Why Big Tech Should Not Be Viewed as a Private Business

Should First Amendment rights be extended to Big Tech corporations to publish and censor as they please?  This is a question that has agitated the discussion on whether antitrust legislation should be applied to infogiants such as Google, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Amazon, Pinterest and many others that have cornered the market on a public resource, information, and an essential human activity, the consumption of information. A solution to the problem of data sequestration and restricted access practiced by these companies is to rebadge them either as publishers or, alternatively, as public utilities.

These entities are protected by Section 230 of Title 47 of the United States Code, which allows them to “restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene…or otherwise objectionable” (italics mine). This provision has become, in effect, a license to censor expressions of opinion that run counter to the convictions and political views these companies promote. The First Amendment argument absolving Big Tech from complicity in monopolizing political discourse is succinctly summed up by a commenter to an article I recently posted in which I advocated antitrust legislation with respect to social media. He writes, in part:

“A private company…is exercising its First Amendment rights to do whatever the hell it wants short of libel and slander and incitement to violence…No private company has the obligation to carry content which it opposes ideologically. No private company has the legal obligation to be content-neutral… [T]hat would be a blatant violation of its free speech rights. The government can neither suppress nor compel speech nor demand ideological neutrality from private entities...Changing the rules to subvert the Constitution by defining companies you don’t like as “utilties” or “publishers” is the kind of fascist trick the left is always trying to get away with.”

Wishing to establish fairness in information exchange -- the lifeblood of a democratic nation -- is the very opposite of fascism. The fact is that suppressing users on political grounds is itself a fascist -- or, more accurately, Marxist -- strategy that is now the name of the game. Google executive Jen Gennai makes it clear that Google is bent on sidelining supporters of Donald Trump, a practice nothing short of electoral tampering. The great purge against conservatives and free speech advocates is proceeding via tactics like demonetization, shadow banning, the rigging of algorithms, the employment of waffle terms in enforcing company policy (e.g., “community standards”) and outright segregation. This just in from a correspondent:

“On Twitter, a great many right wing accounts are anonymous, and must use certain themes in order to convey our politics. This is necessary because so many of us get suspended or banned. Thus there are code words people use in their tweets and profiles in order to find (or re-find) friends. The lack of identity creates disconnect and loneliness. The result is people mourning banned accounts almost like fallen comrades. Every day new screenshots make the rounds and are shared by those who knew the pseudonymous account in question, the next person whose account has been killed off: an image of their profile with all their tweets gone.”

 Read more at American Thinker

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