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Sen. Cruz Delivers Introductory Remarks as Chairman of Big Tech Censorship Investigation Hearing

'What makes the threat of political censorship so problematic is the lack of transparency’

April 10, 2019

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202-228-7561

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), chairman of the Senate subcommittee on the Constitution, today is chairing a hearing entitled, “Stifling Free Speech: Technological Censorship and the Public Discourse.” The hearing will focus on addressing concerns over social media bias and censorship with representatives from Twitter and Facebook as well as several victims of social media bias. Livestream of Sen. Cruz’s hearing may be viewed here.
 
“In particular, what makes the threat of political censorship so problematic is the lack of transparency,” Sen. Cruz said. “The invisibility. The ability for a handful of giant tech companies to decide if a particular speaker is disfavored. That he or she may speak, and their words simply fade into the ether. That nobody hears what they say. And that nobody knows that no one hears what they say. Not only does big tech have the power to silence voices--with which they disagree--but big tech likewise has the power to collate a person’s feed, so that they only receive news that comports with their own political agenda.”
 
Watch Sen. Cruz’s introductory remarks here. Excerpts of Sen. Cruz’s introductory remarks are below.
 
“Free speech is foundational to our Constitution. The First Amendment in the Bill of Rights begins by protecting our rights to free speech. Our democratic processes depend upon robust free speech. Speech with which we agree, and speech with which we disagree--the marketplace of ideas.
 
[…]
 
“In particular, what makes the threat of political censorship so problematic is the lack of transparency. The invisibility. The ability for a handful of giant tech companies to decide if a particular speaker is disfavored. That he or she may speak, and their words simply fade into the ether. That nobody hears what they say. And that nobody knows that no one hears what they say. Not only does big tech have the power to silence voices--with which they disagree--but big tech likewise has the power to collate a person’s feed, so that they only receive news that comports with their own political agenda.
 
[…]
 
“My argument is that big tech made, effectively, a bargain with Congress, and a bargain with the American people: ‘we’ll be neutral, we’ll be fair, we won’t be biased, and in exchange for that, we’ll receive what is effectively a federal subsidy of immunity from liability.’
 
“If Big Tech wants to be partisan political speakers it has that right. But it has no entitlement to a special immunity from liability under Section 230 that the New York Times doesn’t enjoy, that the Washington Post doesn’t enjoy--that nobody else enjoys other than Big Tech.”

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