In the continuing saga known as the war on “Big Tech,” we are often reminded about how there is no difference between Republicans and Democrats, which is why Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) has joined Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) on a bill they claim will protect free speech while, in reality, it serves to protect the political self-interests of the duopoly.
The war against Big Tech has been going on for several years but is receiving new attention ahead of the upcoming midterm elections as Democrats look for ways to destroy the free market and Republicans look for ways to destroy internet companies that they claim are biased against Trumpists and faux conservatives.
According to Tom Cotton and Amy Klobuchar, the Platform Competition and Opportunity Act is necessary to protect consumers from Big Tech, but the reality is that it protects the political interests of two senators (via Washington Times):
A proposal to prevent large technology companies like Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook from acquiring competitors has gained bipartisan support in the Senate.
Sens. Tom Cotton, Arkansas Republican, and Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota Democrat, introduced the Platform Competition and Opportunity Act to create a presumption against mergers and acquisitions by large tech companies.
The bill would require certain tech firms to show that any purchase of greater than $50 million does not help sustain its dominant position in the marketplace, according to Mr. Cotton’s office.
“Under this bill, the largest tech monopolies will have the burden of proving that further acquisitions are lawful and good for the American people,” Mr. Cotton said in a statement. (emphasis mine)
Did you notice the words “certain tech firms” and “burden of proving?” What does that mean in practice? It means that Tom Cotton and Amy Klobuchar want the government to pick winners and losers based on what’s best for the government. However, in the case of the Platform Competition and Opportunity Act, Cotton and Klobuchar also want to protect their political self-interests.
Big Tech firms targeted by PCOA have to fit a specific set of criteria, including 50 million monthly active users based in the U.S. or 100,000 monthly active business users and a market capitalization of $600 billion. Cotton claims this will avoid ensnaring growing tech firms by only applying the standards for enforcement to firms that meet the criteria within 30 days of the bill’s enactment, but the real motivation behind the Cotton/Klobuchar legislation indicates his crooked motivations (via Reason.com):
The bill stipulates that it only covers firms that are over the $600 billion line “as of the date of enactment.” In other words, if a company has a market cap under $600 billion on the day the bill becomes law, then that company is permanently exempt—even if it later crosses the threshold.
Two companies that are currently under the $600 billion line and thus exempt from the bill are mega-retailers Target and Walmart. These companies are both worth hundreds of billions of dollars, and their e-commerce platforms are growing at a faster rate than Amazon’s. But under the Klobuchar/Cotton law, it wouldn’t matter if Target and Walmart overtake Amazon—they would be immune from this new antitrust action, as long as they are small enough on the day the bill is signed.
Readers may be interested to note that Target is headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Walmart is headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas. Isn’t that interesting? (emphasis mine)
Big Tech has an ally in Big Government when it comes to destroying free speech, not an adversary; particularly when it comes to the political self-interests of Trumpists and the Republican Party.
For example, pretending to take down “Big Tech” while simultaneously protecting his political self-interests has become an essential part of the 2024 presidential ambitions of Gov. Ron DeSantis, who signed a bill into law last year to allow Floridians to sue social media platforms if they are “unfairly censored.” However, free speech had nothing to do with his true motivations.
The law signed by DeSantis gave Florida Election Commission power to levy fines of $250,000 per day on social media companies that de-platform any candidate running for statewide office, and $25,000 per day for candidates running for non-statewide office.
DeSantis’ desire to protect his political self-interests instead of free speech was evident in a provision that exempted Disney, which operates Disney World in Florida, and Comcast, which operates Universal Studios, from the law. “Social media,” as defined by the bill, “does not include any information service, system, Internet search engine, or access software provider operated by a company that owns and operates a theme park or entertainment complex.”
By the way, a federal judge blocked DeSantis from enforcing the law in July 2021, saying there was no “governmental interest” in controlling the “free exchange of ideas among private speakers.”
Republicans and Democrats in both chambers of Congress have expressed their willingness to destroy free speech by reining in Big Tech. For example, before DeSantis made Big Tech a part of his 2024 presidential platform, Sen. Elizabeth Warren made breaking up tech companies a key part of her 2020 platform during the Democrat presidential primaries.
The war against Big Tech is merely an elaborate distraction used as cover to protect the political self-interests of Republicans and Democrats, not free speech. And since their focus is on politics instead of the Constitution, they are failing to tackle the real problem facing America: the loss of liberty.
David Leach is the owner of the Strident Conservative. He holds people of every political stripe accountable for their failure to uphold conservative values, and he promotes those values instead of political parties.