Government Regulation Of Social Media Would Kill The Internet

A very interesting piece by Daniel Ortner, an attorney with the Pacific Legal Foundation, which is a conservative/libertarian organization

Government regulation of social media would kill the internet — and free speech

Social media companies have been criticized for disproportionately restricting content that offends political progressives. For example, a Pinterest insider recently leaked documents showing that the platform censors pro-life speech as “pornography.” Popular “classical liberal” YouTuber Dave Rubin has complained that his videos are flagged and discriminated against because of alleged “right-wing” content. And Twitter got into hot water last week for suspending the campaign account of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for posting a video of angry protestors assembling outside the senator’s home.

In response, conservative politicians have advocated for greater government regulation and oversight of social media. Last week, reports surfaced that the White House is developing an executive order directed at tech companies such as Facebook and Google, demanding that these sites eliminate “anti-conservative bias.” The exact contours of the executive order are not yet known, but if it in any way resembles recent proposals, anyone who values the free exchange of ideas should run far away from this latest effort to place government oversight on social media and curtail freedom of speech in the name of “fairness.”

Why shouldn’t the government require these companies to allow access to everyone? Because social media companies are private companies, not government actors, and these companies have their own First Amendment right to exclude anyone from their platforms for any reason at all. The government cannot force these companies to open up their sites and associate with viewpoints that their owners and shareholders find objectionable, any more than it can force you to display government-approved speech on your private property.

It is a good point: these are private companies. Should government actually be regulating how they operate and allow content on their sites?

But anyone with even a modicum of skepticism of government bureaucrats should see that this is a truly awful and unconstitutional idea. It would mean that social media companies would be required to cozy up with these regulators to secure a permit. And control of the board fluctuates based on who controls Congress or the White House, so the continued viability of social media players would be up for reexamination every time the political winds change. Aggrieved members of the public would be allowed to submit complaints and the burden would be on social media companies to refute their claims — placing the companies in the impossible position of having to prove their innocence of every charge.

Even worse, we would be trusting these unelected commissioners to determine whether a particular policy has a disproportionate impact on a “political viewpoint.” Maybe you like the idea of President Trump’s appointees deciding what must or must not be posted on social media — but how will you feel if it’s President Sanders, President Warren, or President Biden?

And there’s the rub. Democrats are super excited about Net Neutrality. Would they like that, among all the other problems, it would be controlled by whomever is in power? Daniel might be over-doing it in his piece, because, let’s face it, these tech companies are acting in bad faith, and often seem to violate their own terms of service, as well as applying them arbitrarily, however, once you start down the Government road, it’s almost impossible to get off. And that road is constantly getting bigger.

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20 Responses to “Government Regulation Of Social Media Would Kill The Internet”

  1. Kye says:

    We need to find a way to stop these companies from limiting free speech. They are in the speech business as well as the info business. I would think by now we realize what happens when good people ignore those who control minds. Public education and academia comes to mind. We didn’t do anything when they started eliminating prayer and rewriting Western Civ and now we are at a point where they graduate 2 million new Marxists every year. And at each juncture “The Constitution” was said to be the reason. Bullshite.

    The left doesn’t care if the government passes a Net Neutrality” or not. The left already controls the Deep State regulators, the courts and the tech companies. It’s a fate accompli. I don’t think you guys really understand the position patriots are now in.

    The left is “doxxing” and “deplatforming” anyone to the right of Karl Marx. They’re coming for everyone’s firearms. They’re increasing and broadening “forfeiture laws”. They want to institute “Red Flag Laws” so little Nazis can report their family and neighbors to “The Authorities”. They’re using RICO against everything from churches to stock brokers. And they have actively encouraged a coup d’etat by the DOJ, FBI and other Deep state players all under the cover of “The Media” who already manipulates what we see and don’t see.

    Stopping the Bezos’ and Zuckerman’ of America should be our first priority right after throwing out the 35 million illegals who now call America their home. Our rights should not be cannon fodder so a bunch of billionaires can vie to be the first trillionaire.

    Trump 2020 Throw the globalists out and bring back nationalism.

    • Zachriel says:

      Kye: We need to find a way to stop these companies from limiting free speech.

      Free speech means that private forums have a right to control what speech is allowed on their forums. You might have a case concerning their public promises and with statements made to investors with regards to how they will run their businesses, but these are civil matters, not criminal.

      • Kye says:

        So privately owned papers, radio and TV news can discriminate? Obviously they can lie and cover up shit hence the well earned moniker “fake news”.
        Then their rights as a corporation trump my unalienable, God-given Constitutional rights. Cool. I guess if one can buy into 52 “genders” and how many races? one can but into anything.

        • Dana says:

          Alas! privately owned newspapers can discriminate; we have no right to demand that The New York Times print all of the articles from The First Street Journal. https://www.thepiratescove.us/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif

          The solution to Facebook and Twitter censoring conservatives is for a conservative to set up his own social media platform in competition.

    • Professor Hale says:

      Sorry Kye,
      The right answer here is to build your own platforms and let the billionaires continue to use their own platforms any way they see fit. Freedom is a beautiful thing. Still not sure how things like Twitter and facebook are worth billions. The thing we all need to guard against is government deciding who the winners and losers are. Facebook can make sure only Leftists can use Facebook, but only the government can kick your door open in the middle of the night, shoot your dog, drag you away in handcuffs and impoverish you defending yourself.

      Just remember… The Left is writing the rules and the rule today is: It is OK to discriminate on the basis of political affiliation. Cake bakers, Home renters, and lunch counters need to take note.

      • Zachriel says:

        Professor Hale: The Left is writing the rules and the rule today is: It is OK to discriminate on the basis of political affiliation. Cake bakers, Home renters, and lunch counters need to take note.

        Most jurisdictions do not have laws against political discrimination, so you can discriminate against Nazis and Communists, wing-nuts and moon-bats, as you see fit. On the other hand, there are laws against discrimination based on race, ethnicity, religion, and in many places sexual orientation.

        • But since 90% of Blacks vote Democrat and ALL LGBT activists vote Democrat, you may in fact turn them away on that basis. As you said, political discrimination is OKAY now.

          • Zachriel says:

            Professor Hale: But since 90% of Blacks vote Democrat and ALL LGBT activists vote Democrat, you may in fact turn them away on that basis.

            If you turn a black person away because you assume they are a Democrat, then you would probably be found guilty of racial discrimination. Similarly with someone who is LGBT in jurisdictions that provide that protection.

            Professor Hale: As you said, political discrimination is OKAY now.

            We didn’t say it was “okay”, but legal. However, if it is a proxy for racial discrimination, as you had suggested, then it is illegal.

        • formwiz says:

          Pretty sure there are laws that don’t let you discriminate against Narzis, either.

  2. Doom and Gloom says:

    This is an anti-trust issue. Whenever someone monopolizes a segment of society then it should be broken up. Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Instatram and Twitter all come to mind along. At one time Microsoft was there but they have been taken to court so many times that their anti-trust is only simmering instead of boiling.

    Cell phone service. Apple, Google, Microsoft if you want to count the 10 phones they sell per year. If there were two insurance companies rates would be pretty high.

    Amazon, pretty much dominates the entire online market segment.

    These behemouths will be broken up. Google might as well move to China and then all those snow flakes who dont like how the USA does things can ponder ZERO FREEDOMS in China. But hey at least they are not helping the USA>

    The internet makes me sick and there is a bunch of it that does not need regulations so much as it needs to be broken into segments, such as ATT the Bells and many other giants who are now many smaller businesses competing with each other.

    3 facebooks will COMPETE. They will WANT all voices heard. ONE will tell you to go F off.

    Google is a crime against humanity and should be dismantled. They are so intrusive into our personal lives and have so much social power as to make them more influential than the US government.

    No against regulation and yes against breaking these giant monopolies UP!

    • D&G,
      They are not monopolies. Just at Microsoft was not a monopoly. Being dominant in the marketplace doesn’t prevent competitors and none of those large companies are empowered by government protection, as AT&T was for many years. Totally different processes. You would be better off targeting the NFL.

      Further, no one NEEDS facebook or Twitter. You can be deplatformed from them all and suffer zero harm. Of course, it sucks if you built a business that depends on them. But that doesn’t make them a monopoly.

      A quick aside. Microsoft used to have a policy of not making political donations. Then under the Clinton administration, they got hit with an anti-trust suit. Then they opened their massive purse strings to Democratic party candidates and the anti-trust case got settled.

      Every American should feel outrage about government agents and politicians putting the squeeze on private businesses for their personal enrichment.

  3. formwiz says:

    If you turned away a black because you thought he’d vote Democrat, you’d be a fool because you’re going to see a lot of them voting Republican next year.

    • Professor Hale says:

      I don’t make the rules. I’m just telling you all that I noticed what the new rules are and their likely consequences. No LGBT activist should ever have to be discomforted by another Christian baker, ever. No religious test needed. Being a political activist (for any cause) is enough of a reason to refuse business. Being an ACLU lawyer is cause enough. Heck, you can discriminate against any lawyer, though you should probably keep a few on your good side.

  4. Professor Hale says:

    I don’t make the rules. I’m just telling you all that I noticed what the new rules are and their likely consequences. No LGBT activist should ever have to be discomforted by another Christian baker, ever. No religious test needed. Being a political activist (for any cause) is enough of a reason to refuse business. Being an ACLU lawyer is cause enough. Heck, you can discriminate against any lawyer, though you should probably keep a few on your good side.

  5. Phil says:

    There doesn’t need to be more government regulation of the internet, there needs to be LESS government involvement in the internet, specifically the removal of the special “Section 230” liability protections the government gave those companies.

    it is absurd that due to this protection they are legally considered a simple carrier of information like the old phone companies that simply transmitted the communications and are immune to most lawsuits. Once Google, Twitter, YouTube, etc. they decided they were going to “manage” the speech on their sites they became publishers and should have the same legal liability as the old media they replaced.

    They shouldn’t be able to have the best of both worlds.

    • Dana says:

      If section 230 were removed, you could kiss all blogs goodbye. If Jeffrey Jeffery made a libelous statement here, our esteemed host could be sued for it.

      • Phil says:

        Blogs having to no longer allow commenting is a small price to pay for stopping the significant damage huge tech companies companies are doing to the world.

      • Phil says:

        Also, you only bring up one direction the changes could go. I only said the tech companies should lose their protections because they “manage” content and censor certain users. They can keep the liability protection if they just go back to allowing ALL speech on their platform and act like a carrier not a publisher.

      • Elwood P. Dowd says:

        Dana Pico,

        Or if LilFemaleDog accused an identified commenter of pedophilia, TEACH could be sued for it!

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