By Roger L. Simon for The Epoch Times
By now every person awake, as opposed to “woke,” knows the dangers of Big Tech.
Through algorithmic manipulation, de-platforming and other noxious off-shoots of the tyrannical cancel culture these companies are changing history, reversing freedoms hard won since the Magna Carta, while having an unconscious numbing effect on our brains that eventually would render us a race of drones.
Something has to be done.
The federal government seems to be able to do no more than hold hearings. Those that might actually want to do something, like Sens. Hawley and Blackburn, are thwarted by the Democrats who, though they pay lip service to privacy concerns, have no real interest in biting the hand that both feeds and promotes them. (It also feeds lots of Republicans.)
The solution, as it does for most things these days, resides with the states, if they can ignore or reject those munificent campaign contributions.
The first steps, as they frequently are these days, have been taken by Florida governor Ron DeSantis.
In mid-February, the governor announced “The Transparency in Technology Act” to “check the growing power and influence of Big Tech,” whom he accused of looking more like “Big Brother with each passing day.”
The proposed legislation “includes protections from capricious changes to platform terms of service, requires platforms to tell users why their accounts are suspended or terminated, and requires that algorithmic bias on behalf of a candidate be disclosed as a campaign finance contribution.”
That could add up, depending on how you compute it. Moreover, de-platforming a political candidate, in his legislation, would cost the companies $100,000 a day (lunch money for these guys, but still…)
Also, Floridians could opt out of content algorithms altogether in the proposal. (Imagine—they’d have to make up their minds themselves about what was important… without any help from @jack.)
Makes sense, doesn’t it? But why should this only be for Floridians? Why not all of us, at least most of us?
All Red States should be working on similar legislation NOW. (Excuse the faux pas of using upper case but they should have started long ago.)
They should follow the lead of Gov. DeSantis, use his legislation as a template, refine it, add to it, communicate with each other about it, come up with even better versions (quickly, please) but, most of all, enact them. Do it.
Trump won more than half of the fifty states in 2020, even if you don’t include Georgia, Arizona and several others that remain iffy.
That’s a lot of states open to enacting similar legislation if their leadership could get it together. But why wait for them? Everyone should be on top of their local politicians to move forward with this.
This is at the very heart of our existences, unless you really want to live in “1984” with Mark Zuckerberg and his successors as your Big Brothers. With very few exceptions, we all use the internet almost as much as we breathe, like it or not. And our children often use it more. Our children’s children, if not before, will have it implanted in their bodies.
Will they be, in any sense, autonomous beings?
Google, Facebook, et. al. will have an army of high-priced lawyers the size of India prepared to block this kind of legislation, huffing and puffing they are private companies. (Yes, we know. So was the phone company. They got regulated.) No doubt they’re already doing it. But if they have to deal with attorneys general of a few dozen states, all acting more or less at once, they may have to make some accommodation.
The good news is this is already happening. Last week, Texas Governor Greg Abbot announced S. B. 12 which, in Abbot’s words would “prohibit social media companies from censoring Texans based upon a Texans’ viewpoints.”
Arizona and Minnesota, of all places, are also moving on this.
Where’s your state? Get on it. Or, as Mao would put it, “Let a hundred flowers bloom, Let a hundred schools of thought contend [on social media, without censorship].”
Roger L. Simon is an award-winning novelist, Oscar-nominated screenwriter, co-founder of PJMedia, and now, editor-at-large for The Epoch Times. His most recent books are “The GOAT” (fiction) and “I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If It Hasn’t Already” (nonfiction). He can be found on Parler as @rogerlsimon.