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Maybe Now Congress Will Rein In The Tech Lords

McConnell Home Protest
Twitter locked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s campaign account Wednesday for posting a profanity-laced video of protesters hurling threats toward the Republican Senate leader’s Kentucky home.

According to reporting by POLITICO, McConnell’s campaign manager, Kevin Golden, confirmed the account was locked “for posting the video of real-world, violent threats made against Mitch McConnell.” The video featured a clip from a recent protest outside McConnell’s home in Louisville, where participants held signs that read “Massacre Mitch.”

The Twitter hashtag #MassacreMitch was allowed to trend and numerous threats of violence against the Republican Senate Majority Leader were posted to Twitter – but just to be clear – the Twitter account that was frozen was the account of the VICTIM, who was tweeting the evidence of the threats against him.

Golden slammed Twitter over its decision, which he said the campaign unsuccessfully appealed. He said the company informed the campaign the account will remain locked until the video is deleted.

“This is a problem with the speech police in America today,” Golden said according to reporting by Cristiano Lima and Alexandra S. Levine. “Twitter will allow the words ‘Massacre Mitch’ to trend nationally on their platform. But locks our account for posting actual threats against us.”

In response, reported James Arkin, President Donald Trump's campaign and the major, national Republican campaign committees announced Thursday they will stop spending money to advertise on Twitter after the social media platform locked Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s account for posting a video of violent threats against him.

“Twitter’s hostile actions toward Leader McConnell’s campaign are outrageous, and we will not tolerate it,” said Jesse Hunt, a spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. “The NRSC will suspend all spending with Twitter until further notice. We will not spend our resources on a platform that silences conservatives.”

Richard Walters, the chief of staff of the Republican National Committee, said in a tweet that the RNC and the Trump campaign will also not advertise on Twitter "until they address this disgusting bias." Parker Poling, the executive director of the National Republican Congressional Committee, also said the House campaign arm would follow suit in a tweet of her own.

Meanwhile, reported Arkin, Senate Leadership Fund president and CEO Steven Law told POLITICO the top pro-GOP super PAC for Senate races would pull its spending on Twitter due to the company's "unfair treatment" of McConnell.

It is all fine and good and long overdue that the GOP leadership is finally figuring out that you don’t feed your enemies – but the money they are talking about is a rounding error to these giant tech companies.

What is really needed is serious, sustained and vigorously executed litigation and enforcement action of anti-trust and Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) provisions, among other potential regulatory action.

Tech companies have been claiming Section 230 immunity when they are clearly in violation of its “platform” provisions – yet neither the Justice Department nor Congress has chosen to act.

Likewise, tech companies have routinely engaged in anti-competitive behavior to stifle the entry of competing social media platforms, but once again, the Justice Department has failed to even investigate what look like clear anti-trust violations.

If Majority Leader McConnell is serious about ending the mistreatment of conservatives via social media bias and censorship, he should fast track Senator Josh Hawley’s (R-Mo.) Ending Support for Internet Censorship Act, a major update to the way big tech companies are treated under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

Sen. Hawley’s legislation removes the immunity big tech companies receive under Section 230 unless they submit to an external audit that proves by clear and convincing evidence that their algorithms and content-removal practices are politically neutral. Sen. Hawley’s legislation does not apply to small and medium-sized tech companies.

“With Section 230, tech companies get a sweetheart deal that no other industry enjoys: complete exemption from traditional publisher liability in exchange for providing a forum free of political censorship,” said Senator Hawley. “Unfortunately, and unsurprisingly, big tech has failed to hold up its end of the bargain.

“There’s a growing list of evidence that shows big tech companies making editorial decisions to censor viewpoints they disagree with. Even worse, the entire process is shrouded in secrecy because these companies refuse to make their protocols public. This legislation simply states that if the tech giants want to keep their government-granted immunity, they must bring transparency and accountability to their editorial processes and prove that they don’t discriminate.”

We think Sen. Hawley is on the right track, but CDA reform isn’t the only vehicle for reining in the Tech Lords, it is also long past time for a serious anti-trust investigation.

The toll-free Capitol Switchboard is (1-866-220-0044), we urge CHQ readers and friends to call Majority Leader Mitch McConnell today. Tell Senator McConnell now that he has experienced it firsthand, isn’t it time to rein in the monopolistic social media companies and end their discrimination against conservatives? Tell him the best way to start is to fast track Sen. Josh Hawley’s Ending Support for Internet Censorship Act.

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About Face! Part II

Competing platforms run by conservatives need to be offered so we can take our data and our monies with us. Any company facing a 50% loss of clients will be in trouble. Let's make it happen. #AboutFace!