Town Hall: Antitrust Empowers Free Speech, Not America’s Adversaries

September 26, 2022

Town Hall

We keep being told that breaking up Silicon Valley monopolies will “harm national security.”

The Amazon-funded Chamber of Commerce warns that antitrust will “undermine our national security interests.” Facebook and Google claim their monopolistic power is of the utmost importance to America’s national security.

This is nonsensical. Antitrust legislation is only a threat to the profits and power of Silicon Valley giants. Allowing more competition in the online marketplace will empower consumers, not America’s adversaries. 

The constant shrieking about national security only makes sense when one remembers that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) considers “disinformation” on social media a threat that needs to be addressed. DHS recently agreed with a recommendation from the agency’s inspector general to institute a “a unified strategy to counter disinformation campaigns that appear in social media.”

What does this look like in action? We saw one recent example when Mark Zuckerberg told Joe Rogan that Facebook censored damaging stories about the Biden family on advice from the FBI. The label of “disinformation” was abused by partisan members of the so-called intelligence community to muddy the waters on stories originating from Hunter Biden’s laptop. 

The same tactic was used to silence criticism of draconian lockdowns and unnecessary mask policies. And just as with the coverage about the damaging contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop, social media giants complied with government demands to censor information during the pandemic. 

White House officials, for example, pushed Twitter to ban journalist Alex Berenson. “They had one really tough question about why Alex Berenson hasn’t been kicked off the platform,” one Twitter employee wrote in an internal email after a meeting at the White House in April 2021.

Berenson was suspended a few months later in August. The suspension lasted almost a year and was only lifted due to a lawsuit from Berenson.

A lawsuit from the attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana has further revealed the power of White House demands. Emails obtained by the attorneys general show that Facebook’s parent company, Meta, assured the Surgeon General that they were censoring information to an effective degree. 

“I wanted to make sure you saw the steps we took just this past week to adjust policies on what we are removing with respect to misinformation,” a “senior Meta executive” wrote to the Surgeon General in the days following Biden’s claim that Facebook is killing people. “We hear your call for us to do more and, as I said on the call, we’re committed to working toward our shared goal of helping America get on top of this pandemic.”

This bully pulpit control of information online is possible only because a handful of companies control the distribution of it. There’s a very limited number of necks the government has to apply pressure to get what it wants. The only solution is increasing competition and choice online. The Senate must act on the antitrust legislation on which its leaders have promised to hold a vote.

The bipartisan American Innovation and Choice Online Act (S.2992) will restore market competition and give conservatives alternatives that won’t censor them. For years, conservatives have been told to create alternative social media sites, but the stranglehold companies like Google, Amazon, and Apple have on the marketplace has made this impossible. The American Innovation and Choice Online Act will empower entrepreneurs to create viable alternatives.

The Open App Markets Act (S.2710), also bipartisan legislation, is another bill that is needed to provide freedom online. Former President Donald Trump created his own platform with the Truth Social platform. However, it can’t reach 70 percent of phones because Google is not allowing users to download the app. The Open App Markets Act would allow people to download the app on their Android straight from Truth Social and end Google’s gatekeeping power.

Google is comfortable with their censorship because after all, the White House has designated former President Trump as a national security threat. Only in a world where free speech is the enemy does antitrust legislation empower our adversaries.

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Unlike the Big Tech monopolies, the Internet Accountability Project pledges to never sell or share your personal information, which is your property.