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The love affair between Big Tech and the Democratic Party is not a secret. Through campaign contributions, censorship, and woke nonsense, it’s perfectly clear that Silicon Valley giants are working together with the Left to destroy conservative values in America.
But White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki’s admission last week that the Biden administration keeps regular contact with social media companies — and is “flagging problematic posts” related to COVID-19 and vaccines — is a disturbing new step in this dystopian collaboration. The way Psaki describes it, President Biden is working directly with Big Tech to censor Americans and silence free speech on the internet.
History shows that the Democrats’ drive to regulate online speech is not done in the interest of truth, but out of the desire to censor and stifle dissent. After all, this is the same party that called it racist to even discuss the possibility that COVID-19 came from the Wuhan lab. Corporations like Facebook then took the lead by banning all discussion of what Biden’s own Director of National Intelligence has now confirmed in a Senate hearing is plausible and many scientists admit is increasingly likely.
The hypocrisy goes even deeper than that. President Biden himself cast suspicion on the efficacy of the vaccines last summer, warning that “if and when the vaccine comes, it’s not likely to go through all the tests… and trials that are needed to be done.” Vice President Kamala Harris went further, infamously declaring that “[i]f Donald Trump tells us that we should take it, I’m not taking it.”
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Even outside irresponsible comments that candidates make on the campaign trail, there is a basic reality that sometimes the scientific consensus shifts, which has led to instances, like Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., imploring Americans not to wear masks last spring, or Biden advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci dismissing the lab-leak theory.
Should the government have pressured Twitter or Facebook to censor them? No, of course not. That is what happens in China, not in the United States.
At the end of the day, the ability of our government to pressure Big Tech to censor speech — especially when it’s under the auspices of ensuring Americans’ discourse conforms to the “facts” of the moment — is far more dangerous than Americans commenting on the latest scientific observations.
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The fact that Psaki and the Biden administration freely admit to engaging in this kind of Big Tech authoritarianism — and colluding with our social media companies to facilitate their censorship — should chill anyone who values the free exchange of ideas in America.
To combat this attempt by the Biden administration to compel Big Tech to censor Americans’ speech, conservative policymakers must act now to safeguard free speech on the internet.
To that end, I plan to introduce legislation, the PRESERVE Online Speech Act, to require technology companies to disclose any U.S. or foreign government requests or recommendations regarding content moderation.
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Americans should know when governments — especially their own — request or pressure internet companies to censor legal speech. Doing so will shed light on insidious, government-Big Tech censorship efforts, as well as empower consumers with additional information about how open the websites they’re using really are.
Specifically, my PRESERVE Online Speech Act will require internet companies to publicly disclose any requests from governments to moderate, censor or otherwise limit speech — with the exception of certain law enforcement activities, including terrorism and human trafficking, so our intelligence community and police forces are able to continue pursuing dangerous criminals — within seven days, as well as the action that took place as a result.
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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) would be required to submit an annual report of disclosures to the Senate and House Committees on the Judiciary. Companies that do not comply would be subject to daily fines of $50,000 until they publicly disclose the required information. The funds would be directed to enhance rural broadband throughout the United States.
Transparency is critical, but it alone will not change the poisonous role that Big Tech and social media corporations are playing in our national politics.
We must not be complacent, which is why I also recently introduced the DISCOURSE Act, which would strip Section 230 protections from large tech companies that drop the pretense of neutrality by censoring specific viewpoints or creating and developing content, including through algorithmic amplification.
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We need to step up to the plate to stop Silicon Valley-Democrat collusion before it’s too late.
In 1912, President Theodore Roosevelt declared, “To befoul the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day.”
Today, that same task remains – and it’s more important than ever before.
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