Roughly 50 groups, angered by Big Tech’s censoring and de-platforming of conservative voices nationwide, want the states to step up and fight the social media giants. In a letter, these activist groups ask the attorney general in each state to go after Big Tech for basically lying.
The letter mentions how Twitter, Facebook, and Google/YouTube each claim objectivity, yet clearly choose sides.
Dan Gainor at the Media Research Center told CBN News, “If a company tells you – as all these Big Tech companies have done – that they are neutral, and then act in an opposite manner, that may be a violation of local laws.”
Gainor suggested not waiting around for the White House to make any sort of move to stop Big Tech’s censoring and de-platforming.
“The Biden administration is closely tied to Big Tech,” Gainor pointed out. “Big Tech was enormously supportive of Biden’s candidacy. I don’t think there’s a snowball’s chance in a very warm place that they’re going to do anything.”
States Must Step Up
This is why the Media Research Center’s Brent Bozell said at a recent webinar the states must step up.
“There is a responsibility that the states have we believe within our consumer laws that are on the books to protect citizens from unfair trade practices, and certainly, what is going on with Big Tech applies directly to that,” Bozell stated.
And states are stepping up, with Bozell mentioning, “There are now 19 states that are taking actions to rein in Big Tech at the state level, which is very encouraging.”
At the same webinar, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton commented, “Some of these tech companies are so large and so monopolistic and so abusive in their actions that we have to take action.”
Paxton’s going after and investigating Big Tech now, as is Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge.
“All of us on the attorney general front are pushing back against Big Tech,” Rutledge said. “We’re part of these lawsuits, part of these investigations.”
$10,000 Per Violation
Rutledge is going further, though, by pushing a state bill to punish de-platforming and censoring, and, “To seek penalties under the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, with a penalty of a violation of $10,000 per violation.”
“How does a company find itself in violation?” Rutledge asked, and answered, “If they put someone in their jail, if they cancel their account, put it on hold to demonetize that individual or that company, or they act not in good faith.”
She said of the giant social media platforms, “These are the new town squares. So we must protect freedom of speech and encourage the sharing of ideas, and welcome thoughts.”
Back in Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott is promoting a state Senate billthat would treat in law the media giants “akin to common carriers” without power to “block, ban, remove, de-platform, demonetize, de-boost, restrict, deny” viewpoints they find objectionable.
Back to the Good Ol’ Days?
Gainor just hopes such actions can return social media to the pre-censoring and de-platforming days.
“We need to fight for the territory that we fought hard to gain, and that is existing platforms, existing opportunities: Facebook, Twitter, Google, YouTube, Amazon, etc.,” he said.
Big Tech, though, is fighting back and maybe showing they have something to hide as Twitter is suing Texas’ Paxton in an attempt to stop his investigating of how all the social media giants de-platformed Donald Trump at almost the same time in early January.
In its suit, Twitter charges, “Paxton made clear that he will use the full weight of his office, including his expansive investigatory powers, to retaliate against Twitter for having made editorial decisions with which he disagrees.”
The suit also accuses Paxton of “unlawfully abusing his authority as the highest law enforcement officer of the State of Texas to intimidate, harass and target Twitter.”
Few at MRC’s webinar have much faith the social media giants will repent and give up their power to control speech.
Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch said of them, “Big Tech is just a small group of uncensored, unchecked individuals who decide they want to silence us. They have no regulatory authority, but yet in fact they do that. They do it day in and day out.”
Censored Over an Anti-Human Trafficking Post
Fitch saw that first hand after Twitter didn’t like a video she posted about human trafficking.
“I put it up. Within 37 seconds they took it down at Twitter,” Fitch recalled. “Now my video is a minute and 23 seconds, so they didn’t even watch the entire thing. They decided to silence me right off the bat.”
“If Twitter or any of these platforms can just be so cavalier that they take down an attorney general…wow!” Fitch exclaimed. “That means they’re going to take all of us down.”
Fitch is asking Mississippians to share their personal stories of being censored at firstname.lastname@example.org.
‘Most Powerful Companies in the History of Man’
Bozell pointed out, “81 percent of Americans – not liberals, not conservatives, not Republicans, not Democrats – across the board, 81 percent of Americans now believe that Big Tech needs to be regulated, that there needs to be anti-trust regulation to break those companies up. They are far too powerful. They’re the most powerful companies in the history of man.”
“These companies have such an incredible platform and influence over the American society, and we cannot have Americans losing their free speech,” commented Arkansas’ Rutledge. “What we have seen is if your thoughts do not agree with the thoughts of the provider, your thoughts may be canceled.”
Must Find a Way to Operate Outside Big Tech’s Infrastructure
“They’re now interfering in the single most basic right of all Americans, which is the right of free speech,” Bozell charged. “If you say something contrary to the narrative, you’re shut down. Or in fact, you’re just thrown off the platform altogether.”
This is why MRC’s Dan Gainor warns all those targeted need to figure out now how to live, do business and communicate outside Big Tech’s infrastructure, so these bullies can’t gang up and cherry-pick which sites and speech to silence, as they did with Parler in January.
“The conservative movement needs to move ahead building its own infrastructure,” Gainor urged. “Because as we saw, with Parler particularly, that infrastructure can go away almost overnight.”