Republicans have recently made headlines related to their vocal opposition against “Big Tech” censorship. “Big Tech” refers to the power technology companies—Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Alphabet— who have significant power in the dissemination of information. Although a bipartisan issue, Democrats and Republicans disagree on how to mitigate their power.
Both sides of the aisle agree that Big Tech has harmful monopoly power that is hurting the American people.
The House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust released a blockbuster 449-page report laying out the case for why each company holds monopoly power, back in October. The report also highlighted ways that Congress can minimize their power through a rewriting of rules.
Although it began as a bipartisan effort, the two sides are actively fighting over next steps, leaving little confidence that any major regulations will be made soon.
Here is where the two sides stand.
The Republican Side
Republican committee members are adamant that Big Tech is primarily censoring conservative viewpoints, especially Facebook, Twitter and Google advertisements in Youtube videos.
In October, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany was locked out of her Twitter account, after sharing a post about Hunter Biden written by the New York Post. The New York Post tends to lean more conservative and is the fourth most circulated paper in the country.
McEnany initially vowed to refuse Twitter’s demand that she delete a link to The Post’s article in exchange for regaining her account. But her absence from the platform 19 days from the election sidelined her ability to share overtly political messages, according to the New York Post.
Facebook argues otherwise, exposing data how conservative messages and viewpoints are are “almost always” the most popular viewpoints on the platform. Regardless, Republicans have been slamming Democrats for not taken these concerns into the report.
Senator Ted Cruz has especially been vocal on the issue.
“Big tech has made a conscious decision they don’t want to be the town square anymore or protect your free speech rights, or my free speech rights. Instead, big tech is, I believe, drunk on power. They are getting more brazen,” said Cruz.
Republicans also are not in agreeance with the Democrats’ recommendation for making progressive changes to antitrust law that could ultimately lead to a breakup of some of the companies.
The Democratic Side
According to CNBC, there is a lot of optimism on the Democratic side that legislation based on their recommendations in the report will go through. Representative Pramila Jayapal expects there will be “significant legislation” on the matter within the first three to six months of the incoming Congress.
In their report, the Democrats found that Apple has monopoly over software distribution on the iPhone, Amazon bullies its third-party sellers, Facebook uses its power to defeat any potential competitor and Google has complete dominance over all online searches.
Obviously, each company vehemently denied all allegations.
Meeting in the Middle
Even if the reformations from both sides look different, both parties have stapled harsh reputations to each company, that will carry for the decades to come. Overall, the Republicans want to stop the censorship, while Democrats are emphasizing antitrust regulation and changes.
Republicans and Democrats agree that they must provide more funding for agencies like the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission to police potential practices by the Big Tech. Since each company has virtually unlimited money to combat investigations and lawsuits, the more funding allocated to these agencies will give them a better chance to push back.
As American people, we can expect that any regulation to come will most likely be from regulation agencies, as opposed to a divided Congress.