Want to fight Big Tech censorship? Here’s where to start
Although leftists frequently argue that this is not happening, conservatives are acutely aware of the frequency and scope of Big Tech censorship.
People who dare to post something online that goes against left-wing dogma regularly find themselves kicked off the internet, victims of the intolerant horde of digital censors.
It doesn’t always happen immediately. Last month, for example, YouTube suddenly deleted a video of an interview featuring Heritage Foundation election expert Hans von Spakovsky which was posted online more than a year ago.
The interview, recorded at CPAC 2021 for “The Jacob Kersey Program” podcast, covered various election integrity issues and how to restore trust in the electoral system by adopting common sense election security measures.
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On the show, Mr. von Spakovsky cited several examples of cases where voter fraud had called election results into question, prompting judges to reject the results and order new elections. These were largely local elections. At no time did Mr von Spakovsky suggest that the 2020 presidential election was stolen.
Yet YouTube removed the video, saying it violated the platform’s rules regarding “misinformation” and the 2020 presidential election. The reason why this suddenly became an issue more than a year after the upload the video is an enigma.
Eventually, there was a happy ending. After The Daily Signal reported the story, YouTube quietly re-uploaded the video, without acknowledging why it took it down in the first place.
This wasn’t the first time YouTube censored someone for discussing the 2020 election, even though they weren’t claiming the election was stolen.
On March 14, I did an interview on election integrity with “The Vic Porcelli Show.” A week later, the hosts informed me that YouTube had banned Newstalk STL, the radio broadcasting the show, from the platform.
The hosts had asked me about a Rasmussen Reports poll that found over 50% of voters think cheating had an impact on the 2020 presidential election. Again, neither the hosts nor I claimed that the election was stolen. Rather, our conversation focused on Americans’ perception of elections and how essential it was for the good of our democracy to pass legislation that made it easier to vote, but harder to cheat.
For that, YouTube’s unelected tech arbiters deemed Newstalk STL too dangerous to hear. The station was summarily banned.
Fortunately, state and federal lawmakers are beginning to fight Big Tech censorship that is suppressing Americans’ First Amendment rights online.
On May 24, 2021, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill making it easier for individuals to sue tech giants for online censorship, as well as impose fines on social media companies that misrepresent election candidates during the campaign season.
The legislation requires platforms to be open and transparent in how they moderate content and gives users a way to fight for their rights if Big Tech decides to revoke them.
It is an excellent first step. Additionally, allowing this type of legislation to develop at the state level will allow people to see what works and what doesn’t as the fight against online censorship escalates.
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But we have to act at the federal level.
Section 230, an archaic law enacted when the internet was born, is often used as a shield behind which Big Tech companies hide.
Republican Representatives Cathy McMorris Rogers of Washington and Jim Jordan of Ohio are drafting legislation that would remove Section 230 protections for companies like YouTube while protecting smaller platforms and allowing competition.
Any long-term solution to Big Tech censorship will require a fusion of cooperation between states and local governments. Big Tech censorship poses an existential threat to the future of free speech in America and must be fought at all costs.
If the First Amendment is dead online, it will soon die offline too.