June 23, 2021
Mike Davis, IAP Founder and President
Maya Angelou once famously said, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” The idea here is simple: Look at how people act, and you’ll know their character. Apologies can help and people can change, but for the most part, humans reveal who they are in the way they behave.
The same is true for large organizations, including mega-corporations—and especially monopolies. Without external motivating factors brought on by competition, monopolies have no reason to change and no incentive to improve. This is the dynamic we are witnessing in real time as Big Tech monopolies force their will, crush their competition and silence their opponents. And the consequences for our country, as well as for every American on the “wrong side” of things, are difficult to overstate.
Last week, Twitter suspended me after I tweeted, “Joe Biden is making it easier for illegal immigrants to commit crimes—and just made it harder to stop them” and linked to a Fox News report about President Biden’s dismantling a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office created by President Trump to assist victims of crimes committed by illegal immigrants. Despite it being a completely innocuous and fact-based tweet, Twitter suspended my account for 12 hours without explanation or justification.
It might be easy to dismiss this as a mistake (as Twitter’s spokespeople often do)—or maybe the woke employees at Twitter just didn’t like my using the term “illegal immigrant”—except this was the third time in under six months that Twitter “mistakenly” suspended my account for speaking out against the Left. The first time was when I spoke out against Antifa and BLM rioting; the second time was after poking fun at CNN host Brian Stelter.
So, what is Twitter’s real reason? The most logical explanation is to believe the evidence right in front of our eyes. Big Tech is in the middle of an all-out war against bipartisan legislation to rein in their monopoly power, and I just so happen to lead an organization that advocates for exactly that.
Every time Twitter suspended me, they eventually backed down, but only after sustained pressure and inquiries from news media, conservative influencers and members of Congress. Lucky me, a high-profile attorney with many connections to powerful people and institutions in Washington.
But what about the 99 percent of Americans who don’t have a platform to speak out against injustice or the connections to speak out on their behalf when they are silenced? Tragically, they are powerless and their participation in the modern public square that is social media is not guaranteed.
This is but a small example of Big Tech’s willingness to flex its muscle to the detriment of open and free political dialogue. But it’s also a poignant anecdote that tells the story of a broader problem we face with Big Tech power run amok—because ultimately, without competition, Big Tech will not reform. There will be no due process, there will be no transparency and there will be no consistent rule enforcement.
In reality, Big Tech and its Silicon Valley workforce see themselves as above and beyond the laws of the United States. They prefer a new standard of law created in their own leftist image and based upon the whims of the woke mob, authoritarian governments and dictators. And that is why conservatives must recognize that Big Tech’s obvious political bias that every day leads to our censoring and de-platforming is at its core an antitrust issue.
At the dawn of the 20th century, there emerged a new consensus in the United States that monopoly power is inherently dangerous and should be prevented—period. The trustbusters, led by Republican President Teddy Roosevelt, understood that the deeply American ideal of not permitting unchecked power applies to the private sector just as easily as it applies to the government. That’s why they passed antitrust laws to break up the oversized corporations of their time, so that a few wealthy barons couldn’t impose their will on government or society at-large.
Today, we face a similar challenge with the trillion-dollar Big Tech monopolies that are destroying anyone and anything standing in the way of their unchecked power. Conservative lawmakers must wake up to the fact that the only real solution to our Big Tech problems is antitrust modernization and enforcement.
Antitrust paper tigers like House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan (R-OH) can no longer get away with only viral speechifying or delivering empty threats on cable news. Yes, federal communications standards like Section 230 that give immunity to Big Tech titans must be repealed. But the era of antitrust amnesty must also come to an end if we are truly serious about safeguarding free speech and ensuring the viability of conservative politics in the public square.
Mike Davis is president and founder of the Internet Accountability Project. He is a former top attorney for the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary and previously served in the United States Department of Justice. Davis also clerked for Justice Neil Gorsuch, both on the Tenth Circuit and on the Supreme Court.
Unlike the Big Tech monopolies, the Internet Accountability Project pledges to never sell or share your personal information, which is your property.