It’s Time For Congress To Get Serious About Big Tech’s Threats To Individual Rights
The heads of Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Apple will make their way to Capitol Hill Wednesday to appear before the House Antitrust Subcommittee. For conservatives, the hearing presents an opportunity to question the powerful companies on a host of topics, including allegations of bias. Bias is a serious area of concern with Big Tech, but it’s hardly the only one.
Conservatives have alleged for years that these companies exhibit a bias against conservative points of view despite the fact that entities like Facebook and Google constitute a “global town square” and see themselves as key facilitators of free expression. This allegation has only grown louder as conservative members of Congress were shadow-banned.
Numerous platforms have doubled-down on censoring President Trump and his supporters while leaving other accounts acting in similar ways unmolested. Twitter seems to use an internal blacklist while denying they do so, and Google has responded reflexively to mainstream media demands to de-platform conservative news sites while also appearing to have temporarily suppressed conservative writers in their search results.
The issue is certainly fair territory for members of Congress to investigate and tech behemoths should provide far more transparency. But viewpoint bias is just one concern in a sea of others, and conservatives will waste a tremendous opportunity if they focus solely on the issue of bias. Here are some other areas they should use this hearing to examine.
Using Market Power to Crush Innovation and Competition
In a January field hearing, the antitrust subcommittee heard testimony from small tech businesses who recounted in detail how Apple, Facebook, Google, and Amazon were “wielding their massive footprints as weapons, allegedly copying smaller competitors’s features or tweaking their algorithms in ways that put new companies at a costly disadvantage.” Or, in the words of Patrick Spence, head of the speaker company Sonos, the platforms “leverage dominance in one market
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