Rep. Devin Nunes has expressed deep concern over the rising threat of “tech oligarchs” at Twitter, Facebook and Google censoring conservatives in an effort to suppress free speech and push a leftist agenda.
In an interview with Breitbart News, Nunes, who is suing Twitter right now, said that tech companies have gotten away with bias against conservatives for years because of a special “carveout” in federal law.
Breitbart.com reports: “Well, in general, I have a real concern overall about what I call the ‘tech oligarchs,’” Nunes said. “But Twitter has been the worst, especially to me. So if you look at what they’ve done, specifically to me, is they enforce their rules selectively. So I’m arguing they’ve operated their property negligibly. They’ve been negligent with the operation of their property, and they’re actually content developers. They have had it their way for a long time by having this ability to get out from lawsuits because Congress has actually carved out a special provision in law for them because they were supposed to be an open square—an open public square; they’re the Internet. So they’re not treated like someone like, say, some other kind of product would be treated like a car, for example, or a kitchen appliance. They’ve had this special carveout for 20 years.”
Especially since President Donald Trump was elected in 2016, Nunes argued, the tech giants have warped their products into pushing a certain ideology rather than being open platforms.
“Now, what has happened in the last two or three years, especially since President Trump was elected, is they now no longer are—it’s not an open square where people can just go on there and say whatever they want,” Nunes said. “They now are regulating the content, and they’re deciding how to regulate the content—and it’s clearly biased against conservatives. So we are looking at them for operating their property in a negligent way, and then we’re suing others for defamation. Look, this is not the way I want to go about it, especially for someone like me. I don’t like going to have to use the court system, but it’s really the system of last resort. And that’s where I’m at. If you go right now—don’t do it because I don’t use Google, and I don’t ask people to use Google—but if you did, you’d find hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of fake news stories about me. The only way I can clean all this up is to have multiple retractions done by the defamers and the slanderers. This often goes back to the Russia hoax investigation that I ran, and we uncovered a lot of mischief, to say it politely.”
Nunes said the solution to this problem would be “easiest” if the tech companies went back to being open platforms on their own, but he does not have any confidence they will do so.
“What’s the easiest—I’m going to tell you the easiest way that this can all be solved. However, I’m going to tell you that this is not going to happen,” Nunes said. “I’ve run out of patience. This is just not going to happen, and then we’ll go to what are the solutions out there. The easiest way, I believe, to solve this—especially for Twitter and Facebook, who have already done some of this—is just get out of the content development business. Just say, ‘Look, we’re just like it used to be. We’re an open square. The only way we’re going to come in is if there is breaking of a federal or state law,’ and police it that way, kind of like when somebody calls the police: You go in. You check it out. If there’s child pornography or foul language or something that may be against the rules there that they have, then great, then take the tweet down. As it relates to Google, just stop the bias. If Matt Boyle gets Googled 50,000 times—a story that you do on Breitbart gets Googled 50,000 times—and the Washington Post story is 20,000, then Matt Boyle’s story should be first. It’s really simple. It’s really, really simple for them to solve this problem. But I have no faith that they’re going to get out of the content development business. I think they’re in it.”
Nunes also said he believes the Democrats talk about regulating or holding tech companies accountable only as a “fake threat,” meant to intimidate them into becoming subservient to the left’s agenda.
“I think when you see the Democrats talking about going after these companies, that’s a fake threat,” Nunes said. “They’re doing that to basically warn them that you better do what we want. You better make sure that Democrats and leftists and all of our causes are put at the top. You better make sure that anything Breitbart reports or Epoch Timesreports—they’re the latest one—it disappears. And that’s what’s happening.”
Given that Democrats are in the majority right now in the House of Representatives, Nunes said, there is “nothing” that Congress can do to combat the tech giants until after the 2020 election. That’s why Nunes is suing Twitter in a Virginia state court, seeking to hold the company accountable and putting himself forward to do so, given that he has been the victim of smears, lies, fake accounts, and inaccurate attacks.
“So I am very concerned. You ask what can be done. The answer right now is nothing can be done because Nancy Pelosi controls the House, and she is going to ensure that nothing happens to these companies as we sit right now,” Nunes said. “So it’s going to have to be word of mouth, through conservatives and through Republicans, and we’re just going to have to overwhelm them. Hopefully, someone will come up with a better search engine. But I think that’s going to be very difficult. So what does that leave? It leaves the court system. I’m in the best position to do it because I’m one of the ones who’s been most slandered. So hopefully, the courts will step in, right? If I can win one of these cases, it will really set these guys back. If the Covington school kids can win a case, that would set them back. So I think between defamation laws and treating these tech companies what they are, which is property, this is going to be the fastest and only way to solve it before 2020.”
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