Panelists Urge Government Resist Getting Involved in Content Moderation – BroadbandBreakfast.com

Posted: April 15, 2022 at 1:17 pm

WASHINGTON, April 14, 2022 Vint Cerf, a vice president and chief internet evangelist at Google, warned against government moderation of content on the internet during a panel event last week, as Washington focuses on addressing the power of big technology platforms.

Deliberate government censorship is almost never helpful because it inhibits the ability of the population to learn things it should know and needs to know, said Cerf at the April 6 Broadband Breakfast live event, which discussed internet censorship.

While Cerf is adamant that the government should not play a role in online content moderation, he is also not an advocate for company censorship either.

Censorship by companies is not necessarily any more attractive, except that its forced on many of those companies, including mine, partly because we impose those terms and conditions in the hope of shielding people from harmful behavior or we are induced and provided with incentives to do that because if we dont do that there will be fines that are inimical to business, Cerf said.

My sense is that were going to be forced to cope with some form of censorship whether its self-censorship or some kind of censorship imposed by legislative rule, added Cerf. My primary desire is to maximize the utility of the internet and do whatever we can to minimize its harmful abuse.

Fellow panelist at the event, Berin Szoka, president of tech lobbyist TechFreedom, echoed Cerfs point saying, The best answer is for the government to stay out because in the United States, it is simply not a proper thing for government officials to get involved in how content is moderated.

The discussion comes as debate swirls in Washington about what to do about big tech platforms and market power. The Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission have been tasked by President Joe Biden with enforcing antitrust laws that includes addressing monopoly power and businesses practices perceived as anticompetitive.

Szoka was quick to dismantle Bidens antitrust approach at the Wednesday event. This is not an antitrust issue; it cant be an antitrust issue, he said. Antitrust is about regulating business practices, not editorial judgements. There are a lot of people who want to make this an antitrust issue on both sides of the aisle.

Republicans want revenge against big tech platforms for perceived bias and Democrats want somehow for antitrust law to do something about abstract values like diversity in media, or human rights, or whatever and these are simply inappropriate things for competition law to address, he added.

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Panelists Urge Government Resist Getting Involved in Content Moderation - BroadbandBreakfast.com

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