House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) spoke out on Sunday night to reveal the “framework” that he argued to House Republicans would help to stop Big Tech companies from engaging in censorship and silencing of conservatives.
McCarthy Sends Letter To Republicans
McCarthy sent out a letter to Republicans in which he laid out the framework that was a response to a series of antitrust bills which last week passed the House Judiciary Committee with largely Democrat support but also some Republicans, most notably Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO).
“Just days before the 2018 primary election, Google search results for ‘California Republicans’ identified our ideology as ‘Nazism,’” McCarthy wrote. “At the same time, conservatives like Devin Nunes and Donald Trump Jr. were shadowbanned on Twitter. For pro-life groups like Live Action and others, the discrimination wasn’t subtle at all.”
“Since then, the examples of conservative censorship and bias across internet platforms has proliferated,” he added. “Each one of you are all too familiar with how Big Tech and its overwhelmingly liberal executives want to set the agenda and silence conservatives. But Big Tech doesn’t just have a free speech problem. It has an anti-competition problem too.”
McCarthy Targets Google
McCarthy particularly zeroed in on attacking Google in his letter.
“Over 90 percent of search happens on Google and 90 percent of users drop off after first-page results,” he wrote. The ability to stack the deck protects the willing participants of the scheme and punishes the non-compliant. The same gatekeeper effect lies with Amazon and Apple. If your company or product doesn’t meet the criteria of corporate wokeism, it’s increasingly likely Americans won’t find it on these platforms.”
“Today’s Big Tech behemoths were once the gold standard of entrepreneurism and innovation,” McCarthy continued. “They took on incumbents, created new services, and transformed what our economy looks like today. Innovation and competition is what makes a free economy stronger, and ultimately, our lives better. But Big Tech’s idea of competition today is corrupted.”
“Big Tech wants higher corporate taxes because companies like Amazon know it’s the entrepreneurs and disruptors who will have to pay more to try to compete,” he added. “Apple, Google, and Amazon use their platforms to tip the scales towards higher fees and their growing product lines. And just about every big technology company has experience copying products or businesses they are unable to acquire.”
McCarthy Doubles Down
McCarthy went on to praise the antitrust lawsuit filed by the Department of Justice against Google during former President Donald Trump’s administration, but he added that is not enough and Congress needs to act.
“The Trump Administration wisely commenced antitrust action against Google last October, but more can be done and Congressional action is warranted,” McCarthy said. “For the sake of preserving free speech and a free economy, it’s time Big Tech faces the music. House Republicans are ready to lead. This week I will join Ranking Members Jim Jordan and Cathy Rodgers to roll out a framework to stop Big Tech based on three principles.”
The three principles are “accountability,” “transparency,” and “strengthening anti-trust review.” Under the “accountability” section, McCarthy said he wants to end Section 230 protections for Big Tech, saying that the House GOP framework “would rein in Big Tech and end their abusive practices, including by changing the law so that Americans can challenge Big Tech directly for their infringement of public speech rights.”
“This effort starts by taking away the liability shield Big Tech has hidden behind for far too long,” he wrote. “Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act would be changed to limit liability protections for moderation of speech that is not protected by the First Amendment and would preclude Big Tech from discriminating against Americans based on their political affiliation. We would also require regular reauthorization of Section 230 so Congress may update regulations of the constantly-evolving internet landscape.”
Under the “transparency” part, McCarthy explained that he wants to help conservatives in their fight against Big Tech censors.
“Our framework would empower Americans by ending Big Tech’s ability to hide behind vague terms of service that have not constrained their conduct in any meaningful way,” McCarthy wrote. “We will do so by mandating that any Big Tech content moderation decisions or censorship must be listed, with specificity, on a publicly available website.”
“In addition, by requiring Big Tech to implement and maintain a reasonable user-friendly appeals process, our plan will empower conservatives and others whose speech rights have been infringed to challenge Big Tech’s attacks,” he continued.
As for the final section of his plan, McCarthy wants to strengthen anti-trust laws.
“Our framework also recognizes that the status quo and bureaucratic delays are not acceptable when it comes to bringing long-overdue antitrust scrutiny to Big Tech,” McCarthy wrote. “We will provide an expedited court process with direct appeal to the Supreme Court and empower state attorneys general to help lead the charge against the tech giants to break them up. We will also reform the administrative state and remove impediments that delay taking action on Big Tech power.”
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