September 24, 2021
FIRST ON FOX: Some conservative groups have joined together to push for bipartisan support of antitrust bills that will face votes in the House and Senate.
Spearheaded by the American Principles Project (APP), the letter – also signed by leadership from the Internet Accountability Project (IAP) and American Majority (AM) – seeks support for a slate of six antitrust bills that passed out of the House Judiciary Committee as the result of a monthslong deliberation as to how to limit the scope of Big Tech companies.
“We’re expecting two of the bills to pass,” Jon Schweppe, director of policy and government of affairs for APP, told FOX Business in an exclusive interview. “We think two others have a good shot at passing … and the other two will be heavier lifts, but we will push them because we believe in them.”
“Our goal is to push Republicans, to let them know that their constituents are very upset about this issue, they want to see action taken against Big Tech,” Schweppe explained. “They have to recognize that while Section 230 is a great idea – and organization has been in favor of reforming it – we’re years away from being able to do that.”
He said, “Antitrust is the only way to rein in Big Tech.”
The letter cites Pew Research that found 68% of Americans believe that “social media companies have too much power and influence in today’s economy.” The number increases to 80% among conservatives.
The groups named in the letter believe Democrats will never support full First Amendment enforcement online and curb censorship practices by companies such as Twitter and Facebook.
Conservatives face restrictions and threats of deplatforming, not just on social media but also as platforms themselves: Amazon Web Services (AWS) withdrew support for conservative social media platform Parler, which forced it to temporarily go offline as it searched for a new hosting service.
“Our goal is to get something like 30, 40 Republicans in the House to support these bills and get them over the finish line,” Schweppe said. “We are encouraging Republicans who are outraged at the censorship or the power these companies have – you gotta be practical. You have to look at these things and say ‘What can we do?’ in the near term.”
Google Vice President of Government Affairs and Public Policy Mark Isakowitz said the company is “not opposed to antitrust scrutiny or updated regulations on specific issues,” according to a statement issued to Axios.
“But American consumers and small businesses would be shocked at how these bills would break many of their favorite services,” Isakowitz argues. “As many groups and companies have observed, the bills would require us to degrade our services and prevent us from offering important features used by hundreds of millions of Americans.”
Twitter, meanwhile, pointed FOX Business to a decision made by company leadership in 2019 to end political advertising.
“We’ve made the decision to stop all political advertising on Twitter globally,” Founder Jack Dorsey tweeted. “We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought.”
Fighting Big Tech has been a hot issue on the right since CPAC – where there are multiple forums on the topic.
Former President Trump even announced a class-action lawsuit, which experts say is nearly certain to fail, against Big Tech companies over alleged censorship.
Facebook, Amazon and Google did not respond to FOX Business’ request for comment.
Unlike the Big Tech monopolies, the Internet Accountability Project pledges to never sell or share your personal information, which is your property.