Censorship: Don’t Regulate, Litigate
by Brent Regan
There is much talk about regulating the SVMOTUs (Silicon Valley Masters of the Universe) for their censoring the free speech of conservatives. I am fundamentally opposed to additional government regulation both from the policy perspective of not giving government additional powers and from a practical perspective in that the probability of government improving the situation is essentially zero.
On the flip side you have a HUGE monopoly which is wielding its power in a perceptibly unfair manner. Arguments that the free market will eventually break the monopoly are not credible as the barriers to entry are massive. Any nascent platform would be crushed or subsumed by the ubiquitous giant.
SVMOTUs lobbied and received protections from the government against being sued for libel arguing that they do not supply the content and therefore cannot be held responsible. This “we are just a utility” argument is now crumbling because now they are filtering content to the extent that the “product” is significantly different than the “input”.
If you own a bridge upon which red and blue cars cross and you decide not to let blue cars use your bridge then you have stopped being a bridge provider and started being a content provider even though you don’t make red cars. Gold miners don’t make gold, they just filter out the “not gold” from the stream of gravel. The essence of providing any product is that you start with a raw material and then modify it in some way. As a producer, you are responsible for your product.
It is time to remove the protections against litigation and let the free market regulate the SVMOTUs with legions of attorneys.
The standard would be easy to set as it already exists. Our basic right of the freedom of speech is limited in that you cannot advocate for the direct harm of another person. If a platform restricted speech beyond that basic limit then they should lose their liability shield because they have stopped being a platform and started being a supplier.
Protections should remain if the platform allowed speech that someone somewhere found offensive. This would create the situation where allowing speech is incentivized over censoring speech.
It is time to allow the free market to regulate SVMOTUs.
-Brent Regan is the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee Chairman
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