Yesterday’s Antitrust Subcommittee show included powerhouse presentations of Big Tech malfeasance by Jim Jordan and Matt Gaetz. But one has to wonder about the dog that didn’t bark.
Yes, Jordan and Gaetz effectively pointed out how GooFaTwit has repeatedly censored conservative voices, most importantly Breitbart News and President Trump. We could continue with a litany of luminaries who have been silenced for wrongspeak. But I won’t bore you with how YouTube banned my video on Hormesis for “violating the terms and policies” of the platform. Fortunately, Facebook hasn’t discovered how evil it is (not).
The focus of the “hearing” was to show that the Masters of the Universe control so much information that they will sway as much as ten percent of the vote to Sleepy Joe. This makes them de facto monopolies, subject to the Sherman Antitrust Act. But enforcing that act is a multiyear murder by blunt instrument. We need an intervention right now. Two, actually.
The first is very simple. Jordan and Gaetz need to refer the MOTU to the Attorney General for perjury. Their testimony on repeated occasions has been to the effect of, “We don’t censor.” The facts presented contradict their words. Thus, they’ve repeatedly lied to Congress. That’s a felony. It’s time to prosecute it.
The better intervention is actually not even an intervention. CDA section 230, the shield GooFaTwit uses to protect its actions says:
“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” (47 U.S.C. § 230).
Notice that this deals with “interactive computer services.” Those are bulletin boards. GooFaTwit, because they constantly “fact check” and take down posts they don’t like, aren’t simple interactive computer services. They exercise complete control over what gets posted. That means they are publishers, not covered by CDA230. All we need is a legal finding of that fact from the Attorney General.
The implication of this is very simple. Let’s assume that Antifa and BLM use one of the “members only” parts of GooFaTwit. Their call to assemble for riot goes out, and during the melee, someone is killed.
Wait. We don’t have to suppose that. We know that several people have died in those riots. It’s almost certain that GooFaTwit allowed those organizers to post, inciting the riot. That means that GooFaTwit is complicit in the riot, and is therefore liable for the damages stemming from those wrongful deaths. It strikes me that it would take about half a second for an enterprising attorney to find a mass tort involving nine or ten zeroes. Such a financial reward would be irresistible.
Now we know that the Masters of the Universe are incredibly wealthy. But they are likely to cry “Uncle” just like Bayer did over Roundup. Ante up a large pot of money in return for not getting sued any more. But if they don’t straighten up and fly right, another new suit will become very likely, and the cycle will never end. Unless…
Suppose that GooFaTwit decide that they will only censor speech that is clearly illegal. Or put the other way, they decide that all Constitutionally protected speech will post unimpeded. At that point they will stop being publishers and come back under the protection of CDA230.
Nah. Never happen.
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