Big Media

Stop Pretending Big Tech Companies Are Neutral Platforms


- November 30th, 2018
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Our friends at Twitter have finally crossed the Rubicon.

For years social media executives have been telling the public that their platforms are neutral. They assure us they are not content creators or publishers or telecommunications companies. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey told Congress that Twitter “does not use political ideology to make any decisions” going on to state “from a simple business perspective and to serve the public conversation, Twitter is incentivized to keep all voices on the platform.” The executives from Facebook and Google have said much the same after being questioned by Republican legislators.

Yet this last week has provided more evidence to the contrary, as Twitter banned prominent conservatives, ostensibly for holding conservative viewpoints. Jesse Kelly, a radio host, writer for The Federalist, and a veteran, was banned from Twitter on Monday, seemingly with no explanation. Kelly is certainly one who enjoys stirring the pot, but he’s far from an abusive or threatening Twitter user, and he certainly isn’t calling Jews “termites” as some leftists are. As of yet no justification has been provided for his ban from the platform.

Then magically, Twitter reversed this ban, doing so without providing any explanation for its actions. This frustrating exercise cuts to the core of Twitter’s issues; the company is flying by the seat of its pants, unsure what rules, actions, and principles should prevail, reacting instead to the leftist outrage machine that fuels their platform and likely drives the thinking of many of their employees.

But Kelly isn’t the only person silenced from the platform. Feminist Meghan Murphy was permanently banned from Twitter for arguing that “men are not women,” as she was discussing transgenderism. This might not be popular in the privileged halls of the Silicon Valley Twitter headquarters, but more than half of all Americans (54 percent) agree with Murphy that sex is determined at birth. The American public is totally divided on transgender issues, as is the Democrat Party. For example, 55 percent of black Democrats stated that sex is determined at birth. So are Dorsey and his cronies at Twitter ready to ban more than half of black Democrats?

Sadly, if you asked the staffers at Twitter, they just might agree. We have seen this again and again at tech companies: the inmates are starting to run the asylum. Google employees are refusing to work with the Pentagon to protect America’s national security interests. Facebook employees fumed after a Facebook executive attended the Kavanaugh hearings and sat behind his friend, forcing an apology from the executive.

The intolerance that dominates college-age Millennials is now following them into the “real world.” They’ve taken their rigid intolerance of opposing views from their safe spaces and are trying to enforce them in the workplaces. They are so intellectually stunted that they don’t seem to understand that in the real world, there are many opposing ideas about many different issues. Only fascists seek to silence opposition. The problem is is that these tech fascists are gaining increasing control over the digital public square. And Congress has done nothing.

It’s time to act before conservatives totally cede control of yet another battleground. We didn’t fight to be a part of the culture in Hollywood, we lost the battle in our public schools, and we can’t afford to lose the digital world to the radical ideologues that keep voting Nancy Pelosi into office.

Congress doesn’t need to write any new regulations, instead they should stop giving these tech giants special exemptions. Currently our laws treat these companies like they are neutral platforms, not broadcasters and telecommunications companies. Yet of their own volition, by very intentional choices, from the publishing of original video content to the deployment of broadband, to making decisions on which content is allowed and what’s not, they have chosen to become publishers and telecommunications companies.

So they should be redefined as to what they are today, not what they were a dozen years ago. Congress should take another look at Section 230 exemptions of the Communications Decency Act of 1996. Twitter, Facebook, Amazon and Google need to be defined correctly. We already have a model for successful regulation of publishers and telecommunications companies under either the Federal Trade Commission and Federal Communications Commission. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel. And in reality, the easiest solution would be for the exemptions to be removed and for either the Trump Administration or Congress to bring them under the regulatory oversight of the FCC.

But we have got to stop pretending this isn’t a problem. Washington, D.C. must stop picking winners and losers. From now on, moving forward, there must be one set of rules and regulations for every publisher and every telecommunications company and everyone must be expected to play by the same rules.

Photo Credit: Chesnot/Getty Images

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