Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) described the world’s largest technology companies — naming Google, Facebook, and Twitter — as “monopolies,” adding that she and her colleagues are considering the use of antitrust laws and reevaluation of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) to address their shared political censorship and shaping of information access.
Section 230 of the CDA and antitrust laws “is where our attention is going to have to be turned,” said Blackburn, offering her remarks on Thursday’s edition of SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Daily with host Alex Marlow.
The Justice Department is preparing proposals to roll back legal immunities enjoyed by large technology companies under Section 230 of the CDA in measures that will be announced as early as Wednesday, according to sources to the Wall Street Journal. The immunities shield the companies against lawsuits arising from user-generated content.
Marlow asked about Google’s threat to demonetize the Federalist and ZeroHedge on the basis of the two websites’ comment sections running afoul of Google’s arbitrarily-applied standards.
Blackburn replied, “[This] was part of a continuum with big tech and how they are choosing to censor and restrict conservative speech.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee “is looking at these issues of prioritization and censorship and data mining,” added Blackburn, noting big technology companies’ politicization of algorithms to “lean left” and “restrict right.”
Google — which owns YouTube — claims immunity to defamation lawsuits based on content hosted on its platforms by refusing to acknowledge its role as a publisher of information. It simultaneously demands that the Federalist and ZeroHedge police their comment sections in order to continue monetizing traffic via Google Ads.
Blackburn described Google’s demand of Federalist and ZeroHedge as “an unequal application the law,” given the company’s rejection of liability for content on its platforms, including the comment sections on YouTube.
.@Google’s double standard for doing business: demand Sec. 230 liability protection for 3rd party content but threaten to shut down conservative news sites for 3rd party comments. pic.twitter.com/AHCtDXE80p
— Sen. Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) June 18, 2020
“If it is okay for [Google] to distribute news content without any kind of responsibility, then why is it not okay for someone to respond to what has been posted?” asked Blackburn.
Despite their refusal to acknowledge their roles as publishers, Google, Facebook, and Twitter all operate as “news distribution systems,” Blackburn remarked.
“They had a news feed,” Blackburn recalled of Facebook. “They had a trend line, so they were becoming a news outlet.”
Marlow warned, “Google is now deciding what information you can read in the run-up to the 2020 elections.”
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