Republicans are continuing to put pressure on Big Tech over concerns conservative speech is being censored.
That was the allegation behind President Donald Trump's executive order seeking regulations on social media's treatment of third-party content.
In a letter to Google CEO Sindar Pichai Wednesday (June 17), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) chairman of the Constitution Subcommittee, cited Google's "latest actions to censor political speech with which it disagrees."
The letter came almost a year to the day after Cruz oversaw a hearing entitled "Google and Censorship through Search Engines."
That was a reference to conservative web site The Federalist and reports that "would no longer be able to generate revenue from any advertisement served by Google Ads - allegedly because of a reader comment that violated Google's advertising policies."
On Fox & Friends, Federalist publisher Ben Domenech said that under that threat, the site had taken down its comment section temporarily, but said it was coming back.
"The recent actions of Google to ‘demonetize' a conservative media publisher, The Federalist, raise serious concerns that Google is abusing its monopoly power in an effort to censor political speech with which it disagrees," Cruz wrote.
He is among the Republicans who is convinced there is systemic bias against conservative speech in Silicon Valley and who have issues with the Sec. 230 civil liability immunity Web sites enjoy for their handling of most third-party posts, either taking them down or leaving them up.
In the Federalist's Case, Domenech said they don't moderate the comments, pointing out that Google owns YouTube, whose comment section is notoriously free-for-all.
"This is part of a bigger problem. The culture of free speech in this country is under attack, and Google is helping lead the charge," wrote Cruz. "Whereas Americans once understood that the best response to speech was more speech, some Americans, with the help of some of the most powerful companies on the planet, are now pressing to silence and punish those expressing views that do not align with the prevailing and ever-shifting progressive orthodoxy."
Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.
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