‘Free Market’ Libertarians Miss The Mark Completely on Regulating Big Tech
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, released an op/ed on Saturday where he called for Big Brother to regulate his competition out of commission while putting new Draconian restrictions into place that would shift the blame off of him for committing an Orwellian assault against free speech on his corporate platform.
“The rules governing the Internet allowed a generation of entrepreneurs to build services that changed the world and created a lot of value in people’s lives. It’s time to update these rules to define clear responsibilities for people, companies and governments going forward,” the Facebook founder wrote about his restrictive proposal to strange the free internet.
“Lawmakers often tell me we have too much power over speech, and frankly I agree. I’ve come to believe that we shouldn’t make so many important decisions about speech on our own. So we’re creating an independent body so people can appeal our decisions. We’re also working with governments, including French officials, on ensuring the effectiveness of content review systems,” Zuckerberg added, making it clear that he is happy to cede unprecedented power to big government if it will clear up his public relations problem.
Some “free market” commentators, like the leather jacket-clad Nick Gillespie of the Koch-funded Reason Magazine, are already throwing in the towel. An avid proponent of laissez-faire economics, Gillespie sees the monolithic corporations embracing this regulatory push and is rolling over since his dogma claims there is nothing we can do to stop these so-called market forces.
“Goodbye to hive minds, the wisdom of crowds, and the disintermediation that allow each of us to decide what is ‘terrorist propaganda, hate speech and more.’ We’re back in bad old meatspace, with ‘independent bodies’ and expert committees and all that,” Gillespie wrote, bemoaning Zuckerberg’s push for more regulation.
“Goodbye, open internet; you will be missed,” Gillespie wrote in a final submissive whimper to Big Brother.
However, all hope is far from being lost. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) can be amended to revoke certain special government immunity privileges for tech companies if they act as partisan political publishers rather than neutral content providers.
The key provision of the CDA reads: “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.”
Freshman US Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) is leading the charge against Big Tech for Orwellian censorship policies against conservative free speech as well as other hostile business practices:
The new Congress needs to investigate and find out. Twitter is exempt from liability as a “publisher” because it is allegedly “a forum for a true diversity of political discourse.” That does not appear to be accurate.
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) November 27, 2018
The Big Tech giants regularly abuse the public trust – spying on consumers, taking data without consent, discriminating against conservatives. Then they wonder why citizens are angry? Time to hold them accountable pic.twitter.com/m4vSNUKOBp
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) March 5, 2019
Handicapped by a mediocre ideology, the Koch-suckers at Reason Magazine cannot fathom anything but total obsequence to their corporate masters, but there is a non-invasive solution: Changing Section 230 of the CDA. If tech corporations refuse to uphold basic American values like freedom of speech, they should not be give any special government favors protecting them from liability and competition.