Big Tech social media platforms – are mostly focusing on the wrong things.
They all seem myopically fixated upon de-platforming anyone on the Right. Engaging in massive censorship – in the fake name of addressing “fake news.”
Big Tech’s wanton abuse of conservatives – is a wanton abuse of the legal protections afforded them by Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act:
“They choose to identify as either ‘platforms’ or ‘publishers’ – depending upon which better defends what they’re doing at that moment….
“Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act immunizes online platforms for their users’ defamatory, fraudulent, or otherwise unlawful content. Congress granted this extraordinary benefit to facilitate ‘forum[s] for a true diversity of political discourse.’
“This exemption from standard libel law is extremely valuable to the companies that enjoy its protection, such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter, but they only got it because it was assumed that they would operate as impartial, open channels of communication – not curators of acceptable opinion.”
Big Tech serving as “curators of acceptable opinion” – always means a whole lot less conservatives allowed to offer any opinions at all.
In fact, Big Tech abuses Section 230 in all sorts of ways:
“The Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2017 would amend Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) to hold websites liable for publishing information ‘designed to facilitate sex trafficking.’
“Until now, Section 230 has shielded internet companies from criminal liability based on user conduct….
“The bill stems from a two-year inquiry by the homeland security subcommittee into classified advertising website Backpage.com.
“According to the report that followed the investigation, Backpage.com knowingly facilitated online child sex trafficking on the “adult” section of its website.
“It did this by filtering the text of advertisements to delete keywords like ‘rape,’ ‘amber alert,’ ‘little girl’ and ‘lolita’ before posting them to conceal the true intent of the ads.
“Backpage.com did not remove these ads or report them to police.”
And if counterfeit and illicit drugs are your thing – Section 230 makes Big Tech the place for you too.
On social media platforms galore you see an obvious illicit drug marketplace. Using simple advertising hashtags such as such as #oxy, #percocet, #painkillers, #painpills, #oxycontin, #adderall and #painrelief.
“Even as top executives from Facebook and Twitter Inc., which has also long struggled with posts offering drugs illegally, promised this month during a congressional hearing that they were cracking down on sales of opioids and other drugs, their services appeared to be open marketplaces for advertising such content.”
Of course, when you’re buying fake drugs – you’re getting fake drugs:
“The results of these counterfeit fillers can be disastrous – causing severe reactions or in the worst case, death. These kinds of sales are happening both in private group chats as well as hiding in plain sight.
“The National Consumers League has been calling out the dangers of buying drugs from illegal online sites for years. Products that purport to be authentic FDA-approved drugs may actually be counterfeits with the wrong amount (or none) of the active pharmaceutical ingredient.
“There is no assurance that the medications have undergone the proper handling required by federal law.
“Some counterfeits include toxic substances or heavy metals. In fact, the FDA issued warnings to multiple online pharmacies. All of these sales are illegal and present obvious and significant health risks to U.S. consumers.”
And of course, illegal drugs – are illegal.
“Online platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have become ground-zero for drug sellers to connect with buyers.
“This illegal marketing, diversion, and access exposes the public to risk and thwarts programs and interventions to counter the addiction crisis.
“Drug dealers and illegal online pharmacies take advantage of the convenience, anonymity, and broad reach of these platforms to promote counterfeit and illicit narcotics.”
How does Section 230 provide Big Tech narcotic cover? Glad you asked.
“Section 230 is also tied to some of the worst stuff on the Internet, protecting sites when they host revenge porn, extremely gruesome videos or violent death threats. The broad leeway given to Internet companies represents ‘power without responsibility,’ Georgetown University law professor Rebecca Tushnet wrote in an oft-cited paper….
“‘Section 230 has turned into a Teflon shield, not to protect free speech but to protect business revenue.’”
No matter how awful and illegal the businesses.
Some in Washington, D.C. – are finally paying attention.
“Said it was meant to aid good Samaritans, not shield bad actors.”
Some members of Congress – are also turning their attention.
I don’t think we should immediately leap to the end of the line – revocation.
But Congress absolutely should ask the Big Tech companies for detailed information – on their efforts to prevent their platforms from being used as mass illegal drug sales venues.
We need to know what they’re doing – if anything. And press them to do more – and work with them to achieve better outcomes.
And who knows? Forcing Big Tech to pay more attention to their drug problem – may lead them to leave us free speaking conservatives a little more alone.
Ok – probably not.
But a man can dream, can’t he…?
This first appeared in Red State.