Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) wants to end Big Tech censorship.
On “Fox & Friends” Friday, Graham announced that Twitter and Facebook’s censorship of The New York Post’s Hunter Biden story this week was “the beginning of the end” of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects social media companies from being sued because of content posted (or blocked) there.
Big Tech tries to bury Biden story
Both Twitter and Facebook limited users’ ability to share or post the link to the story, claiming that it was unverified and based on “hacked” materials. Twitter locked more than 30 accounts for trying to share the story, including a Trump campaign site that had more than 2.2 million followers.
As of Saturday, the Post’s Twitter account still appeared to be locked down. The Post said Friday that Twitter is demanding that they delete six tweets related to the Hunter Biden report before the account will be unlocked.
In fact, the Post made clear that the report was not based on “hacked” materials — the emails were found on a laptop computer which was left at a computer repair shop by a person believed to be Hunter Biden. A copy was eventually given to Rudy Giuliani, who released them to the Post. At least one of the explosive emails that suggested Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden was involved in Hunter Biden’s China dealings has been verified by another person in the email chain.
In contrast, Twitter and Facebook recently declined to block a seriously negative report about President Donald Trump in The Atlantic that relied solely on anonymous sources.
More than 20 sources went on the record to dispute the report, and none of the anonymous sources ever went on the record to corroborate it. The Atlantic editor eventually admitted that publishing the story had been a mistake, but the damage was already done at that point.
Graham thinks taking away liability protections will force social media companies to be more unbiased in the stories they limit to avoid getting sued by those they harm with their bias.
“These social media companies have a lot of control over our lives,” Graham said. “I think they’re a threat to democracy. When you can shut down the flow of information, when you can censor what millions of Americans would see, that’s a threat to democracy…”
Will removing liability protection make social media fairer?
Getting rid of Section 230 is supposed to make social media fairer to both sides, but I’m not convinced it will do so. I’m sure Facebook and Twitter do not want to be sued by everyone that isn’t happy with their slant, but let’s face it: their lawyers will probably be a lot better than most people’s because they have billions of dollars at their disposal and the vast majority of other companies and individuals don’t.
While the big guys may get a little more fairness, the little guys will be outgunned as usual. Still, Graham thinks it’s a necessary step to dismantling the left’s monopoly on the Twitterverse. “This is the beginning of the end of Section 230, liberals don’t like it, conservatives don’t like it. My mission in life, if I come back to the Senate, in the next session, is to eliminate Section 230 liability protections for social media companies,” Graham said.
I hope it works because elections and our democracy as a whole could hang in the balance.