Free Speech

Government, Not Big Tech, Is the Biggest Threat to Free Speech

One bill would require lengthy disclaimers on all online political ads.

|

Recent legislative efforts should serve as a reminder that the most dangerous threat to Americans' free speech isn't tech executives in California––it's the people we elect and send to Washington.

The most recent threat to free speech to emerge from Congress is H.R. 1, a colossal 900-page bill. It passed in a 220-210 vote on Wednesday, with one Democrat joining all Republicans to vote against. The legislation tackles a host of questions involving campaign finance, political speech, and online speech, and its effects would all but silence citizens' abilities to speak about and criticize politicians and their policies. In fact, the 40 pages of the bill borrowed from the "Honest Ads Act" would censor more online political speech than anything those working in Big Tech have dreamed up.

Among the host of new requirements contained in the legislation is government-compelled speech on paid political content or content created by paid employees. Essentially, traditional online ads, or even memes, would require lengthy text disclosing what organization created the ad. These disclosures would have to include the sponsor's name and give a means for the viewer to find the sponsor's street address, telephone number, and website URL, and say that the ad is not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

Imagine seeing a policy-related meme with a large government-mandated disclaimer slapped on it, wrecking your view.

These requirements would not just apply to graphic formats but to audio and video content as well. For example, H.R. 1 applies the government-mandated disclaimer for radio ads to online audio ads, such as podcast ads or free music streaming apps. These disclaimers often last from 10–15 seconds, and H.R. 1 makes the disclaimers even longer. For context, many online ads on services like Spotify or YouTube usually last only 10–15 seconds. The results would either be longer online ads filled with government speech that consumers would skip through or political advertisers foregoing speech through digital video ads altogether.

As burdensome as these requirements are for those wanting to broadcast a message, those hosting the message might face even more daunting requirements.

The legislation would require a "public file," which is a database of all ads costing over $500 that are run by a particular digital ad provider. While such systems have been implemented privately by Google and Facebook, companies with fewer resources would be unable to create systems that comply with the law. Look no further than when state versions of the bill were passed and digital advertisers like newspapers attempted to meet the onerous requirements.

When Maryland passed a state version of the "Honest Ads Act," newspapers filed a lawsuit explaining that these requirements were not only impossible to comply with, but were unconstitutional as well. The courts agreed. 

Sometimes, even big companies struggle to comply. Washington state's own version of the act was so onerous that Google stopped running political ads within the state altogether. Even after creating an online ad database, the company was sued by the Washington attorney general for noncompliance. While Congress continues to rail against the power of Big Tech, these rules would be impractical for any small companies to comply with, leaving potentially only the largest and most profitable companies to run political ads.

Beyond the technical obligations and constitutional issues, the requirement that citizens hand over a large amount of personal information in order to speak their politics could have a chilling effect on free speech. Requiring this information impedes the ability of an individual or group to speak anonymously, an important value both in our nation's history and in virtual channels. The reporting requirement is also a barrier to entry for those wanting to spend a tiny amount on advertisements. As any group dealing with the Facebook process can attest, making it through the labyrinth of verification of personal information, disclaimer review, and ad review often can prevent a small group from speaking. Imagine if an ad on any platform had to meet similar requirements. Small groups without paid professionals may be completely discouraged from tackling the process.

The Honest Ads Act provisions of H.R. 1 would, by themselves, be a major blow to free speech, and that's without taking into account roughly 850 pages' worth of other bad ideas.

But of course, silencing speech is the point of the bill. During a hearing of the DISCLOSE Act, part of the larger, 900-page H.R. 1 bill, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D–N.Y.) said, "Let me tell you, I think it's a good thing when somebody is trying to influence government for their purposes, directly with ads and everything else, it's good to have a deterrent effect."

One of the most effective ways to speak about policies or politics is online. For just a few dollars, you can use any number of tools to put your speech in front of people likely to engage with or be interested in the issues you care about. With a persuasive enough message, you can recruit other people to join you in criticizing an elected official, shining a light on politicians' shortcomings.

This, of course, is unpopular with the Washington political class. They enjoy holding the reins of political discourse, so attention is focused on the issues and topics they care about. Rules on speech are designed to protect insiders and disadvantage outsiders. The internet is the ultimate tool for outsiders and, thus, must be curtailed.

Many decisions made by large tech companies have raised questions about their commitment to free speech and free expression on their platforms. But at least with a market in social media, consumers can vote with their feet and choose platforms that respect their speech. A government-mandated speech policy creates a monopoly on censorship. 

The bill faces a Senate hearing on March 24. As lawmakers debate its merits, they would do well to remember that the First Amendment reads, "Congress shall make no law."

NEXT: Remove the Fences Surrounding the Capitol and Send the National Guard Home Now

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. The Ministry of Truth has arrived, baby!

    1. Absent from this sophomoric article is half of government is in open collusion with big tech. Wonder if the editors here understand that.

      1. Google and the US government are only barely different things.

        1. Government Almighty can shoot, jail, or kill me, and tax me, but Google can’t legally do ANY of these things, yet Mamma the moron can’t see the difference! Wow!

          1. 85% of Google execs and board members have worked for a elected Democrat, been an elected Democrat or worked for the DNC. Similar figures hold true for Facebook and Twitter.
            The tech oligarchs are the party and the party is the oligarchy.

            1. After leaving my previous job 11 months ago, I’ve had some good luck to learn about this website which was a life-saver for me… They offer jobs for which people can work online from their house. My latest paycheck after working for them for 4 months was for $11600…AMs Amazing thing about is that the only thing required is simple typing skills and access to internet.

              Read all about it here….. JOBS APP

              1. [ PART TIME JOB FOR USA ] Making money online more than 15$ just by doing simple work from home. I have received $18376 last month. Its an easy and simple job to do and WERD its earnings are much better than regular office job and even a little child can do this and earns money. Everybody must try this job by just use the info
                on this page…..READ MORE

                1. [ PART TIME JOB FOR USA ] Making money online more than 15$ just by doing simple work from home. I have received $18376 last month. Its an easy and simple job to do and BDE its earnings are much better than regular office job and even a little child can do this and earns money. Everybody must try this job by just use the info on this page…

                  Here’s what I do.=========> GOOGLE CASH 1

        2. One thing is undeniable.

          Google does everything Democratic politicians have asked of them be the request in their best interest, legally or not. The fact that politicians are using their threats of power to make private requests is a whole other can of worms.

          1. https://twitter.com/Breaking911/status/1367606340722556929?s=19

            NEW: YouTube deletes all videos of President Trump’s CPAC speech, suspends RSBN for two weeks

            1. I quit working at shoprite and now I make $65-85 per/h. How? I’m working online! My work didn’t exactly make me happy so I decided to take a chance on something new… after 4 years jbt it was so hard to quit my day job but now I couldn’t be happier.

              Here’s what I do.=========> USA ONLINE JOBS

    2. Kill Mormons. Refesh.

      Can you cum on your fat cunt wife’s magic underwear? Or is that a sin?

      1. Earning more dollars from home easily just by working 0nline j0b from home. Makes every month extra $20k or more from this easy h0me j0b.HBg Last month i have made $22759 from this just in my spare time. Every person can now get this and start earning 0nline from the instructions given to this web page…

        =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= JOBS APP

        1. Google pays for every Person every hour online working from home job. I have received $23K in this month easily and I earns every weeks $5K to 8$K on the internet. Every bghj Person join this and working easily by open just open this website and follow instructions
          COPY This Website OPEN HERE….. Visit Here

    3. The government is only the visible enemy. Media oligarchs do their bidding.

      Just because the cancel culture controls the media and censored the sitting president of the United States and everyone who recognized the evidence of election fraud, you threw in the towel.

      Well that’s you,

      It isn’t over. If there isn’t a non partisan investigation into the fraud, you will lose every time. You can expect nothing else.

      Unelected media oligarchs aren’t entitled to violate our rights.

      1. Even Orwell couldn’t imagine the private-public nature of the censorship that has emerged to effectively nullify the 1st amendment and begin the Stalinist rewrite of American history. They have not had to arrest a single reporter or tech giant. Like dogs, they sniff the asses of the politicians and infer their intent. Then they roll over and surrender without ever getting bitten.

        1. Some would say, in the free market, you have to pay for 1a.

          1. I am making a good salary from home $1200-$2500/week , which is amazing, under a year back I was jobless in a horrible ADt economy. I thank God oy every day I was blessed with these instructions and now it’s my duty to and pay it forward and share it with And Everyone, Here For MORE INFO PLEASE Just check this SITE……  READ MORE

      1. I quit working at shoprite to work online and with a little effort I easily bring in around $45 to 85 per/h. Without sho a my doubt, this is the pay easiest and most financially rewarding job I’ve ever had. I actually started 6 months ago and this has totally changed my life………… READ MORE

  2. Nope, not anymore. You used to be able to communicate over the internet from inside even the most oppressive regimes.

    Then Big Tech began helping oppressive regimes crack down on dissident communiques.

    Now Big Tech can totally squelch anyone and everyone they choose.

    This is the modern reality of the situation, not the pre-approved 20th Century canned trope.

    1. “Then Big Tech began helping oppressive regimes crack down on dissident communiques.”

      The impetus for that didn’t come from big tech though, it came from the governments of those countries. Big tech was basically told to play by the government’s rules, or don’t play at all. The tech companies chose the lesser of the two evil options (from their perspective)

      1. There is no separation between big tech and the Gazi party

      2. False. See Australia. They bent to Facebook. Google has been making the very tools that agents like the CCP use now to monitor and condition people. China and other governments are using the tools given to them by big tech.

      3. Even from their perspective it was the greater of evils they chose.

        They sold those people out for money.

      4. Big tech was basically told to play by the government’s rules, or don’t play at all. The tech companies chose the lesser of the two evil options (from their perspective)

        No, they didn’t choose the lesser of two evils, the chose evil & money over doing the right thing and forgoing money.

  3. From The Intercept, an article that’s cheering on the For The People Act:

    It’s difficult to believe, based on its lamentable history of squabbling and in-fighting, that the Democratic Party will manage to hang together and pass a significant bill that’s both in their own obvious self-interest and in that of the country. But stranger things have happened, such as the fact that the For the People Act has gotten this far in the first place.

    Shorter, what’s in the interest of the Democratic Party is in your interest.

    1. That link is to The Hill, not The Intercept.

      It’s entirely against HR 1, not cheering it on.

      It doesn’t have that quote.

      1. You’re right, too many links in the clipboard. Geiger got it below.

  4. Both big tech and Gov have shown that they are threats to free speech. Libritarian need to stop hiding behind the “big tech is not Gov”. We have seen big tech literally destroy priave people who’s speech they disagree with. You can look a the collusion of nyt PayPal visa and discover in taking down porn hub. You have Google Facebook Twitter and Amazon explicitly telling people what they are allowed to say and talk about, while saying they should have Gov protection that doesn’t extend to the people using their services

    1. Big Tech only gets away with that crap BECAUSE OF Big Gov.

      Big Gov creates all sorts of regulations and mandates which drown small competitors and leave Big Tech even bigger.

      Big Tech without Big Gov would be harmless; or more to the point, Big Tech which went crazy would be doomed without Big Gov sheltering it and drowning the competition which would keep Big Tech from going crazy.

      1. “Big Tech only gets away with that crap BECAUSE OF Big Gov.”

        You’re almost there.

        1. You almost left a comment.

          1. Good one.

      2. H&R Block lobbied government to introduce regulations to ensure their own market share. This happens often. Corporations collude with government to benefit themselves. It is often corporations or political action groups that introduce laws, not Congress.

      3. ^THIS – Years of National Socialist legislation is the bottom line issue of whatever sh*t topping is getting tasted at the moment. It’s time for States to start challenging the federal government forcing the Supreme Court to rule on Constitutional grounds and it’s time for State’s to stop massive crime at the ballot box.

        Maybe I’m delusional; but I still think there are more USA Patriots in the USA than there are Democratic Nazi’s (def; National Socialists) and also believe putting the federal authority back into the box it belongs in would solve all the current ‘censorship’ issues.

        1. Not national socialist, but global socialist.
          Gazi

  5. I would remind you that there is no due process with big tech.
    (Not a whole lot with governments either, but we can at least pretend we have a chance to vote them out)

    1. No one has to even pretend to “vote them out” when it comes to big tech. Your subscription isn’t mandated by Gov-Guns unless you have evidence to the contrary.

  6. A bill which happens to fall with a light hand on the Silicon Valley giants and with a heavy hand on smaller competitors? What an astonishing “irony” for a Congress which is so intent on limiting the power of the giant tech companies!

    /sarc

  7. >>serve as a reminder

    serve as a reminder? was the cave you’ve been in furnished?

  8. Big Tech **is** government. Hope that makes it easier for Reason to understand.

    1. it won’t.

    2. Sure. Because Google has the legal authority to throw you in jail or execute you for noncompliance with its terms of service. Uh-huh.

      1. Parks & Rec does?

        1. The lady at the DMV office doesn’t have a badge either. But see what happens if you drive on public roads without a government-approved license.

          By contrast, what happens if you break Google’s terms of service?

          1. “The lady at the DMV office doesn’t have a badge either.”

            Naturally, that means she is not a government worker, and DMV is not a government agency.

            Retard.

            1. The lady at the DMV is enforcing the government’s rules. Break the government’s rules, and men with guns will show up to take your liberty away. Not the sweet lady at the DMV, mind you.

              By contrast, if you break Google’s rules, men with guns don’t show up to take your liberty away. At worst your account is canceled.

              1. “The lady at the DMV is enforcing the government’s rules”

                Jesus fuck you’re an idiot.

                1. Wow, you had no good reply, so you went for the personal insult.

                  1. So, perhaps you can explain. How does the lady at the DMV enforce the government’s rules?

                    Make sure to answer that without reference to any law enforcement agency.

                  2. In his example the officer would be enforcing the law, not the DMV worker dumbfuck.

          2. “The lady at the DMV office doesn’t have a badge either.”

            And if you get into an argument with her, or any other government employee, when the cops show up we know who they’ll be serving and protecting.

            1. When you get your license suspended for being a degenerate alcoholic, yelling at the DMV lady isn’t going to help your case.

              Now fuck off and get back to dodging the CPS case worker, you fucking degenerate. I hope, for her sake, that your daughter is old enough to run away with an older, more succesful man.

              1. You’re the one dodging all those clear statements. You have not yet answered any of them except with insults.

                1. Every single comment of his is an intentional misrepresentation of whatever he is responding to, garnished with a personal attack.

                  He’s goading the person into explaining what was misrepresented.

                  The next comment will be equally dishonest with an insult on top.

                  He is best ignored.

                  1. If you can explain how I was dishonest, in precise terms, I will stop abusing you today.

                2. What clear statements? Idiots like you and cheff always chime in with complaints that people aren’t properly responding to your “reasoned” arguments.

                  What is the argument? Better yet, what was my argument? Do you even know? Did you even bother to read?

                  1. It is amazing watching people fuck up their own examples call them clear statements.

                    1. It’s even more funny watching sarcasmic jump in with his “yea!” on the side lmao

      2. My local public library doesn’t have the authority throw me in jail either; neither does my local fire department, zoning board, or post office.

        Now, tell me — moron — what do all of these various entities have in common?

        You’re so fucking stupid its embarrassing.

        1. You’re right, the public librarian doesn’t have a badge either. See what happens if you don’t pay your property taxes.

          1. You’re an idiot.

        2. Are you all seriously trying to argue that Google is more coercive than your local zoning board?

          1. Is that what I was arguing?

            Moron.

          2. Are you seriously saying Google doesn’t lobby to change regulations?

            As good as your strawman.

        3. No no – wait, I get it. You’re not trying to make a serious point at all, just arguing against me for the sake of arguing because you’re a troll.

          1. BINGO! There is no point in responding to him.

            1. Go cry about it to your ex-wife.

              1. I can’t, there’s a restraining order.

          2. Your position is that any agency or entity without the authority to arrest or jail a person is not a government agency or entity.

            That’s stupid.

            1. Nope, not my position. But, you’re stupid, and a troll, so I don’t expect you to understand.

              1. That is literally and exactly your position. See above, moron.

                1. No, troll. My position is that Google should not be considered on the same level as a government agency because it does not have the same threat of the legal use of coercive force to back up its rules.

                  Once again: DMV lady doesn’t have a badge. But drive without a license, and men with guns show up to take away your liberty.

                  Google exec doesn’t have a badge. But break Google’s TOS, and no men with guns show up to take away your liberty.

                  Why don’t you state clearly why you think Google should be considered on par with a government agency. That is, if you do in fact have a serious point to make.

                  1. “My position is that Google should not be considered on the same level as a government agency …. because it does not have the same threat of the legal use of coercive force to back up its rules.”

                    So, exactly the position I said was your position.

                  2. “Why don’t you state clearly why you think Google should be considered on par with a government agency.”

                    For the record, that was NEVER my position. That was some stupid equivalence you introduced into the conversation to distract from the initial point being made.

                    Take ownership of your non-sequiturs; don’t pin them on others, dumbass.

                    1. So, as a typical troll, you are not going to even defend your position but just attack everyone else for theirs with bad faith argumentation and insults.

                    2. My position is that big tech may as well be the government. Your position is that the only way this can be true is if Google had the power to summon troops at a moment’s notice to jail and kill people.

                      Try again.

                  3. Lawsuits are a coercive force that utilizes the courts dumbass. Just like your DMV example would use the police.

                  4. My position is that Google should not be considered on the same level as a government agency because it does not have the same threat of the legal use of coercive force to back up its rules.

                    Jeffy shows once again that he is a fucking idiot. GoogAmaAppTwit doesn’t need badges or guns. They literally control the servers. They just vaporize your content if they don’t outright steal it. What the fuck is anyone with less than billion dollars gonna do to fight back against those lefty twats? That’s why it takes a nation-state to sue those fuckers. The process is the punishment.

                    Next he’ll tell us to build our own internetz ’cause that’s what a good libsberatarian would do.

          3. BINGO!

            1. Tell us again how Sicknick was beaten to death by a fire extinguisher.

              1. I think I heard he was gang-raped with a fire extinguisher and died of internal hemorrhaging.

      3. What are you talking about?

        Just yesterday armed enforcers from Facebook showed up at my front door demanding that I create an account!

        1. Always about you, huh? Pathological alcoholic narcissist.

        2. We have ways of making you post pictures of your cat!

          1. That’s not the pussy pics I was posting when they banned me…
            What? Is it a crime for a man to be proud of his kid?

            Anyway, to get back to my point, it was the government who sent armed enforcers to my door. Not facebook.

        3. When did the DMV send armed agents? That was your example above.

        4. Well I’ll tell you what — Yesterday armed enforcers from the federal government set me up an account at MetaBank – Money Network Financial LLC a wholly-owned subsidary of Fiserv, Inc.

          Who’s terms and conditions reads, “any term of the Cardholder Agreement, including the Fee Schedule, **may change at any time** but any use of the card constitutes acceptance of the ‘new terms’ or ‘fees’.”

          Talk about a Catch-22! I never even asked to be subscribed to their terms and conditions – the federal freak Power-Mad bureaucrats did without my consent. Now; some LLC, INC will side-swipe and attach fee’s WITHOUT MY CONSENT…

          This is what National Socialism on steroids looks like!

      4. Because Google has the legal authority to throw you in jail or execute you for noncompliance with its terms of service.

        So, as long as slave owners don’t have the legal right to throw people in jail, nobody’s rights have been infringed? As long as rapists don’t have the legal right to execute anyone for noncompliance, they aren’t infringing on anyone’s rights? As long as burglars don’t have legal impugnity to trespass, they aren’t infringing on anyone’s rights? They’re all just private individuals and, for the most part, none of the people I mentioned enjoy(ed) any special section 230 protections *or* government contracts.

        1. Any and all websites enjoy the same uniformly-applied Section 230 benefits. It’s the rare example of a well-crafted law that doesn’t hand out any special privileges to any one class.

          As for contracts, that’s so vague it’s not discussable. What specific government contract with which company?

          1. Try to keep up.

          2. Any and all websites

            law that doesn’t hand out any special privileges to any one class.

            Lol. Except every other industry not on the web dummy. And not even the NYT is exempt. It is a subset of websites that act as hosts. See silk road.

            God damn clown.

          3. “that doesn’t hand out any special privileges to any one class”

            I’m sure that comforts the legacy publishers who get to edit just like Twitter and Facebook but don’t enjoy their special protections.

            You never actually think before you post, do you.

          4. Section 230 is an example of a perhaps well intentioned law where the exception has eaten the rule. Instead of providing a safe harbor for allowing some moderation of truly egregious material, it is providing safe harbor for viewpoint discrimination in supposedly open forums.

        2. Moreover, it is well settled law that private entities or individuals that act in concert with the government or at the behest of the government to violate people’s rights are the government for all intents and purposes.

          1. OK, so bring up a specific case of Google or Facebook or whichever social media company doing that…

              1. OK, I was thinking we were discussing how social media companies are extensions of the United States government, but I guess that was just an assumption on my part.

                After all, all that you said was, “Big Tech **is** government”, so maybe you had the Chinese government in mind when you said that. Fair enough.

                If you are looking for me to defend Google’s record in China, you win. Google and others haven’t always handled well doing business in more oppressive countries.

                  1. I asked about specific examples of Google or whichever site “act in concert with the government or at the behest of the government to violate people’s rights”, and you link to general fears about liberal ideas for Internet regulations.

                    1. I gave you specific examples, and you ignore them. You did not read the articles.

                      This is why you get insulted.

                    2. This is why it’s futile to provide this idiot with cites.
                      He doesn’t want them and won’t read them.

                      He only asks for them because he is stuck for a retort, and hopes you can’t be assed to provide it. If you ignore him he then claims you can’t back up your assertions and treats it as a rhetorical victory.

                1. Are you really arguing they don’t collude with the US government in crafting legislation? That’s what you’re going with? As long as no FB police exist it is fine they buy off senators to push helpful regulations?

                  I knew you were dumb… but God damn.

                  1. “Are you really arguing they don’t collude with the US government in crafting legislation?”

                    Nope, those are words that you just put in my mouth. I would never argue that.

                    1. So, what are you arguing?

          2. Sure, it may be well settled law, but is it superprecedent?

            1. Well, the Second Circuit did rule that Trump’s official Twitter account was actually under government control for First Amendment purposes so ….

              1. OK, so that might qualify as acting “at the behest of the government”, at least as far as Twitter’s handling of that one account. Anyway, and so?

                1. So? So?

                  If you do not see, even in principle, any problem with the fact that government and big tech platforms are working together to erode First Amendment rights, then what is the point of this entire exercise? Why participate in this conversation? You asked for examples and, when provided with examples, responded with with apathetic dismissal.

                  1. “working together”? You just gave an example of a unilateral government imposition on Twitter that Twitter didn’t want.

                    1. “[U]nilateral government imposition …”

                      Seems like you don’t quite understand how the whole intrusive government thing works, eh?

          3. These people have no understanding of corporatism. They are fine with authoritarianism if it is akin to fascism where corporations work in concert with government. It is astounding.

            I just posted an article yesterday about courts colluding with therapists and lawyers to bleed dry parents to tens of thousands of dollars… yet jeff would claim this is not an abuse by the lawyers and therapists. He is an idiot.

            1. It certainly seems to be the case. But don’t you dare call them out on their authoritarian proclivities — because then they’ll accuse you, with a heavy helping of sanctimony, of not being a serious person.

              1. LOL, maybe try not attaching a personal insult to every comment you post.

                1. Try not to prove my point too hard.

            2. “act in concert with the government or at the behest of the government to violate people’s rights”

              Like how you argue Jeff’s side for him.

              1. Sense made? Zero.

          4. correction; It is well settled law that private entities or individuals that act in concert with the government or at the behest of the government to violate people’s rights are criminal effects of “National Socialism”.

            Socialism – When government controls the means of production.

      5. In analogy to your dumb example, if you count the DMV lady as part of the government, google is the DMV lady of course, not the government itself.

        That was actually pretty easy.

  9. Recent legislative efforts should serve as a reminder that the most dangerous threat to Americans’ free speech isn’t tech executives in California” Considering how many big tech people now work for the government I’d say its about equal and now its jsut about creating laws to protect the existing companies and keeping any other idealogy out

  10. The government works with favored companies to carry out censorship.

    It imposes burdens on anyone who tries to “make your own company!”

    …and they looked from Pelosi to Zuckerburg, and from Zuckerburg to Pelosi, and they could no longer tell which was which.

  11. Meanwhile Ebay has apparently banned the selling of the cancelled Dr. Seuss books.

    And you should note that this essentially started when the Biden administration decided the good Doctor should be cancelled.

    Big Tech doesn’t need laws to do the government’s bidding. At least when it’s Democrats in power.

    1. “And you should note that this essentially started when the Biden administration decided the good Doctor should be cancelled.”

      I guess. Biden didn’t mention Dr. Seuss, so I guess that’s cancellation? Maybe.

      1. While the Biden administration got the #DrSeussIsOverParty started,

        Don’t dare argue with reason.

        https://reason.com/2021/03/02/dr-seuss-canceled-books-biden-library/

        1. I don’t have a big snit if Robby happens to write something I don’t agree with 100%. I don’t even necessarily disagree; I’m just saying there is weak evidence Biden left Seuss’ name out intentionally.

          1. So, you’re saying Biden is senile?

            1. If this was his insurrection narrative he’d be slamming far more disparate pieces of evidence together than that.

  12. This is a stupid argument because the tech companies do the bidding of the feds and democrats, and also clearly make choices that skew left wing.

    We are run by oligarchs who are amoral billionaires and the aristocrat bootlickers in government and media.

    1. This is what the lefty fifty-centers are all dancing around and trying to ignore. That the Democratic Party is who’s giving the tech companies their censorship orders.

  13. Your problem is that you still think there is a sharp line between the two. When in reality they fuck so hard every day now that it’s sometimes to tell them apart. Actually, they have really, really hard gang bangs with the press as well.

    1. Edit: *Sometimes hard to tell them apart. Apparently everything is hard about this comment.

      1. AlphabetAmazonAppleDNC. The beast with multiple backs.

    2. The press is a big threat to free speech, because much of it think that free speech should only apply to their professional class who promote the conventional wisdom narrative,

  14. Government, Not Big Tech, Is the Biggest Threat to Free Speech

    Why can’t it be both? It’s looking more and more like there’s some coordination going on here between the state and the “private sector”. Almost one of those “public-private partnerships” touted by pseudo-libertarian think tanks over the past decade or so.

  15. I’m sorry, but I have to disagree here.

    Government *and* big tech are equal threats to free speech – just fr different directions.

    Sure, government can shoot you to ensure the preferred narrative is the only one people here – big tech will just shut you down.

    From the perspective of ‘chilling speech’s, how much difference is there?

    1. +100

  16. Government, Not Big Tech, Is the Biggest Threat to Free Speech
    Yeah but not really. Government censorship is likely to be prohibited by the courts. Big tech censorship not so much. As a practical matter big tech is a greater threat. Until the Democrats pack the court of course.

  17. If you look at China, the Government controls big tech, and thereby inhibits free communication. In Myanmar, FACEBOOK shut out the Military from their site, so big tech can go either way. Big Tech is really not that powerful; GOOGLE NEWS doesn’t carry Uighur Persecution headlines, but BBC does.

    If you go back to the pre-internet/social media age, we had much less free speech in the sense that we had far fewer avenues to sound off. We have more ways to receive information and more ways to speak out than ever before.

    If you go back 50-60 years, Cuomo would have never been outed in front of the entire Country for sexual advances. Can you imagine JFK using his position to get Mimi Alford to have sex with him, getting away with it in today’s climate?

    We have lots of problems, but insufficient free speech is not high on the list.

  18. All of this is but a side-effect of the ever growing National Socialism in the USA.

    The federal government is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO powerful today; they make a telephone call and the sitting president gets erased from existence. They have policy is everything so much that any threat rightfully *scares* everyone.

    The federal government was NEVER meant to have so much authority / persuasion and only by years and years of growing Gov-Gun forces OVER its people (i.e. Tyranny) has it’s demands been taken so seriously. If there is to be any ‘better’ future it will come at restricting and cutting-off the power of the federal; it won’t come by more power of the federal doing another ‘fix-it’ job.

  19. Nobody is preventing anyone from saying any dumb shit thing they want to say. Nobody is even capable of doing that, especially the United States government. People are more free to get their message out, for free, than any human in the history of the universe could ever have hoped to expect.

    You’re whining that your favorite lies are getting challenged by your community. And that extremely wealthy interests can’t buy the government in secret. What’s even the point of being this terrible?

    1. I’d say President Trump would disagree with your entire first paragraph.

      Guess what? Facebook and Twitter isn’t ‘my community’ and their censorship of Trump at the request of Democratic Politicians isn’t ‘my community’ either.

      But nice try at deceitfully painting your lefty narrative in your land of delusions.

      1. The president of the united states can’t be canceled (except by an election). He has a press briefing room with a bunch of cameras in it.

        1. Camera’s that are apparently at the whim of Democratic Politicians finger-tips.

          1. Maybe try less whining and more thinking. Tell your friends.

  20. https://twitter.com/ksorbs/status/1367566084954607618?s=19

    Name a single time in history when the group fighting to censor speech and ban books were the good guys.

    1. But you have the actual Nazis on your side.

      1. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; The biggest trait the left has is PROJECTION.

        Lefty, “We support National Socialism but you guys are Nazi’s.” lmao…

        1. It’s almost as funny as listening to people lobby for SKIN-COLOR based *entitlements* while calling everyone else a racist…

          Conclusion: Power-Mad people end up basic cognitive mental disorders and just to stamp on another example; Continuing to scream about global-warming in the middle of an Arctic Freeze-out.

          How to fix full-on STUPID?

        2. You are woefully confused about the terms you are using.

          The defining characteristic of the Nazi regime was not its social welfare state. On the contrary!

        3. The problem we face is the bigotry of those unwilling to consider counter arguments to their world view.

          Censorship. Cancel culture. Anyone.

          People who consider the arguments that refute the holocaust narrative aren’t terrified by the term Nazi.

  21. “Government, Not Big Tech, Is the Biggest Threat to Free Speech”

    The headline leaves open the possibility that Big Tech is a threat to free speech. If so, should that threat be ignored because Government is a greater one? What about when one faction controlling government pressures Big Tech into suppressing speech that faction does not like?

  22. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D–N.Y.) said, “Let me tell you, I think it’s a good thing when somebody is trying to influence government for their purposes, directly with ads and everything else, it’s good to have a deterrent effect.”

    Of course cash paid directly to us is okay.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.