A long-time vocal opponent of the country’s biggest, most influential tech companies is ratcheting up his rhetoric.
“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,” Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) told Yahoo Finance’s The First Trade. Cruz voiced displeasure over recent actions by Facebook (FB) and Twitter (TWTR) to stop the spread of a damaging New York Post story on the son of Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden.
Facebook reportedly sent the story to third-party fact checkers and limited the spread of the story on the platform. Twitter went onto mark the New York Post story link as “potentially unsafe” and blocked it.
“The New York Post has the fourth highest circulation of any newspaper in America and yet big tech says we will silence you, you’re not allowed to report on a topic that would be damaging to Joe Biden because we Silicon Valley want to defeat Donald Trump. It is nakedly partisan and so, of course, Congress should not be subsidizing their efforts to monopolize free speech and silence the voices of Americans,” Cruz added.
Cruz and his fellow Republicans in the Senate will have a chance to air their grievances with big tech on Oct. 28. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey will testify in the Senate about tech companies’ control over misinformation and hate speech on their platforms.
And their overall power is likely to be very much in focus, beyond just a focus on the Biden story.
The Justice Department and 11 U.S. states on Tuesday filed a federal civil lawsuit accusing Google of illegal anticompetitive conduct in three lines of business: search, search advertising, and search text.
Says Cruz on the suit, “The amount of power that has been drawn into Silicon Valley is unprecedented and Google abuses its power not just in the search market by using its monopoly power to make billions, but it also uses it to try to censor the American People, to silence views they disagree with, use and abuse their total control over search and discussions online to control our elections and interfere with our elections. I’m glad the Department of Justice is acting to hold Google accountable.”
Cruz is a former top government lawyer who taught U.S. Supreme Court litigation at the University of Texas School of Law.
Google did not respond to request for comment on Cruz’s statements.
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