Technology policy

The Big Tech Boogeyman Took Another Unfair Beating in the Democratic Debate

"I’m not willing to give up and let a handful of monopolistic companies dominate our democracy," said Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

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Big Tech came in for another round of fact-free attacks at Tuesday night's Democratic debate, where everyone from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.) to Andrew Yang warned that companies like Facebook, Amazon, and Google are harming American democracy.

Yang addressed the issue first, and while he did not voice support for the federal government breaking up these companies, he did assert that addiction to smart phones is making young people more anxious and depressed. But the evidence for this is far from definitive: A recent study found that spending more time on their phones actually made kids happier.

When her turn came to bash Big Tech, Warren whined that Amazon plays a dual role: providing a platform for outside merchants and also selling their own goods on that platform. "You get to be the umpire or have a team but you don't get to do both," she said, calling on the government to "break up these giant companies that are dominating." It's obvious what would happen if Warren got her way: Americans would have to pay more money, and surrender a great deal of convenience, to purchase the consumer goods they want.

Sens. Kamala Harris (D–Calif.), Cory Booker (D–N.J.), and Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.) stressed that Big Tech has too much economic and political power—Harris even criticized Warren for not joining her in calling on Twitter to kick President Donald Trump off the platform.

Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D–Texas) pushed back on some of the more extreme things the other candidates were saying. "I don't think it is the role of a candidate for the presidency to call which companies should be broken up," he said.

The concern that Big Tech has too much power to control the conversation—something Sanders touched on briefly—is shared by many on the right as well as the left. On Wednesday, Congress will hold a hearing on "fostering a healthier internet to protect consumers." The likely goal of the proceedings is to undermine support for Section 230, the statute that quite literally makes free speech on the internet possible. Sadly, in their zeal to punish tech companies for enjoying success—and for making decisions they sometimes don't like—too many lawmakers are eager to destroy this essential bulwark of the free internet.

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  1. And *I* am not willing for the single worst monopoly in the country — the federal government — to keep ruining the economy, society, or individuals.

  2. “The likely goal of the proceedings is to undermine support for Section 230, the statute that quite literally makes free speech on the internet possible.”

    Lol.

    It is possible without 230. 230 just provides legal protections. It is a favored entity clause. It has also been abused by California judges to apply to contract issues for the tech companies. Less dramatics robbie. They dont help your argument.

    1. 230 does not make for ‘free speech,’ but unfettered speech, and only for some. The rest are left to play by an arbitrary set of rules imposed by others.

  3. “quite literally makes free speech on the internet possible”

    That’s incorrect. It doesn’t stop people from making their own websites and exercising their right to free speech. That’s always existed. Our free speech is not paid for by companies that profit off of collecting and selling data. Please stop conflating free speech with social media usage.

    1. Just like freedom of the press is possible for everyone even if you criminally punish publishing companies for the contents of their letters to the editor, because all you have to do is buy or start your own publishing company.

      Derp.

      1. Yep, that’s literally the way that publishing has worked for 230 years. Turns out it is actually 100% possible to have free speech without publishers being immune from criminal or civil liability for the content that they choose to publish. Did you make a mistake and think you actually had a point?

      2. Why are you complaining? As long as there is still one option for exercising a right, it still exists. You can say what you want when you are alone in the privacy of your home.

        1. This guy gets it. You aren’t really free unless a publishing oligopoly can censor everything you say and suffer no legal consequences for the material that they choose to publish. Just as George Washington prophesied.

      3. Is this where you ignore multiple lawsuits against publishers such as Steyn and National Review? Hint the magazine and website still both exist.

      4. If CDA 230 makes free speech on the internet possible then why can twitter ban someone for calling a tranny a dude?
        If you can’t post what’s on the signs that the Westboro Baptist Church holds up then those sites already don’t have free speech. To claim that CDA 230 allows free speech online is idiotic and probably just means you’re addicted to social media and don’t want it to go away.

        1. Addicted, indebted…

          Tomayto, tomahto…

          1. I love the comments being made to congress today about Section 230 and how it helps give a voice to marginalized communities. I thought they wanted to silence Nazis. They seem to be in favor of them. They’re determined to allow them a voice this week.

            Also, bringing up Black Lives Matter, Me Too, and how CDA 230 allowed it to grow may not do you any favors because I’m sure they all remember how fucked up the Kavanaugh thing was and they know it could happen to any one of them next. Also, BLM cost cities a fortune with all of the police needed. Reminding them that CDA 230 allows violent protestors to organize isn’t a good idea. It’s like saying you’ve learned to become a good babysitter after that one kid died under your watch.

            The arguments are poor and based on them maybe having to close certain reddit communities due to risk. You know, risk like anyone else would face if they posted certain things except for them. If you own a website and you allow people to post things that could get you in trouble then maybe don’t let that happen.

            It’s as if they’ve convinced themselves the world cannot function properly without them.

  4. When you have nothing else to offer…

  5. So was the guy holding Bernie upright visible?

  6. Warren whined that Amazon plays a dual role: providing a platform for outside merchants and also selling their own goods on that platform.
    Nobody needs 27 kinds of deodorant.

  7. “Yang [..] did assert that addiction to smart phones is making young people more anxious and depressed.”

    I’m sure he has data to support this claim, just like the bigoted asshole who posts here claims that he and his asshole proggy buddies are ‘winning’.
    Did the NYT back him with assertions that the Russkis were……
    Oh, wait….

  8. Way too much histrionics in this article. Some objective facts.

    In the US, there are roughly 70MM Twitter users (about 20% of the population), who are mostly male, and roughly 210MM (about 60% of the US population) Facebook users.

    Maybe the question to ask: Who is having these conversations?

    Because looking at Twitter, the conversations here are confined to only 20% of the population. My point? Twitter is not representative of the US gen pop. Facebook is more representative, but there are relatively few regular users (defined as posting new content 3X or more weekly).

    When it comes to Big Tech, there is no need to take active measures here. One can do other things like removing tax preferences (perfectly legal and constitutional, and can be done by Congress), or change the law relative to section 230 (also perfectly legal and constitutional).

    What I will say about social media is that it is definitely contributing to the polarization problem. Social media just seems to bring out the very worst in people. There is also a real problem with viewpoint discrimination. But we need to remember that the Twitterverse is just not representative of the electorate in general.

    1. Twitter is not representative of the US gen pop.

      Neither was journolist. What it’s perfectly representative of is the Marxist thought bubble within which the entire media and publishing industries reside, so they’ve mistaken smelling their own farts for the pulse of the nation.

  9. I am making 10,000 Dollar at home own laptop .Just do work online 4 to 6 hour proparly . so i make my family happy and u can do

    …….. Read More

    1. This guy gets it.

  10. “A recent study found that spending more time on their phones actually made kids happier.” This is CNN-level bad reporting on a study. What they found is that kids who grew up txting and Snaptagramning don’t exhibit symptoms more when they enage in the activity more. The issue is whether pre-txting/’gramming kids were less mentally ill than those in the modern era. Cheap/cowardly universities are unwilling to fund an 18 year study and buy up a few dozen newborns to run the real control group on their private island.

  11. I thought the Russians controlled our democracy.

  12. Watching them trash the tech companies was one of my favorite parts of the debate.

    1. They won’t say it, but the underrepresented groups that they pander to that were given a voice by the tech companies played a massive role (along with the tech) in Trump winning.
      As long as the tech companies just do business as usual people will constantly see and hear how crazy the Dem’s supporters are. I’m not that type that would vote for someone due to missing out on a meal at Chic-fil-a, but I’d imagine a lot are.

  13. Let us all give a big thumbs up to the totalitarian pigs in Big Tech for suppressing free speech.
    Suppression forever!

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