The CEOs of the four biggest tech companies in the world appeared before Congress this week. Yet, instead of demanding answers from these leaders over warnings of censorship—and Chinese influence, the lawmakers preoccupied the time with speeches. President Trump slammed Congress for doing nothing and vowed this one thing.
Many people have raised the alarm that Silicon Valley giants wield considerable power over the country. Too much power, perhaps. After all, we get all our news and information from devices and services provided by just a few companies. And it’s how many of us communicate and exercise our free speech.
It would very easy for a Big Tech company to alter what we find on search results or how many people we can reach with a post. Over the last four years, conservatives have slammed social media sites for “shadow banning” them or outright blocking them.
Even President Trump has been frequently censored by Twitter recently. They even took down tweets where he praised a life-saving drug.
But when the CEOs of Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Apple appeared before Congress, our lawmakers did not grill them. They wasted time giving speeches but refused to require action from these businessmen.
Now, Trump is promising action, after all this talk.
“If Congress doesn’t bring fairness to Big Tech, which they should have done years ago, I will do it myself with Executive Orders,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “In Washington, it has been ALL TALK and NO ACTION for years, and the people of our Country are sick and tired of it!”
The president spoke as Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Apple executives began testifying digitally at the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday about the power of online platforms and censorship issues…
“President Trump will continue to fight back against unfair, un-American, and politically biased censorship of Americans online,” the statement from White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany read. [Source: Breitbart]
President Trump has already set into motion measures to hold Big Tech accountable for censorship. He signed an executive order directing the DOJ to go after any cases where companies appeared to be blocking or controlling content.
He can continue that trend through federal agencies to pressure social media sites and other tech sites that seek to manipulate content online.
The president can use the FCC to regulate and restrict how companies control data from users. He can also work to rescind the Section 230 immunity tech companies enjoy, making them vulnerable to lawsuits and other legal action.
Over the year, many have fled sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Google over fears these companies were controlling their content or blocking them. But these sites still dominate the online landscape. It would take a strong effort on the part of the government to scale back their influence, much like what happened in the day of antitrust laws.
Already, there might be action. The Department of Commerce filed a petition to the FCC to challenge regulation of large Silicon Valley social media companies. If successful, the administration can set new rules that will end the trend of conservative censorship.
But long-term success can only come through Congress. Democrats appear totally unconcerned that Big Tech is censoring users, probably because it is only hurting conservatives. For now. If Silicon Valley can easily silence conservatives, then it can do the same to anyone else.
How long before Google or others do the bidding of foreign powers to influence our government? What if China doesn’t want Nancy Pelosi in power anymore and encourages Big Tech to take her down?
I’m thinking Democrats would be worried about that, then. But by then it would be too late.