Rep. Louie Gohmert Wants to Sic the Trial Lawyers on Big Tech
The “Big Tech” monopolies in Silicon Valley are now some of the largest, most powerful entities in human history. They control vast amounts of information about everyone – including things that you probably don’t realize that they control about you.
Google now claims to have the power to change the outcome of an election by manipulating the search results that undecided and “swing” voters see online. Does that terrify anyone else?
In addition, Facebook, Twitter, Spotify, Apple and numerous other companies are now de-platforming and censoring anyone whose personal content is to the political right of Chairman Mao.
PayPal, which is supposed to be a “libertarian” company, won’t allow conservative political groups to use its popular shopping cart on their websites for fundraising unless PayPal’s people can first approve the content.
Imagine being a retailer and having to go to PayPal for permission every time you want to sell a new coffee mug or T-shirt; that’s the type of heavy-handed oversight and censorship that conservatives increasingly face every day from the Big Tech monopolies.
Is anyone in Congress paying attention to this?
Are any of the Republicans concerned that Big Tech is literally putting patriotic American businesses out of business for not agreeing with their politics?
Apparently, one member of Congress has noticed and he’s trying to do something about. Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-TX) has introduced HR 7363, a bill that would allow the market to finally rein in “Big Tech.”
Gohmert’s plan is so intelligent that it would not require government intervention or a regulatory breakup of these monolithic companies. What’s his plan? He wants to sic the trial lawyers on them – which is brilliant!
If Gohmert’s bill becomes law, it would amend the Communications Act so that “an owner or operator of a social media service that hinders the display of user-generated content shall be treated as a publisher or speaker of that content.”
We’ll explain that in a second but pause for a moment to think about how different “communications” are today compared to 1996, the last time the Communications Act was overhauled.
The internet we enjoy today wasn’t even a gleam in Al Gore’s eye back then. No one could have predicted how dramatically the World Wide Web would have transformed America’s economy.
Two-thirds of American households didn’t even own a computer back then.
Social media and tech companies like Google and Facebook have grown larger, more powerful and more sophisticated – and they did so more quickly than Congress could keep up.
In short, our laws are outdated when it comes to these companies.
Many have argued that Big Tech companies should be broken up, like Ma Bell was back in the 1980s. This is one possibility, but Louie Gohmert’s plan actually has a lot of merit. Here’s why.
If social media company owners are treated as publishers under the law – a treatment they are shielded from under the current, outdated laws – they are not liable for anything that is published or censored on their sites.
This is really convenient for guys like Mark Zuckerberg, the overlord of Facebook.
His giant platform recently allowed a child to be auctioned off to the highest bidder.
Facebook also allowed ISIS jihadis to post a video of them beheading two blond European tourist ladies in Morocco.
Meanwhile, conservatives are deliberately shadow-banned, blocked or locked out of their Facebook accounts entirely, or their pages are taken down. Zuckerberg can’t be sued for this blatant discrimination under current laws.
The beauty of Gohmert’s plan is that it treats social media similarly to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Think about how that works.
No contractor in America today would ever construct a new public building without making it fully handicap-accessible. You’d have to be insane to do such a thing.
The government doesn’t enforce the ADA. Trial lawyers enforce it and everyone complies with the law because they know they’ll get their pants sued off if they break the rules.
By treating Mark Zuckerberg and other Big Tech companies as publishers – which they most certainly are – Gohmert’s bill would open them all up to liability lawsuits.
The trial lawyers looking to score a big payday will rein in Big Tech. The lawyers will work for free and take a cut of the proceeds, just to sue Mark Zuckerberg.
Censorship of conservatives would end overnight if Gohmert’s bill becomes the law of the land.