Conservatives have traditionally understood that excessive government regulation, especially at the federal and international level, imposes severe restrictions on private enterprise, with unintended consequences. and lead to unnecessary litigation and government interference in private decisions. However, many of them have forgotten those lessons when it comes to the nation’s big tech companies.
Frustrated with what they see as Big Tech’s legitimate censorship of right-wing opinions on internet sites (although conservative pundits often dominate social media charts) , many conservatives have accepted a range of regulatory proposals – many of which are led by progressives who have dramatically different goals.
As for journalist HL Mencken, proponents of this right-wing regulation should be careful about what they want – because they’re about to get there, good and hard. That’s especially true when it comes to legislation that would remove liability protections from companies like Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, and YouTube that host third-party content.
Section 230 of the Federal Information Disciplinary Act states that “no provider or user of interactive computer services shall be deemed to be the publisher or speaker of any information provided by such supplier or user. other information provided”. Republicans argue that tech companies’ decisions to de-platform make them de facto publishers – so they must lose these protections.
The distinction between censorship and publication is crucial. Now, say, if a commenter posts something potentially libelous, the aggrieved party can sue that commenter – but not the company that runs the hosting platform. Conversely, people can sue traditional publishers because they control the content they print or post on their websites.
“Big Tech platforms are not allowed to use the Section 230 shield, designed to promote an open internet, to censor the First Amendment that protects free speech,” Republican Leader House of Representatives Republican Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said this month. If tech companies lose those protections, they’ll have two choices – take a strict approach or start heavily editing everything posted.
These companies are unlikely to accept the first approach, as it will turn these sites into spam folders for your emails or what is found on the unregulated dark web. Instead, they’ll even more tightly moderate or edit comments, which means conservatives will struggle more with Silicon Valley’s censors.
Consider Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar’s law, the Health Misinformation Act, which would remove “liability shields for platforms whose algorithms promote false information health-related bias in relation to existing public health status”. That would turn regulators into proper information arbitrators — and wouldn’t bode well for conservatives or First Amendment.
Conservatives did not support that proposal, but signed off on other Democratic measures. Tom Cotton of the Republican Party, Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Chuck Grassley of Iowa have co-sponsored Klobuchar bills that would, respectively, limit the ability of tech companies to acquire other companies and participate in ” self-priority” – prioritizing their own products on their website. Lawmakers are floating a multitude of proposals.
The Wall Street Journal reported: “Major tech companies are facing the biggest expansion of potential tech regulation in a generation. Instead of cheering this on, conservatives and Republicans should raise warning flags. Despite their frustrations with tech companies, they understand better than others that when big government intervenes in private industry, the results are rarely good.
https://www.sbsun.com/2022/01/27/new-big-tech-rules-will-harm-conservatives/ New big tech rules will harm conservatives – San Bernardino Sun