Big Tech: From Threat to Savior of Democracy?

In the course of a week, big tech has gone from being one of the great threats to American democracy to being the self-proclaimed savior of American democracy.

Congress last year was discussing using federal anti-trust laws to break up Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Alphabet, Inc’s Google for engaging in anti-competitive, monopolistic business practices.

A bipartisan Congressional investigation concluded: “These firms have too much power, and that power must be reined in and subject to appropriate oversight and enforcement. Our economy and democracy are at stake.”

Meanwhile, the leaders of Google, Facebook and Twitter were hauled before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee to answer charges they engage in selective censorship of Republican content on the internet. They denied it but GOP pressed for repeal of a federal law that protects these platforms from lawsuits.

Big tech was on the defensive then but things have changed.

Tables Turn

Given recent events, it is stunning that in the past week big tech literally shut down speech over the Internet by the GOP President of the United States, various high-ranking GOP elected officials and prominent conservative commentators. They also nuked the social network Parler, a rising alternative to Twitter.

Google, Facebook and Twitter justify their actions by claiming the GOP targets pose a threat to democracy because they questioned the integrity of the recent Presidential election. The platforms blame their targets for a small group of thugs breaking into the Capitol building – which at the time had virtually no security measures in place – during a Jan. 6 Trump rally on election fraud.

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