WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) has been one of the stalwarts in the United States Senate, along with Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), going after the Big Tech tyrants.
Law Enforcement Today is one of the many pro-police and conservative leaning outlets that has been victimized by the tyranny of Big Tech, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, all of whom have either throttled our content or in the case of LinkedIn, booted our national spokesman and our founder off the platform.
Breitbart News reported that on Fox Business Network’s Evening Edit on Tuesday, Sen. Cruz said that “abuses of power” by the tech companies will “get worse in coming years,” and will be “aided and abetted by Democrats that want to silence someone who disagrees.”
The senator said:
“One of the most chilling aspects of today’s hearing in the Judiciary Committee was Senate Democrat after Senate Democrat, their questions were essentially…why don’t you censor more?
“Why do you allow these views we don’t like to be heard or to exist? I think that is really, really dangerous. And I do think you’re going to see the abuses of power get worse in coming years with—aided and abetted by Democrats that want to silence someone who disagrees.”
Sen. Cruz noted Tuesday was a “rough day” for big tech, as the CEOs of Twitter and Facebook faced sharp questioning from Republicans while Democrats sat on their hands, CNS News reported.
Sen. Cruz told Fox Business:
“And ‘tween (sic) Facebook, Twitter, and then Google, which is really the 800-pound gorilla, we have enormous concentration of power, and I think they collectively pose the single greatest threat we have for free speech in this country because they’ve been getting more and more brazen.”
The senator noted Twitter appears to be “the most brazen” when it comes to censoring speech that it disagrees with. Twitter placed warning labels on several of President Trump’s tweets.
Twitter also banned the New York Post from the platform when they broke the story about Hunter Biden’s laptop, a story which alleged his using his father’s position as vice-president to enrich not only himself but his family, including Joe Biden.
Sen. Cruz said:
“Big tech asserted the power to just silence them because they didn’t like what they were reporting. I think it’s really dangerous.”
Sen. Cruz also singled out Democrats on the Judiciary Committee for fawning over Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, throwing them platitudes while only criticizing them for not censoring enough.
“And, you know, there used to be in a time in the Democratic Party where you would have defenders of free speech. You would have defenders of a free media. Today’s Democratic Party doesn’t do that.
“One of the most chilling aspects of today’s hearing in the Judiciary Committee was Senate Democrat after Senate Democrat, their questions were, essentially—and you mentioned Senator Blumenthal, he was one of the more aggressive on this—their questions were, why don’t you censor more?”
Democrat Sen. Richard Blumenthal turned his fire on Senate Republicans.
— POLITICO (@politico) November 17, 2020
The Texas senator has three ideas on how to rein in Big Tech censorship:
The first idea is to repeal Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. This section gives special immunity from liability that essentially shields social media companies from liability for content on the platform since they are not acting in the capacity of a publisher.
Since the election, Donald Trump has continued to spread lies and misinformation on social media.
Labels clearly aren't enough to stop him or his allies. pic.twitter.com/NgcHjEcV93
— Senator Mazie Hirono (@maziehirono) November 18, 2020
Sen. Cruz says by giving this protection to social media companies such as Twitter and Facebook, they are not acting in the capacity of publishers. The fact that they decide what can and cannot go on their platforms makes them, in fact, publishers.
Social media, when it came about over 20 years ago, was given Section 230 protection because it was believed that such platforms would be neutral, more like an electronic town square.
#Tucker out here torching Big Tech as "a censorship cartel" and @ChrisCoons as "a power-hungry lunatic who doesn't believe in the First Amendment" and is anything but a moderate even though the media call him that since he's "boring" and "therefore…must be reasonable." pic.twitter.com/Q5SBVgjrq3
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) November 18, 2020
Second, Sen. Cruz said:
“We can and should use the anti-trust laws. Under any measure, Big Tech is bigger, more powerful, has larger market caps than AT&T was when it was broken up.
“Under the antitrust laws, it’s bigger and more powerful than Standard Oil was when it was broken up under the anti-trust laws.”
The senator also said the Federal Trade Commission should be “using Section 5 authority for deceptive conduct.”
Finally, Sen. Cruz said the focus should be “directly on consumer deception and breaking the promise to consumers.”
The promise made by social media companies is “if you follow someone, you’re going to see what they have to say; and if someone follows you, they’re going to see what you have to say.”
Sen. Cruz said the Big Tech giants break that promise every day, noting that if they “don’t like your views, they silence you, they shadowban you, and I think we ought to pursue all three of them.”
Sen. Cruz continued that Democrats are not interested in pursuing any action but prefer to look at themselves as guardians of Big Tech and wanting them to censor more, not less.
During Tuesday’s Senate hearing, Sen. Cruz made the point that Twitter was, in fact, acting as a publisher and not a distributor of information. He said Twitter decides when to block certain tweets or label them in certain ways.
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Dorsey, however, said that Twitter was not in fact acting as a publisher when it censored the New York Post, claiming that it was Twitter’s policy to block the distribution of hacked materials.
Sen. Cruz railed at Dorsey:
“Except your policies are applied in a partisan and selective manner.
“You claim it was hacked materials, and yet you didn’t block the distribution of the New York Times story that alleged to talk about President Trump’s tax returns, even though a federal statute makes it a crime to distribute someone’s tax returns without their consent. You didn’t block any of that discussion, did you?”
Dorsey claimed that in the New York Times case, “We interpreted it as reporting about the hacked materials, not the distribution of the (hacked materials).”
Sen. Cruz shot back, “Did you block Edward Snowden when he illegally released material?”
“I’m—I—I don’t have the answer to that,” Dorsey replied.
“The answer is no,” Sen. Cruz said. “You have used this in a selective manner.”
Sen. Cruz then asked Dorsey if he was an expert on voter fraud.
“No, I’m not,” Dorsey said.
“Well, why then is Twitter right now putting purported warnings on virtually any statement about voter fraud?” Cruz asked.
Dorsey replied, “We are—we’re simply linking to a broader conversation so that people have more information.”
Sen. Cruz angrily reacted to Dorsey’s statement:
“No, you’re not! You put up a page that says, ‘Voter fraud of any kind is exceedingly rare in the United States.’ That’s not linking to a broader conversation. That’s taking a disputed policy position…
“…and you’re a publisher when you’re doing that. You’re entitled to take a policy position, but you don’t get to pretend you’re not a publisher and get a special benefit under section 230 as a result.”
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