January 11, 2021

YES: Rein in abusive Big Tech republic.

What, then, should be done? First, the Parler purge should be investigated as an antitrust violation. The Sherman Antitrust Act makes conspiracies in restraint of trade unlawful; Parler has a colorable claim that Apple, Google, and Amazon acted in concert to crush their company.

Antitrust is just the beginning. Conservatives are facing a collective, inescapable, yet private regime of discrimination and censorship. The only institution powerful enough to defeat this cartel is the federal government. If and when Republicans retake power in 2024, the first item on the agenda should be new laws that protect every American’s civil right to speak freely on social media.

And yes, the right of all Americans to speak on social media should be seen as a civil right.

The Fourteenth Amendment made governmental racial discrimination unlawful; that, though, was not enough to make our country’s underlying commitment to racial equality meaningful, so the federal government passed laws prohibiting racial discrimination by private companies.

Similarly, the First Amendment protects against government censorship. But in 2020, most political debate happens on large social-media platforms. Facebook and Twitter are the modern public square. Thus, if our society’s commitment to free speech is to have any meaning, our government must constrain large social-media companies from censoring Americans’ lawful speech.

Poland, appropriately enough, is leading the way. Their Justice Minister, Zbigniew Ziobro, announced last month that the Polish government would enact a law constraining Big Tech from censoring their citizens. Polish users who are victims of censorship can go to a new Polish court, get an injunction forcing the company to restore their account and their content, on penalty of a fine of as much as 1.8 million euros.

We should do the same.


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