Congress add an exemption to the Communications Decency Act of 1996 for “Big Tech” companies that as long as they acted only as a platform, and not a publisher (like a newspaper or a news network) then they would be exempt from being held responsible for anything that appeared on their platform meaning, they couldn’t be sued for something an individual posted. How times have changed. Now it seems that these platforms, including Facebook and Twitter have all but admitted they are in fact publishers because they decide what information, by a user, may or may not be dissemenated on their platforms.
Not that they’re refusing to allow content on their sites that may be illegal (like child pornography) but what appears, at first glance, to be legitimate news stories from established news outlets. I’m certain they are not exempt under the law by becoming de facto editors of content on their platforms. So it comes to no surprise to anyone when one or more of these platforms decide that there’s news that’s not fir to print because, well, we said so.
What is the motto of the Washington Post? Oh yeah, Democracy Dies in Darkness, which must be deliberate humor on their part because this newspaper throws more shade on their readers than an eclipse, daily. But they’re not exempt from being sued over what they publish if it’s determined that the information contained in the piece is deliberate disinformation and has harmed a person or company.
For some reason though, even as Congress realizes that some of these companies have gained extraordinary power over the years, and members from both major parties agree that there needs to be a change in Section 230, but they have yet to do anything about it. Why? Well, it’s simple isn’t it? how much money do these companies provide to various members for their reelection? Well, it’s not insignificant and therefore even though there’s a lot of talk about holding these companies accountable, it’s only talk and until we elect representatives that will do something, I don’t see anything being done about it in the near, or far future.
None of this prevents any of us from actually finding out information on the Internet. The policies may make it more difficult, but Google, Twitter, Facebook, etc., don’t own the entire network (yet) and can’t prevent information from being shared and when they attempt to do so, it only makes the story larger than maybe it needs to be. Which brings us to the latest debacle they’ve brought upon themselves: the Hunter Biden email “scandal”. Yes, I placed scandal in quotes because, well, think about it, the response from the online oligarchs have turned this froma one or two day story, into a major political scandal just a few weeks from a very contentious election.
To those on the right, it’s hiding pertinent information from voters. From the left, and these platforms themselves, it’s about publishing unsubstantiated information about a presidential candidate and his family. Not something they’ve ever allowed against Trump. Right? So they’ve created a conundrum for themselves: not allow the free dispensation of this story across their sites may tell people that, in fact, this story is true and that these platforms are attempting to protect their candidate. The other side is that they want to ensure, this close to the election, that false information isn’t published on their sites about either candidate, unlike what they allowed recently on the Trump tax “scandal” from the New York Times.
Either way an individual looks at this story, it’s bad for Big Tech. Again, they’ve shot themselves in the foot. Maybe this time, with a shotgun because this story is not going to go away no matter what the Biden campaign does (they called a “lid” this morning to avoid the press) and so to the voters in the battleground states, unless Biden himself comes out and explains what happened and what his involvement was or wasn’t, this will be there right up until November 3rd. It’s an October Surprise he can’t just walk away from because it calls his honesty into question since he’s denied any involvement in Burisma or any of his sons’ other business ventures, for years. No one wants a crook in the White House (Knowingly. We’ve had a few over our history.).
It looks like Big Tech is trying to influence the election by ignoring, as much as they are able to, this story. I think that this story, which again, they created themselves, will cause the next Congress to at least take a look because no matter what side anyone is on, it just looks bad.