(Some) conservatives for social media regulation

“It was quite something to hear Republicans sounding like Elizabeth Warren on a trust-busting bender, but it is difficult to take seriously the proposition that what’s at work here is concern about monopoly power, Supreme Court precedents, or anything of the sort: This is about friends and enemies, and Republicans have decided that Silicon Valley is the enemy.” [Kevin Williamson, National Review] “Trump allies propose nationalizing Facebook, Google data” [Jason Tashea, ABA Journal] And see John Hinderaker, PowerLine, on a tape showing Google employees disappointed by the results of the last election (“Break them up under the Sherman Act? Turn them into regulated public utilities, with public employee-level salaries and no stock options? Those are all possibilities.”) Related: Thomas Hazlett, “Making the Fairness Doctrine Great Again,” Reason, March.


  • Reasonable that if they are exempt from liability as a common carrier, they should also be required to be an open forum (as they advertise)? I am not a fan of regulation of the open market, but they shouldn’t get to have it both ways.

    Also, as an aside, I think there is a breach of implied contract. Youtube, for example, allowed people to build a business and then shut down the business after it became a going concern because of unspecified violations of terms of service. Since they refuse to tell you exactly what caused the suspension but rather provide a link to the general terms of service, it is impossible for businesses to comply. Add that to significant and clear violations that are NOT shut down, it does appear that these are politically motivated (and I know that there are examples on both sides but the more egregious ones appear to be on the conservative/libertarian leaning side, such as freedomainradio and Prager U. Not, of course, talking about nuts like Alex Jones, but rather thoughtful individuals debating using facts and logic).

  • Governments make them liable for content, then complain that they moderate their content. If it weren’t for DCMA they could have competitors. And they are not a common carrier, the FCC got rid of that for all ISP’s. And information services were never common carriers, they have always been able to moderate content, that’s why they aren’t considered a publisher even when they choose to moderate, to permit them to do compliance without legal liability.
    Are they leftist? Seems so. Is that legal? If Nike can run their current campaign which is leftist, then why not Alphabet? And the government pushes them to not provide access to russian propaganda or ISIS/ISIL recruiting, so obviously the first amendment isn’t required to remain in business. Show me where printing true information is against the law. Show me where illegally obtained information is illegal to print. If I have a place that displays movies, I can still decide which movies I allow to be shown. And it’s not like TSA tells you what law you violated or even why they aren’t allowing you on that plane, and they’re actually the government… So just saying you violated our terms of service, although not real customer friendly, is more clarity than even the government provides in some cases.
    Lastly, I think it sucks, but rather than regulating google/youtube/alphabet and/or facebook and/or twitter if it’s so important to the government that people have a commons on the internet, then let them provide that politically neutral, open to all comers site. Beats the heck out of spending that much or more money trying to force a private company to do it.

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