Two lawmakers apparently eager for congressional reform of Big Tech clearly have different goals, as Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) pushed to protect free speech from pro-censorship Big Tech, while Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MI) called for more censorship.
Both lawmakers appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Jan. 1 to discuss proposed regulation of Big Tech. While Gallagher called for more focus on algorithmic regulation, Klobuchar claimed that making it possible for social media to be sued for not censoring “misinformation” is a step that should be taken.
Sen. Klobuchar went on to call Section 230 “archaic” and whined that Big Tech’s lobbying could kill congressional legislation. Section 230 protects internet companies from being sued for what users post and prevents companies from being sued if they decide to remove content. “Right now in the United States of America, these companies have basically started dominating our thought processes,” she said.
Klobuchar mocked the idea of social media being the new town square and thus speech made there being protected by the First Amendment on NBC. Regarding Section 230, the senator claimed that Big Tech companies have become communications companies. “You can amend it and focus on certain kinds of speech misinformation, disinformation. And all you’re saying is, ‘We know people are going to put stuff on your alleged town square,’ which has become really a communications company,” Klobuchar rambled.
“They are a publisher,” Klobuchar insisted with more passion than grammar. The senator tried to claim the size of the companies precludes their immunity, but ignored the fact that it is Big Tech’s size and inexorableness that makes it much like the digital town square. Klobuchar did not mention that the government has already worked with Big Tech to censor online.
Gallagher, on the other hand, pushed for more algorithm transparency but saw Klobuchar’s proposals as encouraging social media to increase censorship by more “proactively” removing content. They did agree on one thing. “I do think more transparency around the algorithms is necessary. And I liked what Senator Klobuchar was saying on that front,” Gallagher said.
Gallagher has spoken out against the dangers of Big Tech before. The representative called Chinese social media app TikTok a national security risk. He told NBC host Chuck Todd it would be dangerous for the Chinese Communist Party to “control what is on the cusp of becoming the most powerful media company in America.”
Gallagher ultimately offered a different solution than Klobuchar, “I think a better framework might be, mandate data portability across platforms so you’re able to bring your network to whatever platform has the best content moderation policy and best transparency that you like.” He said he’s open to conversing more with Klobuchar on tech regulation, and emphasized individual responsibility.
“When it comes to our kids, the government can’t raise your kids, can’t protect your kids for you,” Gallagher explained. “I have two young daughters. It’s my responsibility to raise them into healthy adults. But there are certain sensible things we can do in order to create a healthier social media ecosystem.”
Conservatives are under attack. Contact your representatives and demand that Big Tech be held to account to mirror the First Amendment while providing transparency, clarity on so-called hate speech and an equal footing for conservatives. If you have been censored, contact us using CensorTrack’s contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.