Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita is launching an investigation of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google & Twitter for censoring conservative content. The investigation is designed to find out whether these corporations, “have potentially harmed Indiana consumers through business practices that are abusive, deceptive and/or unfair.”
Rokita said in a press release,
In particular, Attorney General Rokita is probing methods by which the companies have limited consumers’ access to certain content — often deleting or obscuring posted material reflecting a politically conservative point of view. Such manipulation prevents consumers from making informed choices, Attorney General Rokita said.
“In a free society, few assets are more important to consumers than access to information and the opportunity to express political viewpoints in meaningful forums,” Attorney General Rokita said. “It is potentially harmful and unfair for these companies to manipulate content in ways they do not publicly discuss or that consumers do not fully understand.”
In addition to Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Twitter, Attorney General Rokita is also investigating alleged actions taken by attorney Vanita Gupta to encourage the companies to censor conservative viewpoints.
Gupta, who is President Joe Biden’s nominee to be associate U.S. attorney general, has allegedly met with Facebook and Twitter executives to urge “more rigorous rules and enforcement,” to use her own words as quoted in Time. Gupta, according to the Time article, stressed that it was important for social media platforms to be “tagging things and taking them down.”
Much of the debate around these issues has centered on section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 and whether tech companies that censor content for political reasons are protected platforms that aren’t responsible for what their users say or non-protected publishers that are responsible for it. Intriguingly, in a decision earlier this week, Justice Clarence Thomas suggested regulating these online firms like utilities. Of course, Thomas also noted another key point:
“A person always could choose to avoid the toll bridge or train and instead swim the Charles River or hike the Oregon Trail. But in assessing whether a company exercises substantial market power, what matters is whether the alternatives are comparable. For many of today’s digital platforms, nothing is.”
This cuts to the real heart of the matter, which is that these corporations have become overly powerful monopolies that have far too much control of what information gets seen in America and what information doesn’t. The ultimate solution to these problems is breaking up these monopolies. However, in the interim, Todd Rokita deserves to be applauded for taking on these companies and if he decides these corporations are wronging the citizens of Indiana by engaging in political discrimination, that’s a position that deserves support from conservatives.
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This content was originally published here.