Political censorship from the world’s largest technology companies places elections at risk through manipulation of information, warned Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), offering his comments on Thursday’s edition of SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight with host Rebecca Mansour and special guest host John Hayward.
Google, Facebook, Twitter, and other technology companies regularly deploy censorship of political speech and expression under the guise of restricting “hate speech” or “misinformation.”
Political censorship and manipulation of information flows by large technology companies will escalate as 2020’s presidential election draws nearer, predicted Banks.
Banks recalled Reddit’s censorship of The Donald in 2019, a community of 750,000 supporters of President Donald Trump. The community, one of the most active sources of online grassroots support for the president, was placed in “quarantine” mode by Reddit’s administrators, which requires visitors to the page to further confirm their intent to browse content.
Google’s recent threat to demonetize the Federalist and ZeroHedge is a recent example of Silicon Valley’s attempt to assist left-wing and partisan Democrat ambitions, observed Banks.
Banks said Facebook censored a meme he shared of Bill Clinton.
“I’ll just give you a personal example,” Banks shared. “A couple of weeks ago, I posted a picture — now infamous — of Bill Clinton holding the Bible in front of the church. … This was on my personal Facebook page. I said, remember the outrage when Bill Clinton posed with this photo-op with the Bible in front of the same church that President Trump took so much heat for a few weeks ago when he walked over in the midst of the riots? And Facebook actually — I’ve never seen this happen before. I’ve seen it only happen to people like President Trump — but Facebook blurred out my photo [and called it a ‘false meme.’ This is the new normal when it comes to these big tech platforms going after conservatives.”
Facebook partnered with PolitiFact to “fact-check” the meme Banks referenced, a left-wing news media outlet describing itself as providing “factual information” and “independent fact-checking.”
Technology companies’ political censorship is an undermining of First Amendment rights to free speech and expression, Banks stated. He said the Justice Department’s (DOJ) proposals to reform Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) hold promise in addressing “big tech’s editing and censoring content [that] come from conservatives.”
Banks said, “Recent academic studies show that Facebook alone, using their algorithms, could steer nearly a half a million votes in the upcoming election. This is what is at stake if we don’t do something about it, to rein in and hold these big tech platforms accountable for their actions, for their censorship, for their attacks on the First Amendment rights of all Americans.”
Banks added, “That’s why I’m committed to doing something about it, [and] why I’m going to dig deeper into Section 230 recommendations for reform from the Department of Justice [and] working with my colleagues to do that. That’s the conservative approach. We can’t allow for these large companies to overtake our way of life and hurt us.”
Large technology companies have becomes “monopolies,” determined Banks, amassing power comparable to government.
“Getting government out of the way [is] fine if we’re talking about a true marketplace, a free market, and a competitive environment,” Banks stated. “What we’re talking about with Google and Facebook are what have essentially become almost government entities that supersede the free market.”
Banks concluded, “Not just regulations for regulations sake, but with Section 232, this is about holding these companies liable for infringing upon the First Amendment rights of the American people. These are American companies that were built from American ingenuity and innovation, and they should uphold the same values that we expect.”
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