The Tech Giants might be in for a little regulation if President Trump and his administration’s top attorney, Jeff Sessions (shown), get their way.
The threat has been hanging in the air for weeks, with Trump’s repeated criticism of Google and its industry brethren for their open leftism and hostility to conservatives. Conservatives say they’re being censored. The Tech Titans say they aren’t.
An antitrust probe and regulation might be coming. The question: Should the Tech Giants, given their size and power, be regulated like utilities?
The latest on the move came Thursday, when the Justice Department invited even more states to participate in a big pow wow on September 25 to discuss the matter.
As The Hill reported, “Attorney General Jeff Sessions planned the meeting to discuss what the DOJ calls a “growing concern” that some tech companies are ‘hurting competition and intentionally stifling the free exchange of ideas on their platforms.’”
Those remarks came as reps for Big Tech — Facebook’s headmistress Sheryl Sandberg, and Twitter’s top tweeter, Jack Dorsey — testified on Capitol Hill about foreign agents using their platforms, with Dorsey defending himself against accusations that his company routinely mistreats conservative users.
A spokesman for DOJ told The Hill the agency “formally sent invitations to a bipartisan group of twenty-four state attorneys general that expressed an interest in attending the meeting hosted by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.”
Last month, Trump told Bloomberg that Google and the other high-tech firms might be in an “antitrust situation,” which might imply a move by the government to break them up as it did ATT, the phone company, many years ago.
Funny thing is, for all Trump’s complaints about Google and its political bias, he defended the company when the European Union nailed it with $5 billion antitrust fine because its Android software, which powers 80 percent of the world’s smartphones, maintains Google’s iron grip on Web searches.
Big News on the Tech Front
The news about DOJ’s expanding their list of invitees to the meeting comes after a two-week hurricane of news about the high-tech giants, much of which focused on their censorship of conservatives.
Just this week, we learned that Google tried to push Latinos into voting for Hillary Clinton, while Twitter censored the Center for Immigration Studies for using the term “illegal alien,” a move the platform reversed.
We also learned that Google dumps a whole lot of money into Democratic candidates.
Last week, Apple tossed Alex Jones’s Infowars app off iTunes, and before that, had stopped carrying his broadcasts. Twitter permanently banned the popular conspiracy retailer because of his squabble with CNN’s Oliver Darcy at the hearing where Sandberg and Dorsey appeared. Darcy waged a one-man war to get Jones removed from social media, publicly badgering, for instance, Facebook executives about it.
While Twitter chief Dorsey admits his company is leftist, he denies censoring conservatives even though the company is repeatedly caught censoring conservatives. The move against CIS was just the latest example. In July, the platform was caught rigging search results against conservatives, another bit of cyber-sorcery it had to reverse.
Meanwhile, Trump accused Google of rigging its search results, noting in a tweet that a search for Trump on Google returned mostly left-wing attacks. After that, Trump’s economy czar, Lawrence Kudlow, floated the possibility of regulating these massive companies. Given that Google controls more than 90 percent of all web searches, manipulating results could dramatically alter what a user sees and as well affect material he is trying to promote.
In July, PragerU, a conservative web program, caught Facebook censoring its posts, noting that nine straight posts reached no viewers. Facebook apologized, explaining that “a large number of users flagged the PragerU posts as inappropriate.” In other words, if enough leftists complain about an organization’s material, the censors swing into action without much effort to find out whether the material is offensive by any reasonable standard. The standard is how long and loud the left squeals.
Biased Against Conservative Employees
But aside from rigging search results, banning conservatives or censoring their material, the tech giants also take action against ideological deviationists they employ. James Damore was an engineer at Google until it fired him for writing a memorandum that challenged the behemoth’s leftist political superstitions.
At Facebook, a group called FBers for Political Diversity has upset the Orwellians running that company.
Photo of Jeff Sessions: Gage Skidmore