SALT LAKE CITY Sen. Mike Lee used his new Parler account to tout the fight hes picking with Google, Facebook, Twitter and Squarespace over how each internet platform moderates content in general, and potentially targets conservative voices
Somehow, Im willing to be(t) this will get more likes and shares on Parer (sic) than it will on Facebook and Twitter combined. In any event, I picked a big fight today with Google, Facebook, and Twitter, Lee posted to his @SenMikeLee Parler account Thursday evening.
Parler has emerged as the social media darling of some conservative U.S. politicians and commentators, and Lee has even worked to pump up the platform by issuing an invitation to President Donald Trump to join the party. Ironically, that invitation was proffered on Twitter, where the president enjoys a follower list north of 80 million accounts.
Not surprisingly, Parler was not one of the addressees of Lees letter Thursday that instead went to the CEOs of Google, Facebook, Twitter and Squarespace.
Lee, who earlier this week announced the Senate antitrust committee he chairs will host a hearing focused on Google and its online advertising practices, said he is most concerned with company conduct he believes is based on political bias rather than consistent, across-the-board content policies.
I am specifically concerned about corporations wielding their power unilaterally to silence opinions they dislike, and thus warp the public debates their platforms present to the American people, Lee wrote. In recent years, conservative voices like The Federalist, PragerU, President Trump, Sen. Marsha Blackburn, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Donald Trump, Jr., churches, religious groups, Christian schools and others have found themselves deplatformed, demonetized or otherwise penalized for expressing their opinions.
Lees concerns mirror some lines of questioning that arose during a House antitrust hearing this week that featured the CEOs of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google.
During that virtual hearing, Congressman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio reeled off a list of instances of purported censoring of, or content warnings issued to, conservative social media posters.
Jordan accused the group of tech executives of selectively censoring those expressing politically conservative opinions and cautioned them that If it doesnt end, there have to be consequences.
Lee issued his own admonishment of big tech companies and the power he says theyre using inappropriately.
I view your heavy-handed censorship as a sign of exactly the sort of degraded quality one expects from a monopolist, Lee wrote. In any other business you would never dream of treating your customers the way you treat those with views you dont like.
In another Parler post on Thursday evening, Utahs senior senator linked to a story posted by right-wing website Breitbart News claiming Google has been censoring the outlets content from search results since the 2016 election. Attached to the post was Lees comment, This is not ok, and it has to stop.
In his letter, Lee also called out tech leaders for their roles in taking down video content that circulated earlier this week that showed what was characterized as a press conference by a group calling itself Americas Frontline Doctors.
CNN reported that the video, which had not been viewed by the Deseret News, was published by Breitbart News and included a quote from a woman claiming to be a doctor who said This virus has a cure, its called hydroxychloroquine, zinc, and Zithromax, and You dont need masks, there is a cure.
Lee declined to take a position on the content of the video, but said he supported a social media arena of open dialogue.
While Im not in a position to endorse or refute any of the doctors comments, I believe that we should err on the side of encouraging more speech, not less, Lee wrote.
The heart of the letter goes to 11 questions seeking details of how each of the platforms manages content moderation in the stipulated areas of COVID-19; violent riots and how they are distinguished from peaceful protests; hate speech; protections of the unborn; misinformation; and terrorist influence.
The questions include how content standards are established, the scope of processes designed to screen moderators for bias, whether user consent about content moderation is appropriately established, if platforms coordinate with each other on content moderation and other issues.
Deseret News requests for comment via email and social media direct messaging to Google, Facebook, Twitter and Squarespace were not immediately responded to.
While Lee rattled the saber of bringing antitrust regulations to bear on the behaviors of U.S. tech monoliths, Sen. Mitt Romney struck a somewhat more measured tone in comments he made Thursday at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing.
I know theres great interest, sometimes politically, to go after some of the big tech companies, Google, Amazon and so forth and Facebook, and berate them for their market power, Romney said. And if they violate American antitrust laws, why, thats totally appropriate.
But I would note that were in a global competition. And China has been successful in driving a lot of Western companies out of business. Theyve not been successful in driving companies like these out of business. These are thriving and succeeding. The last thing we ought to be doing is trying to knock down businesses in the United States that are succeeding on a global stage.
Romney referenced the U.S. dominance, thus far, of China when it comes to innovation industries but cautioned against overreach when it comes to the companies that have solidified the countrys current high tech upper hand.
So, we need to be careful not to flex our muscle to berate those entities that are successful and are beating China, Romney said. Alibaba would like to replace Amazon. TikTok would like to replace Instagram. It just an area of concern.
Contributing: Dennis Romboy
- Facebook and Google accused of complicity in Vietnam censorship - Financial Times - November 30th, 2020
- Censorship or conspiracy theory? Trump supporters say Facebook and Twitter censor them but conservatives still rule social media - USA TODAY - November 30th, 2020
- In India, a Clash of Digital Innovation and Internet Censorship - CoinDesk - Coindesk - November 30th, 2020
- Censored Planet: University of Michigan research finds worldwide increase in internet censorship - WSWS - November 30th, 2020
- Twitter claims it has reversed ban of link to Sidney Powell's Georgia election lawsuit - Fox Business - November 30th, 2020
- Jeanine Pirro Thinks Big Tech is Censoring Her Text Messages - Mediaite - November 30th, 2020
- Censorship In The Biden Era - OpEd - Eurasia Review - November 30th, 2020
- California Voter: Social Media Censorship Is Trying to Make Us Give Up - The Epoch Times - November 30th, 2020
- Ex-Employee Confesses! Behind-the-Scenes of Google Censorship - The Liberty Web English - November 30th, 2020
- The attempt to censor Jordan Peterson shows the intolerance of the social justice generation - Telegraph.co.uk - November 30th, 2020
- PlayStation Reportedly Censoring PS5 Users on Twitter - ComicBook.com - November 30th, 2020
- Ted Nugents Wife Shemane Targets Instagram For The Recent Censor But She Puts It Again On Instagram To Find A Solution For Free Speech - Metalhead... - November 30th, 2020
- Censorship - Wikipedia - November 28th, 2020
- What Is Censorship? | American Civil Liberties Union - November 28th, 2020
- What is Censorship? - National Coalition Against Censorship - November 28th, 2020
- Censorship on social media? It's not what you think - CBS News - November 28th, 2020
- 'Welcome To The Party, Zoom': Video App's Rules Lead To Accusations Of Censorship - NPR - November 28th, 2020
- ICANN Can Stand Against Censorship (And Avoid Another .ORG Debacle) by Keeping Content Regulation and Other Dangerous Policies Out of Its Registry... - November 28th, 2020
- Ted Cruz digs in for congressional battle over censorship on Twitter, Facebook - Houston Chronicle - November 28th, 2020
- Censored Planet: University of Michigan research finds worldwide increase in internet censorship - WSWS - November 28th, 2020
- In India, a Clash of Digital Innovation and Internet Censorship - CoinDesk - Coindesk - November 28th, 2020
- Twitter claims it has reversed ban of link to Sidney Powell's Georgia election lawsuit - Fox Business - November 28th, 2020
- The Dangerous Inversions of the Debate Around Trans Censorship - The New Republic - November 28th, 2020
- Carter Estes: Effort to ban Trump officials from Harvard is a dangerous attack on free speech and education - Fox News - November 28th, 2020
- Meet the Censored: Andre Damon - WSWS - November 28th, 2020
- The attempt to censor Jordan Peterson shows the intolerance of the social justice generation - Telegraph.co.uk - November 28th, 2020
- Donald Trump says Twitter censorship is a national security issue - Washington Times - November 28th, 2020
- In hybrid online-offline format, theatre fest explores the Unexpressed, censorship of womens bodies and artistic collaborations - The Indian Express - November 28th, 2020
- PlayStation Reportedly Censoring PS5 Users on Twitter - ComicBook.com - November 28th, 2020
- Was this censorship?: Noam Chomsky, Vijay Prashad ask Tata Lit Live after it cancels their discussion - The Hindu - November 28th, 2020
- Tata Lit Fest cancels a discussion between Noam Chomsky and Vijay Prashad, raising concerns of censorship - Frontline - November 28th, 2020
- Barcelona members strike back vs. Bartomeu: What does 'motion of censorship' mean, and what's next? - ESPN - September 18th, 2020
- What the *, Nintendo? This in-game censorship is * terrible. - EFF - September 18th, 2020
- Social media censorship in Egypt targets women on TikTok - The World - September 18th, 2020
- Trumps Partial TikTok And WeChat Ban Tip-Toes Into Chinese-Style Censorship - Forbes - September 18th, 2020
- Judd Apatow Criticizes Hollywood's Censorship For International Market: China Has Bought Our Silence With Their Money - Deadline - September 18th, 2020
- Bangladesh in the Shadow of Censorship The Diplomat - The Diplomat - September 18th, 2020
- Why is the government pushing unprecedented online censorship? - Telegraph.co.uk - September 18th, 2020
- Not Content to Censor Conservatives, Zuckerberg Now Seeks to Meddle in Election - National Legal and Policy Center - September 18th, 2020
- New Alliance to Track and Fight Censoring of Conservatives - CBN News - September 18th, 2020
- Reading the Evolution of Censorship and Sedition in India - The Wire - September 18th, 2020
- China's Influence on the Global Human Rights System - Human Rights Watch - September 18th, 2020
- China Isn't Hiding the Border Tensions With India From Its Public Anymore - The Diplomat - September 18th, 2020
- Call Trumps Attacks On The 1619 Project What They Are Censorship of American History - Forbes - September 6th, 2020
- Facebook is bringing an updated content censorship term for its users from October 1st - Digital Information World - September 6th, 2020
- Will Joe Rogan Have The Guts To Call Out Spotify For 'Censorship'? - CCN.com - September 6th, 2020
- Joe Rogans Spotify move condemned by fans over right-wing censorship claims - The Independent - September 6th, 2020
- Shadow banning and its role in modern day censorship - Cherwell Online - September 6th, 2020
- Apple reacts to censorship censure - Mobile World Live - September 6th, 2020
- TunnelBear Circumvents Iran VPN Block, Launches 10GB Monthly Offer in the Country - Business Wire - September 6th, 2020
- Facebook is changing its Terms of Service, and users are not happy - Windows Central - September 6th, 2020
- End the blacklist of the World Socialist Web Site on Reddit! - WSWS - September 6th, 2020
- Kahle: Upholding the public trust - The Register-Guard - September 6th, 2020
- Science protections must be enforceable | TheHill - The Hill - September 6th, 2020
- Reddit isnt happy about President Trumps anti-censorship executive order - Reclaim The Net - September 6th, 2020
- Forget TikTok. Chinas Powerhouse App Is WeChat. - The New York Times - September 6th, 2020
- The shaky upcoming national election environment can be fixed - JNS.org - September 6th, 2020
- Kyle Rittenhouse lawyer Lin Wood threatens to sue Twitter over censorship - Reclaim The Net - September 4th, 2020
- Finding human territory in a fractured world - The Tech - September 4th, 2020
- We dont believe in censorship: Controversial Aboriginal commentator to lead WA festival amid fear of backlash from Noongar people - WAtoday - September 4th, 2020
- How WeChat Censored the Coronavirus Pandemic - WIRED - August 28th, 2020
- Voter Advocacy Orgs Sue Trump Administration for Executive Order Threatening Social Media Censorship - EFF - August 28th, 2020
- Kuwait eases censorship laws after banning 5000 titles in last 7 years - The Indian Express - August 28th, 2020
- Buffy's Amber Benson on censorship, the musical, and Tara's death - digitalspy.com - August 28th, 2020
- Kuwait relaxes book censorship laws after banning thousands of titles - The Guardian - August 28th, 2020
- Film and Publications Amendment Act: Protecting, not censoring, our citizens in the digital age - Daily Maverick - August 28th, 2020
- Chinas wrath on Hong Kong is causing artists to self-censor - Reclaim The Net - August 28th, 2020
- Here are 5 excuses liberals have put forward in defence of modern day book burning, and why it makes them look like total morons - OpIndia - August 28th, 2020
- Jessie and Austins aunt vs TikTok the debate around censorship of Bodies in the Suitcase video - HITC - August 28th, 2020
- Artists Ai Weiwei and Fang Fang's depictions of the Wuhan lockdown - DW (English) - August 28th, 2020
- A Radioactive Plague: The secrecy and censorship surrounding civilian deaths from World War II - Milwaukee Independent - August 10th, 2020
- Censorship on the internet in 2020: The potential effects of TikTok - Film Daily - August 10th, 2020
- Wicker: Time to address online censorship - The Vicksburg Post - Vicksburg Post - August 10th, 2020
- Open Technology Fund Authorization Act - BORGEN - Borgen Project - August 10th, 2020
- The Logic of a US WeChat Ban - The Diplomat - August 10th, 2020
- Ben Domenech Clashes With Joe Trippi Over Censorship Of Trump's Social Media - The Federalist - August 10th, 2020
- German Analysis Institute Regrets Censorship of a Professional Science Assertion - The Shepherd of the Hills Gazette - August 10th, 2020
- China Is Upgrading Its Great Firewall And Can Now Censor Even More Content - News18 - August 10th, 2020
- Twitter censors all links to BitChute - Reclaim The Net - August 10th, 2020
- Fear of Authoritarian Regimes Is Pushing the Film Industry to Self-Censor - Foreign Affairs Magazine - August 10th, 2020