Sen. Cruz: Big Tech Believes There Is No Power That Can Constrain Them
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, in a hearing this week slammed Big Tech's brazen abuses of power and discussed the need for legislation to address Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which provides companies such as Twitter, Facebook, Google, and YouTube with special protections from liability, after YouTube announced it will remove content that alleges widespread election fraud. Watch Sen. Cruz's full remarks here. Excerpts below.
ON YOUTUBE'S REMOVAL OF ANY CONTENT ALLEGING VOTER FRAUD
"Silicon Valley believes there is no power on Earth that can constrain them. We saw the latest illustration of this just yesterday, where YouTube announced that it is going to remove any content online that alleges widespread election fraud. [...] YouTube said that it's going to pull down, it's going to block, content, ‘that misleads people by alleging widespread fraud or errors change the outcome of the presidential election.' They're not even pretending anymore."
ON THE AMERICAN PEOPLE'S VIEWS ON THE ELECTION RESULTS
"Reuters polling shows that 39 percent of the American people believe this election was rigged. That should make all of our hearts ache. That is not good for democracy when nearly half of Americans believe an election is rigged. Now, the members of this committee may have meaningful, substantive dispute about the extent of voter fraud, how widespread it is, what forms it comes in. When Jimmy Carter and James Baker formed a bipartisan commission to study voter fraud, they concluded it was a significant and serious problem that needed to be confronted, and last I checked, Democratic President Jimmy Carter is not some crazed right-wing nut job. And yet [...] apparently, if you sat online and read the Carter Baker commission out loud, YouTube just might well block you."
ON BIG TECH'S LACK OF ACCOUNTABILITY
"Even if you happen to temporarily like the politics of Big Tech today, I ask my colleagues on the Democratic aisle, do you really want to submit total control of the public debate to a handful of Silicon Valley billionaires, modern day oligarchs? With money and power and no accountability? They are not elected by your voters. They are not elected by my voters. They're not elected by anyone."
ON THE IMPORTANCE OF FREE SPEECH
"I am not asking you to pull down liberal content. I'm not asking you to pull down socialists. I'm not asking you to pull down communists. I disagree with liberal content and socialists and communists, but I believe in free speech. It is only one side that is demanding of Big Tech that they censor the views they disagree with."
ON BIG TECH'S ABUSE OF SECTION 230
"The purpose [Section 230] served when these were nascent companies has long since passed, these are the most powerful companies on the face of the Earth and they feel zero accountability to any elected official. For all of us who care about free speech, that should worry us greatly. YouTube's latest policy is ridiculous. And by the way, if they disagree with someone saying there's widespread election fraud, there's a mechanism for that, which is they can share their own views. You can counter it, you can say, I think this is all baloney. That's fine. That's called free speech, but simply exercising monopoly power to say the views that I don't like shall disappear and have never existed, that should scare everyone."
Sen. Cruz has long warned that Big Tech censorship is "the single greatest threat to democracy." As chairman of the Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on The Constitution, Sen. Cruz is leading the fight in the Senate to hold Big Tech accountable to the American people. Read more about Sen. Cruz's efforts to demand answers below:
- Questioned the CEOs of Twitter and Facebook at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.
- Questioned the CEOs of Twitter, Facebook, and Google at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing.
- Sent a letter to Twitter and Facebook regarding their blatant censorship of The New York Post's reporting on corruption of Joe and Hunter Biden in China and Ukraine.
- Fought to subpoena both Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, and Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on this political censorship and election interference.
- Chaired multiple hearings with representatives from Twitter, Facebook, and Google, where he raised his concerns about the technology companies engaging in a disturbing pattern of political censorship.
- Heard testimony from Dennis Prager of PragerU, whose videos are routinely censored on YouTube, and Dr. Robert Epstein, a psychologist who testified that Google's biased search results swung a minimum of 2.6 million votes to Hillary Clinton in 2016.
- Sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative, Ambassador Robert Lighthizer, urging him to remove language in U.S. trade agreements similar to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which provides "near -blanket legal immunity" to technology companies.
- Wrote an op-ed in The Hill in response to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey's announcement last week banning all political ads from the platform, calling the move "profoundly harmful."
- Sent a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai raising concerns about Google's latest actions to censor political speech with which it disagrees.
- Called for a criminal investigation into Twitter for blatant and willful violation of U.S. sanctions on Iran.
- Sent two letters - one to Google and one to Facebook - slamming the companies for their separate announcements regarding election advertising.
- Joined Parler, an unbiased social media platform.