Rep. Gohmert: ‘Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Google Operate like Radical Liberal Publishers, Not Free Speech Platforms’

Craig Bannister | May 29, 2020 | 3:23pm EDT
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Rep. Louie Gohmert

If social media platforms are going to act “like radical liberal publishers,” then they’re “undeserving of immunity from liability from things like copyright infringement, slander or libel,” Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) said Friday.

Social media outlets should lose the special treatment they received when they were free speech platforms, Rep. Gohmert says in a statement reacting to the Executive Order issued Thursday by President Donald Trump to protect Americans’ rights to free speech on social media:

"Social media outlets such as Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Google operate like radical liberal publishers, not free speech platforms. Given their blatant censorship of views and opinions that dare to challenge the leftist ideology which is rampant in Silicon Valley tech companies, it is clear they are undeserving of immunity from liability from things like copyright infringement, slander or libel. Why should the government continue to put its thumb on the scale to hold these online media outlets harmless? One doesn’t even have to be a participant on their websites and apps to wind up having their good name wrongfully destroyed by anonymous users, and yet, these social media companies are exempt from liability.

“Social media as a free speech platform was and should be protected. As the Trump administration has pointed out, they represent the modern-day equivalent of the public square and should protect free expression. However, there is no indication that these companies have an affinity for our First Amendment rights and it appears they are more concerned with suppressing conservative speech and promoting their own radical leftist agendas.”

Rep. Gohmert cites examples of anti-conservative bias, ranging from Twitter’s recent “fact checking” of Pres. Trump to YouTube’s censorship of pro-Christian and pro-America videos by PragerU:

“For instance, a disturbing 2019 undercover report caught a Google executive on camera discussing how the company can impact the upcoming presidential election and ‘prevent’ another ‘Trump situation’ in 2020. Twitter recently began ‘fact checking’ President Trump’s tweets and the individual in charge of the initiative has previously made extremely derogatory comments about the Trump administration and conservatives. Prager U, an educational organization that creates videos which promote Judeo-Christian values has seen YouTube restrict and demonetize their content. Some of the videos targeted by YouTube include, ‘Why America Must Lead,’ ‘The Ten Commandments: Do Not Murder,’ ‘Why Did America Fight the Korean War,’ and ‘The World’s Most Persecuted Minority: Christians.’”

If social media platforms want special treatment, then they must abandon their political agenda-driven treatment of users, Rep. Gohmert concludes:

“If these companies would like to be protected under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, they must hold freedom of expression above their own political agendas. No one has yet adequately explained to me why these social media companies should not be held to the same standard of any other publisher of content that is edited for consumption by the public."

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