The release of the Twitter Files will go down as a defining moment in the history of Big Tech. These internal files, aired in recent weeks with the permission of Twitter’s new CEO Elon Musk, confirm Twitter’s long history of bias against conservatives. The documents show that Twitter used “shadow bans” to suppress content they disagreed with, created double-standards for conservative users, and invented a pretext to suspend Donald Trump’s account while he was still President. These explosive revelations show the enormous power that a handful of liberal tech executives have over our public discourse.
We should be grateful that new leadership is lifting the hood on Twitter, but Congress needs to follow up with wider investigations into Big Tech companies, including Facebook and Google. Americans deserve to know the full extent of tech bias and corruption that is impacting our country.
Left-Wing Groupthink Leads to Censorship
Much of the rot at Big Tech companies comes from the sheer lack of viewpoint diversity among their staff. These companies are overwhelmingly left-wing. During the midterm elections, for example, more than 99 percent of all political donations from Twitter employees went to Democrats. This extreme one-sidedness is reflected in people like Yoel Roth, Twitter’s former “Head of Trust and Safety,” who censored the New York Post’s reporting on Hunter Biden and likened members of the Trump Administration to Nazis. These Silicon Valley executives are out of touch with the rest of the country and are inclined to treat dissent as a form of heresy, often accusing conservatives of “hate speech.” It is not hard to see how this rigid groupthink led to bias against conservatives, which continued through much of 2022.
Earlier this year, the popular Christian satire site The Babylon Bee was suspended from Twitter for making a joke about transgenderism. A government official from Spain was locked out of his account for pointing out that “a man cannot get pregnant.” A Missouri Congresswoman, Vicky Hartzler, was suspended after she tweeted: “Women’s sports are for women, not men pretending to be women,” a comment that supposedly violated Twitter’s policy against “hateful content.” And as we now know from the Twitter Files, Stanford professor Dr. Jay Bhattachayra was shadow-banned on the platform simply for raising doubts about COVID policies. Meanwhile, Twitter never lifted a finger to suspend left-wing accounts associated with Antifa, a domestic terror group, or world leaders who openly threaten violence.
Time to Investigate Big Tech
We live in a big country where people hold a wide range of views and convictions. This diversity makes it all the more vital that we protect free speech. Big Tech has shown that it cannot be trusted to do so. Congress now has an obligation to act on behalf of the American people and bring transparency and accountability to these public platforms.
Some lawmakers have been fearful of investigating these companies, citing the fact that they are free enterprises operating in a free market. What this fails to recognize is that these massive companies wield unprecedented power over our nation. Google’s search algorithms determine what information we can find online. Facebook sells personal data to other companies, essentially turning millions of Americans into products. And decisions made by Twitter almost certainly affected the outcome of the 2020 election. All the while, these companies continue to enjoy special protections under the law that other businesses do not have. Congress needs to roll back those special carve-outs, as I sought to do with legislation when I led the Senate Commerce Committee. I look forward to supporting more of these efforts in 2023.