It seems that Sen. Al Franken, the Minnesota Democrat now under fire for being a hypocritical pervert who made unwanted advances against TV host and model Leeann Tweeden during a USO tour in 2006, is demanding that online providers like Google, Facebook and Twitter censor content he doesn’t approve of.
In an opinion piece for the left-wing Guardian, he wrote:
As lawmakers grapple with the revelations regarding Russia’s manipulation of social media during the 2016 election, many are shocked to learn the outsized role that the major tech companies play in so many aspects of our lives. Not only do they guide what we see, read, and buy on a regular basis, but their dominance – specifically in the market of information – now requires that we consider their role in the integrity of our democracy.
Last week’s hearings demonstrated that these companies may not be up to the challenge that they’ve created for themselves. In some instances, it seems that they’ve failed to take commonsense precautions to prevent the spread of propaganda, misinformation, and hate speech.
He then asked the following rhetorical questions:
The platforms that big tech has designed may now be so large and unruly that we can’t trust the companies to get it right when they do start paying attention. If you have five million advertisers a month using your highly sophisticated, nearly instantaneous ad platform, can you ever really know who all of them are? Can you ever catch all the signals that would seem obvious to a pair of human eyes – for example, political ads that are paid for in rubles?
Writing at the End of the American Dream, Idaho GOP House candidate Michael Snyder responded:
Those are very ominous words.
So precisely what would constitute “propaganda”, “misinformation” or “hate speech”?
When you start regulating speech, you cross a very dangerous line. There is a reason why our founders guaranteed us freedom of speech in the Bill of Rights, because if we don’t have the freedom to say what we want then what do we really have left?
During the presidential election, there was a lot of talk about Hillary Clinton’s health. The mainstream media insisted that she was just fine, and they accused those of us in the alternative media that were questioning her health of engaging in “propaganda” and “misinformation”. Well, it turns out that we now know that Clinton’s health was so bad that Donna Brazile was actually considering replacing her as the nominee, and so it was actually the mainstream media that was putting out “propaganda” and “misinformation”.
“Any effort to institute some sort of ‘truth police’ would take us significantly down the road to totalitarianism, but apparently that is what Franken wants,” Snyder added. “In fact, he is openly suggesting that it is time for government regulators to step in…”
According to Business Insider:
Instead of simply trusting the big tech companies to police how their services are being used and abused, Franken suggested that regulators need to step in. Lawmakers should take a closer look at the influence technology plays in the everyday lives of Americans by conducting “vigorous oversight in the form of investigations and hearings to fully understand current practices and the potential for harm,” the Minnesota senator said.
“I’m hopeful that recent events will encourage regulators, as well as a broader contingent of my colleagues — on both sides of the aisle — to give this issue the attention it deserves,” he said.
So once government regulators begin regulating speech on the Internet, where will it end?
Will everything that we do on the Internet have to be evaluated for “truthiness” before it is allowed to be posted?
And who decides what the “truth” actually is?
I am a big believer in the marketplace of ideas. I have always been convinced that if everyone is allowed to openly share what they believe that the truth will win in the end.
Of course the elite are scared of the free exchange of ideas, because that gives the people way too much control over their own destiny. Prior to the Internet age, they were always in control of the flow of information in our society, but now things have changed dramatically.
They desperately want to get control of the Internet, because they want things to go back to the way that they used to be. But we can’t allow that to happen, and so we must greatly resist any attempts to regulate speech on the Internet.
Snyder, of course, is correct. Congress has already set the stage for online censorship with Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, which, as Adina Kutnicki and I explained in our book, “Banned: How Facebook enables militant Islamic jihad,” has been interpreted to mean that sites like Facebook can censor even constitutionally-protected speech with zero consequences.
That doesn’t mean government should have no role whatsoever. Congress needs to step in to fix what it broke over 20 years ago. Additionally, as I told Adam Taxin earlier this week, it’s time to consider regulating Big Social Media like public utilities, since these sites are now where a large number of Internet users get their information.
As for Franken’s statement… Consider the source. Not only is Franken a hypocrite, he’s also a totalitarian.
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