Democratic legislators are demanding Facebook, Google and Twitter to increase censoring of content that promotes what they call "misinformation and extremism" or face stricter regulation through legislative changes.
The de-platforming and censoring of former President Donald Trump following the January 6 riot at Capitol Hill has angered a number of conservatives and Republican leaders and have increased friction between Democrats and Republicans. Now, Democrats are pushing to force Big Tech to increase censorship to fight what they call "misinformation and extremism" in their platforms.
In a virtual congressional hearing held Thursday, House Energy and Commerce Committee and Democratic Representative Frank Pallone of New Jersey targeted Big Tech companies, accusing social media platforms of promulgating the spread of what the Democrats believe is "misinformation" by those who they have branded as "extremists," CBN News reported.
Rep. Pallone, who wants more legislation to increase censorship on Big Tech, argued that the pressure from the market or the public will not force such social media companies to "take the aggressive action they need to take to eliminate this information and extremism from their platforms."
He said, "It's time for Congress and this committee to legislate and realign these companies' incentives. Today, the law gives these companies and their leaders a blank check to do nothing rather than limit the spread of disinformation."
The 69 year-old New Jersey representative is also taking issue with Big Tech for profiting off the presence of what they believe are extremist websites and voices rather than doing their share in censoring such sites and messages on their platforms.
Democratic Representative Mike Doyle of Ohio backed Rep. Pallone, saying that Big Tech media platforms "haven't done enough to rid the internet of voices that don't totally go along with governments' views," the CBN News report said.
It's worth noting that Christians and conservatives are now labeled by the Left and mainstream media as "extremists."
Doyle's comments seem to echo what socialist Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez said earlier about the "need" to "rein in" media sources with "differeng opinion" allegedly promoting "disinformation." The effort, however, is focused more on being "investigatory" than "truth and reconciliation."
The representative, known as AOC, didn't provide concrete examples as to what she labeled as "disinformation." It's interesting to note, however, that mainstream media such as CNN and the New York Times were able to spread lies against former President Trump without getting called to account.
The New York Times reported that during the virtual hearing on Thursday, Democrat legislators threatened to rescind the liability protection in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a 1996 legislation that protects online platforms from potential lawsuits that may spring from their user's posts.
Chief executives of Google, Facebook and Twitter agree that it is "a foundational law of the internet," but Democratic lawmakers have been itching to remove such legislation to persecute Big Tech.
"Without Section 230, platforms would either over-filter content or not be able to filter content at all," Sundar Pichai, the Chief Executive of Google's parent company, Alphabet, argued, saying that such legislations enables them to combat "harmful misinformation" and those who promulgate it.
Republican Representative Bob Latta, who is also the House Energy and Commerce Republican Leader for Communications and Technology Subcommittee, expressed his concerns over Big Tech operating their businesses in a "vague and biased manner, with little to no accountability" and using Section 230 to hide behind against real-world consequences of their negligence.
"Your companies have the power to silence the President of the United States, shut off legitimate journalism in Australia, shut down legitimate scientific debate on a variety of issues, and dictate which articles or websites are seen by Americans when they search the Internet," Rep. Latta argued.
He accused Big Tech of serving the "radical progressive agenda" by "influencing a generation of children and removing, shutting down, or cancelling any news, books, and, now, even toys that aren't considered 'woke.'"