Senator Ted Cruz added his voice to the voices across the left-right spectrum that are calling for a use of federal antitrust laws to break up the “massive power” of giant companies that “subvert our Democratic process.”
Cruz (R-TX) was responding to Joel Pollack’s question on Breitbart radio about the challenge of “censorship of conservatives” on Facebook and across the broader internet landscape.
Once more, the Daily Business News underscores the noteworthy point of the rising voices that are calling for more regulation – or an outright breakup – of giant conglomerates. You don’t get much more left than Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA), or more right than Senator Ted Cruz.
President Trump has pointed to specific companies, like Amazon, and concerns over monopolistic practices.
Cruz on Tech Giants and “Censorship”
Breitbart reports that Cruz said, “I think, number one, the growing power of tech to censor speech is a profound threat. We’re seeing now some two-thirds of Americans are getting their news through social media, and these tech companies are hard-left. They are are partisan Democrats, and what we’re seeing is they’re amplifying the views they agree with, those of liberal Democrats, and they are suppressing the views of conservatives. They are blocking conservatives.”
Its noteworthy that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg told Congress that the Silicon Valley tech giants have a reputation for being left-leaning. So Cruz’s concern is not hyperbole, when Zuckerberg admits the reality.
Industry CEO Segues Implication of Monopolies for Housing Industry
In a comment to MHProNews, “If unfettered access to the internet is important — and it is — then full access to affordable home ownership, within a fully competitive market, is even more important, as it serves a basic and essential human need,” said Mark Weiss, President and CEO of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR).
MHARR is non-partisan, and represents the interests of independent producers of HUD Code manufactured housing.
MHARR is one of several voices in manufactured housing that have directly or obliquely raised concerns about monopoly power, and how it impacts the manufactured housing industry.
Back to Cruz – Scope of Power “Unprecedented”
Cruz said, “The scope of the power is truly unprecedented. You think back to the heights of yellow journalism, when publisher William Randolph Hearst controlled much of media and in fact got America into the Spanish-American War. These tech companies have power William Randolph Hearst could never have imagined.”
“The ability, if there’s a view they dislike, simply to silence it so that if you put a post out there, if you put a tweet out there, it simply goes into the void, into oblivion, and no one sees it. Likewise, they have the ability, if there are views they want to promote, to just have everything on your feed be the views they want to promote. That is invidious. It is invisible, and it is profoundly dangerous,” stated Cruz.
Cruz proposed exposing technology firms to libel lawsuits to curb their political manipulation of the availability of information on their platforms.
Responding to Pollack’s question, the Texas senator said, “Now your question is a hard one and a good one. What remedies are there? I would say there are principally two.”
“Number one, the question I asked Mark Zuckerberg, the opening question was, ‘Does Facebook consider itself a neutral public form?’ He danced around and refused to answer that. The reason the question matters is much, is under current law, Facebook and other tech companies have immunity from liability, so if someone posts something on their site, they can’t be sued for it, and it’s under what’s called the Communications Decency Act, section 230. The entire reason Congress enacted section 230 was under the assumption these tech sites would be neutral public forums, [that] they would allow people to be speaking. So the reasoning was, we’ll protect you from being sued because it’s not you speaking, it’s somebody else. Well, if Facebook and the other tech companies are going to choose instead to be partisan political speakers, they have a right to do that. They’ve got a First Amendment to become and to be partisan political speakers, but there’s no reason on Earth they should get a special immunity from liability from Congress.”
Cruz also floated the use of antitrust laws to curb technology companies’ power.
He said, “A second remedy is considering using anti-trust laws. By any measure, Facebook is larger and more powerful than Standard Oil was the antitrust laws broke it up. It’s larger and more power than AT&T was when antitrust laws broke it up and given that, I think we need to have serious consideration about the massive power we’re seeing of these tech companies to subvert our democratic process.” ##
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