Big Tech Pressured into Censorship? Let’s Fix This Now!
The Russians have just levied a $100 million fine against Google, and $27 million against Facebook for failing to take down more than 2,000 posts that incite “religious discord,” perpetuate “unreliable socially significant information,” propagandize “an indifferent attitude towards the life and health of minors,” or promote extremism, according to a Washington Times article.
This is not about big tech corporations losing money. I’m not worried about them, their profits are skyrocketing.
This is about the multiple faces of censorship. How much do we believe in our Constitutional right to free speech in America? And how much do we want to encourage it in the rest of the world?
Are you on Google/Facebook’s side because they refused to comply with Russian censorship demands? Consider that Google in China is a censored version designed by Google in cooperation with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), that a great deal of information frowned upon by the Chinese government is not included the Chinese version of Google. Facebook is currently banned in China, but multiple reports have said that Facebook is working with China to install censorship tools. Perhaps there is some idealism there but the lure of profit is in direct competition to American values. Will profits eventually win?
And I’m thinking that Google and Facebook are not the best ambassadors of America’s Constitutional rights around the world.
My doubts as to their motives come from a very simple place. I was censored by both Facebook and Google, here, inside America, with respect to key political issues. You know the issues as well as I do. Election integrity, COVID policy, Trump, BLM, conservative politics in general. The introduction of “fact checkers” whose bias is obvious and whose purpose is utterly transparent, has provided cover for some of the worst censorship in our country’s history.
It is time we implement two pieces of legislation. These will actually HELP Google and Facebook, tying their hands and taking them out of the line of fire.
First, let’s declare them “common carriers.” This means that, like the telephone system, people use them and cannot be censored. Content is the responsibility of the person, not the network.
I can explain this best with a counter example, imagine you are having a cellphone conversation with your brother, and having it interrupted by an operator who tells you that you are not allowed to talk about a particular political candidate. And if you continue, then your conversation will be terminated and your cell phone will be shut down for 24 hours. This is what I experienced on Facebook. A “common carrier” is not allowed to do this, it is just infrastructure for communications.
Something similar needs to be done for Google. Internet search needs to be declared “common infrastructure” that is not manipulated by the opinions of Google employees. Want to see an example of what has been done? Check this out. Google Search Bias: Hillary Passed Wonderful Crime Bill, Trump is a Pile of Poop
If we pass these laws, then Google and Facebook would actually sigh in relief. It takes risk and uncertainty out of the equation and allows them to tell China and Russia that it is not their fault.
Note that these are not simple laws to implement, they might in fact be very complex. And politicians are not very good at complex…
Second, we need to pass a law that says U.S. companies will not cooperate with political censorship, or the oppression of people and ideas in other countries. This may cost Big Tech some profits in those countries that demand censorship, but they have plenty of brain power to be able to make money in other ways. Again, Big Tech will sigh in relief.
If Big Tech is following the laws of the United States that they cannot implement censorship, they cannot be found guilty of not censoring. It becomes a diplomatic issue. It creates a level playing field, and also allows us to restrict Chinese companies who cooperate with CCP censorship from operating in the U.S.
Despite the liberal rhetoric and the current pressure to be “woke,” corporations are designed to be amoral. Their sole purpose is to create benefits for their shareholders, and that is what they should be. And they are brilliant in finding ways to make money, even in exploiting loopholes that some Americans might find disturbing. There is a lot of truth in the accusation that the least moral business people make the most money.
Our elected leaders are free (and required) to pass laws imposing morality/American values onto these corporations. The corporations, believe it or not, really don’t care as long as the playing field is level. In fact, businesses CRAVE laws that make things clear and predictable. Most businessmen ARE moral and welcome laws that reign in businessmen that push the envelope too hard to the point where other interests are harmed.
These suggested laws will provide cover and guidance to Big Tech in ways that will further American interests, and in my opinion, world interests. It will also fix the BS that is happening here in America.
Time to do it. Now.