Commentary: Break Up Big Tech Before It’s Too Late

With the rise of populist and bipartisan resentment against Big Tech monopolies along with the recent appointment of Big Tech opponent Lina Khan as chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, government action against these companies seems imminent. People are waking up to the fact that they have way too much power and are a threat to the American way of life.

As if on cue, prominent conservatives have come to the defense of these monopolies. Most recently, Robert Bork Jr. argued in National Review that breaking up Big Tech would lead to “a slippery slope to the end of capitalism and the rise of political management of the economy.” He agrees with conservatives such as Representative Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who says, “These [anti-monopoly] bills give power to the FTC, the new commissioner we all know is radically left.”

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Poll: Majority of Americans Support Regulating, Breaking Up Big Tech

A majority of Americans believe major tech companies are too powerful, and support the government regulating and breaking them up, according to a new poll.

The poll, conducted from June 7 to 12 and released Wednesday by Change Research on behalf of progressive groups CAP Action and Public Citizen, found that 81% of respondents believe Big Tech and social media companies are too powerful, with 73% at least “somewhat convinced” they should be regulated and broken up. Republicans had a less favorable view of tech companies than Democrats and tended to be more supportive of antitrust action.

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Commentary: Alumni Organizations Are Pushing Back on Woke Campuses in Battle for Free Speech

When Davidson College senior Maya Pillai was asked about her greatest college memory, the first-generation immigrant answered, “I don’t have one.”

In an August 2020 interview with the Charlotte Observer, Pillai, the president of Davidson’s chapter of College Republicans, described her alienating college experience.

“Because of my political affiliation, it led to not having friends,” said Pillai, who received a full, merit scholarship to the highly-respected North Carolina institution. “And because it led to not having friends, it led to not having a fair reputation on campus. So I’ve been essentially outcast due to my political views.”

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Commentary: The Battle Against Big Tech Is an Existential Fight for Conservatives

Person holding phone up in Times Square.

For Big Tech billionaires, these are the best of times, and the worst of times.

Why the best? Because the long arm of social media and online commerce has never reached further and deeper into Americans’ culture, spending habits, lifestyles, and worldview. Likewise, the net worth of these billionaires has risen to undreamed-of heights. COVID was, for tech barons, a blessing in disguise: it trapped Americans indoors, where they could do little else but browse the web, consume digital entertainment, and spend their stimulus dollars on imported Chinese doohickeys. Even as the dreaded virus has retreated, Big Tech has successfully locked in its gains.

Why the worst of times, though? The very rise of Big Tech has portended greater scrutiny. The debasement of Big Tech’s competitors and natural enemies—from brick-and-mortar stores to Trump supporters—has ensured that the drumbeat of criticism of social media companies and online retailers has never been more stridently percussive. 

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U.S. Supreme Court Sides with Student in Free Speech Case

Tennessee Star

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of free speech rights for students outside of the classroom in a decision Wednesday.

The court sided with former Mahanoy Area High School student and cheerleader Brandi Levy in the case, formally known as Mahanoy Area School District v B.L., with a 8-1 decision in her favor. Mahanoy Area High School is located in Pennsylvania.

Levy, upset that she had not made her school’s varsity cheer team, posted on the social media site Snapchat a simple message with explicit language expressing her frustration.

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Republicans Debate Breaking up Big Tech After Trump’s Facebook Suspension

Smart phone with Facebook etched out

Many Republicans in Congress have reignited their calls to break up the big tech companies after Facebook announced last week they would maintain the suspension of former President Donald Trump’s account.

A new poll released by Rasmussen Friday found that 59% of likely voters “believe operators of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are politically biased in the decisions they make” with only 26% disagreeing. The rest are unsure.

The poll results went on to say that “a majority of voters now favor ending legal protections for social media companies.” The reported public opinion against the tech giants comes the same week Facebook announced they would keep Trump suspended from their platform, citing his alleged role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riots.

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At Princeton, a Racial Reckoning and a Free Speech Battle

In 2015, Princeton University became the second higher-education institution to sign the University of Chicago Statement supporting campus free speech. Yet, five years later, Princeton professor Keith E. Whittington wrote that the university stood “on the front lines” of the battle over speech. Those battle lines were drawn this summer by students and faculty demanding the adoption of “anti-racist” policies, which some on campus say run counter to free speech and open inquiry.

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Commentary: How to Restrain Big Tech Immediately

A year ago, University of Georgia professor Cas Mudde took to Twitter and asked: “How do you manage to stay informed about political news and stay mentally balanced?” In his next tweet, he confessed too much time on social media was contributing to anxiety and depression.

With this, Mudde expressed a sentiment many social media users share. As we discuss policy issues tied to social media—tech regulation, free speech, foreign influence—we shouldn’t lose sight of the damaging psychological effects of today’s information environment. You may not want to hear this a week before the election, but social media addiction is a public health issue. Big Tech is the new Big Tobacco.

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Campus Survey: 42 Percent of Students Say Their College Doesn’t Empower Free Speech

Conservative students on college campuses across the U.S. are more likely to self-censor than their more liberal classmates out of fear of backlash or retribution, according to a first-of-its-kind student survey commissioned by RealClearEducation and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).

The survey is the largest of its kind – canvasing 20,000 students at 55 U.S. colleges and universities about their experiences with free speech on campuses. Conducted by College Pulse, the survey ranks schools according to how open and tolerant students say they are, among several other criteria, and includes numerous student comments about their experiences.

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Free Speech Group Warns University After it Allowed Black Lives Matter Protest but Banned Other Gatherings

A free speech advocacy group has sent two letters to East Carolina University after the public college banned gatherings of more than 50 students, but allowed a Black Lives Matter protest on campus.

Southeastern Legal Foundation sent a letter to the North Carolina public university on September 16 seeking information on its enforcement of its coronavirus policies. After receiving no response, the public interest law group sent a follow-up letter on September 24.

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Coalition Files Lawsuits to Stop Gov. Whitmer From Silencing Free Speech in Elections, Secretary of State Benson From Undermining Absentee Ballot Integrity

A coalition filed two lawsuits in Michigan on Monday, a federal case against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for allegedly silencing political speech, and a state suit against Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson for reportedly circumventing state law protecting the right of Michiganders to have their vote properly counted.

The lawsuits were announced on a new website launched by the coalition: Got Freedom? The website is available here.

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Commentary: Is Free Speech at Stake in November?

The phenomenon of “cancel culture” is a real and growing threat to free speech in America. This rapidly rising threat has caught many Americans off guard.

Since the rise of the nation-state, almost all the serious threats to freedom of speech have come from government or government sponsored agencies. However, this current threat is not from the government – at least not yet.

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‘Walking on Eggshells’: 62 Percent of Americans Are Afraid to Express Political Views, Survey Finds

Self-censorship is on the rise according to a new Cato Institute survey that reports nearly two-thirds of Americans are afraid to share their political views.

A new CATO Institute/YouGov national survey found 62% of Americans say the political climate today prevents them from saying what they believe. This is up several points from 2017 when 58% of Americans said they were afraid to share their political beliefs.

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Commentary: Big Tech’s Escalating War on Free Speech

On June 19, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld 9-0 the right to freedom of speech, including “hate speech.” As Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the court: “The proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express the thought that we hate.” Justice Anthony Kennedy added in a concurring opinion: “A law that can be directed against speech found offensive to some portion of the public can be turned against minority and dissenting views to the detriment of all.”

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Hawley Calls For Investigation into Officials Favoring Protests While Targeting Religion

Republican Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley called for an investigation into free speech double-standards, saying that state officials have favored protests while targeting religious freedom.

He asked Attorney General William Barr and the Department of Justice to launch a “full civil rights investigation” into violations of “free exercise and free speech rights of religious Americans” in a Tuesday letter.

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Senators Ask State Department to Monitor Free Speech Violations Concerning Coronavirus in China, Other Countries

Several senators across the United States have called on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the U.S. Representative to the United Nations Kelly Craft to address concerns about free speech violations in several countries around the world.

Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), John Cornyn (R-TX), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) and Joni Ernst (R-IA) submitted the letter on Monday, pointing to crackdown on free speech concerning the coronavirus in China, as well as in Turkey, Bangladesh, Niger and Cambodia, as a reason for concern.

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Trump Activists Mobbed on Ohio University Campus While Officers Watched

Two conservative activists were mobbed and harassed Monday on Ohio University’s Athens campus while multiple police officers watched.

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