.
The founder of CloutHub, a free speech social media network, has responded to former President Donald J. Trump’s class action lawsuit against several Silicon Valley titans, which the forty-fifth president announced Wednesday.
“I am pleased that President Trump is fighting back against Big Tech corporations after enduring months of blatant injustices,” Jeff Brain said in press release. “His lawsuit is based on the infringement of his fundamental free speech rights that powerful companies such as Facebook and Twitter imposed based on their own political bias; a bias that has no place with such important keepers of our national public square online.”
Tech giant Amazon recently demanded that the chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission be recused from any antitrust investigations into the company, according to the Daily Caller.
Amazon filed the petition with the FTC on Wednesday, accusing Chairwoman Lina Khan of being biased due to the fact that she “has, on numerous occasions, argued that Amazon is guilty of antitrust violations and should be broken up.” The petition continued by declaring that “these statements convey to any reasonable observer the clear impression that she has already made up her mind about many material facts relevant to Amazon’s antitrust culpability as well as about the ultimate issue of culpability itself.”
The FTC is already conducting several antitrust investigations, including against Amazon; their most recent efforts are focusing on Amazon’s possible acquisition of the film studio Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM), a purchase of nearly $9 billion announced last month.
A scientist who credits himself as the inventor of mRNA vaccines, and has warned that they carry risks downplayed in the COVID-19 pandemic, said this week that LinkedIn “shut down” his personal account without explanation.
“The historic record of what I have done, stated, figured out (and when) etc. over time is a key part of establishing my credibility and track record as a professional,” Robert Malone tweeted Wednesday. “And that has been erased completely and arbitrarily without warning or explanation.”
Last-minute changes to major antitrust legislation working its way through the House appears to exempt several Big Tech companies from being affected by its regulations.
The legislation, which has been months in the making and was crafted to take on Big Tech monopolies, targets a handful of companies while excluding others that also have massive market power, a leading expert told the Daily Caller News Foundation. Existing federal and state antitrust law already prohibits a wide range of anticompetitive business activity across all industries like unlawful mergers and monopolization.
Judge Robert Hinkle sided with two groups that represented tech giants and blocked a Florida law that would have imposed penalties for social media companies that attempt to de-platform or “censor” individuals.
The ruling, a preliminary injunction, will prevent the enactment of the law, which could fine companies as much as $250,000 a day and was scheduled to take effect on July 1.
Federal law enforcement agencies covertly request thousands of Microsoft users’ information every year, a company executive told a congressional committee Wednesday.
Vice President for Customer Security and Trust Tom Burt told the House Judiciary Committee at a hearing on “Secrecy Orders and Prosecuting Leaks: Potential Legislative Responses to
Deter Prosecutorial Abuse of Power” that Microsoft receives between 2,400 and 3,500 secrecy orders a year, or about 7 to 10 a day, from federal law enforcement agencies.
“Most shocking is just how routine secrecy orders have become when law enforcement targets an American’s email, text messages or other sensitive data stored in the cloud,” Burt told the committee.
Facebook’s market capitalization, or total dollar value, closed above $1 trillion for the first time ever Monday, making it the fifth U.S. company to reach such size.
Facebook exceeded the $1 trillion mark after a year in which the company experienced massive user and earnings growth, CNBC reported. Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft and Amazon – all fellow Big Tech companies – are the only other U.S. companies that have also surpassed $1 trillion in market capitalization, according to Axios.
Microsoft was given an advance copy of major antitrust legislation, a document given to Republican Rep. Thomas Massie by a whistleblower appeared to show.
The document is the original version of the Platform Competition and Opportunity Act, one of Democrats’ six pending antitrust bills targeting Big Tech, according to Rep. Thomas Massie. Every page of the document, which the Daily Caller News Foundation obtained on Wednesday, is watermarked with the text “CONFIDENTIAL – Microsoft.”
“I just came into possession of a document that everyone needs to know about,” Massie said during the Judiciary Committee markup of the legislation on Wednesday. “It’s marked ‘CONFIDENTIAL – Microsoft.’ A whistleblower provided this. It’s the first draft of one of these bills that would’ve covered Microsoft. This begs the question: did Microsoft have this bill and the other bills that we are voting on today before I had this bill?”
There are few, if any, political issues that now generate the breadth and intensity of bipartisan backlash as does the rise of Big Tech.
During Donald Trump’s presidency, the major parties largely diverged on their specific grievances against the woke Silicon Valley monopolists who serve as gatekeepers for America’s 21st-century public square. Republicans, by and large, focused on censorship of conservative online speech. Democrats, by contrast, tended to focus on economic concentration; the five American corporations with the largest market caps, for example, are tech behemoths Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Google Alphabet, and Facebook. This divergence has stymied efforts to rein in the Big Tech oligarchy on issues such as Section 230, the 1990s-era provision permitting platforms to engage in publisher-like content-moderation decisions without being legally treated as publishers.
Conservatives still have myriad concerns with Big Tech’s noxious brew of speech suppressions, shadow bans, and unaccountable deplatformings. Those concerns are both legitimate and justified by Big Tech’s ever-expanding list of misdeeds. But there is an emerging sea change in the way conservatives conceptualize the relationship between Big Tech’s unfettered content-moderation leeway and the sheer economic clout wielded by the relevant corporate actors.
Joe Biden signed an executive order updating the United States’ list of blacklisted Chinese companies, dropping the ban on at least one company that was originally put on the list by President Donald Trump, the Washington Free Beacon reports.
Biden lifted the blacklist on the company Sugon, which was first banned by President Trump in November of 2020. The company is responsible for selling “supercomputers” to the Chinese military, for use in nuclear weapons research. Sugon also specializes in facial recognition software, cloud computing, and other surveillance technology that has been used by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) against the Uyghur Muslim population.
Although Biden’s updated list still maintains bans on such companies as Huawei and Hikvision, the removal of Sugon was noted as “strange” by Michael Sobolik, a fellow with the American Foreign Policy Council.
A lawsuit filed on Tuesday by Ohio Attorney General David Yost aims to make Google a public utility, limiting the ways the search engine provides search results.
“Google uses its dominance of internet search to steer Ohioans to Google’s own products–that’s discriminatory and anti-competitive,” Yost said in a statement announcing the lawsuit. “When you own the railroad or the electric company or the cellphone tower, you have to treat everyone the same and give everybody access.”
After months of aggressively censoring what it called “COVID-19 misinformation,” Facebook recently announced that it would no longer block user posts claiming that the coronavirus was “man-made” or “manufactured.” That’s because those posts, which typically referenced the work of scientists who supported the idea of a possible coronavirus “lab leak” from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, now appear to have been credible.
This entire episode should be extremely embarrassing for Facebook, a company so confident it has cornered the market on “truth” that it has made it their prerogative to “fact-check” individual user posts, banning anything that fails to comport with Silicon Valley’s extreme left-wing view of reality. Last year, Facebook banned an ad from the American Principles Project PAC claiming Joe Biden and the Democrats would destroy girls’ sports by supporting policies that allowed boys who identify as transgender to compete against girls.
Facebook said the ad was “missing context,” and so our PAC wasn’t allowed to communicate with voters. On Joe Biden’s first day as president, he signed an executive order specifically allowing these boys to compete in girls’ sports.
A pair of Big Tech lobbying groups, NetChoice and the Computer & Communications Industry Association, have filed a lawsuit against Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, along with Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and other state officials, after DeSantis signed into law a bill that regulates Big Tech’s censorship abilities earlier this week.
“Americans everywhere should oppose Florida’s attempt to run roughshod over the First Amendment rights of private online businesses,” Carl Szabo, vice president and general counsel of NetChoice said, according to POLITICO. “By weakening the First Amendment rights of some, Florida weakens the First Amendment rights of all.”
Big Tech has betrayed the American people yet again – despite hopes that Facebook would finally reverse it’s ban on Donald Trump’s account, the social media giant has re-committed to a path of dangerous partisan censorship.
On Wednesday, an oversight board established by Facebook ruled that it would not be overturning the platform’s January decision to suspend Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts.