Publisher's Note: One of the most significant things you can do to promote Liberty is to support our mission. Please make your gift to the 2021 Year-End Campaign today. Thank you! —Mark Alexander, Publisher

Harold Hutchison / September 17, 2018

What Should Conservatives Do About Silicon Valley?

Existing laws cover much of what’s going on. All it takes is the will to enforce them.

There’s a huge debate going on about Silicon Valley on the right side of the political spectrum. Social media companies and other tech giants are clearly taking sides on political disputes — against conservative outlets. This has led to a few calls for government regulation of the tech giants in the name of protecting free speech.

On the one hand, Silicon Valley has become very powerful. Apple is worth more than $1 trillion in market cap, with Google not far behind. Facebook and Twitter have immense reach across the world. Apple or Google software is on nearly every smartphone. But conservatives have long supported the free market and are rightly suspicious of government regulation, especially when it comes to abusive enforcement.

But there are some lines that should be enforced. A free market requires competition, and both Apple and Google have already flexed their muscles in an anti-competitive direction. A year ago, Google banned Gab.ai, a competitor to Twitter that stood for free speech, on the grounds that it promoted hate speech. Apple had already done so in December 2016, citing those same grounds.

Thus, it may be a case of anti-competitive collusion. The exclusion of Gab.ai on the spurious grounds of “hate speech” goes further than Microsoft ever did in the “browser wars” of the 1990s, and that company had to fight the Clinton-era Justice Department to remain intact after it won a pretty fair competition over Netscape. Incidentally, Microsoft’s browser, Internet Explorer, itself was passed by Firefox, Chrome, and Safari, over the years. Gab.ai is another case where the Anti-Trust Division of the Justice Department can and should step in.

In a similar vein, the November 2016 tape of a Google staff meeting raises legitimate questions about the company, as does Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s admission that conservatives don’t feel safe speaking out at his company.

Under Section 230 of Title 47 of the United States Code, an interactive computer service is immune from liability for information provided by other users. On the flip side of that, once a site starts blocking content or taking on any editorial role, it becomes liable for defamation claims. This is something that could be looked into as well — if the principles of a free and open debate won’t convince these companies to not censor conservative voices, perhaps the potential of legal liability for defamation that comes with losing Section 230 immunity will.

There is another avenue as well — one that may be unconventional, and given some free speech implications, more controversial. Social media companies proclaim they support free speech for all. But then some conservative groups, like Prager University on YouTube, are demonetized or censored for “hate speech.”

Meanwhile, as conservatives have their funds cut off for making conservative arguments, flagrant abuse against conservative figures is permitted or slowly rebuked. When CJ Pearson was called the N-word for standing up for American troops, Twitter took days to act, and NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch likewise put up with heinous abuse that went unpunished for days. That’s if the companies bother to act at all. The unequal application of abuse policies may warrant a closer look by the Federal Trade Commission for unfair or deceptive trade practices. Every business should be held to those laws.

Here’s the thing — we don’t need new regulations or laws to deal with Silicon Valley’s recent actions. Existing laws cover much of what’s going on. All it takes is the will to enforce them, not only to ensure even-handed application of company policies, but also to create the conditions for a fair competition for alternative viewpoints.

Start a conversation using these share links:

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!

★ PUBLIUS ★

“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2021 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.