Sen. Cruz: Zero Accountability From Big Tech Is Dangerous
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), member of the Senate Commerce Committee, today participated in a hearing to examine ways Congress can strengthen the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) authority to protect consumers. Sen. Cruz expressed his concerns regarding the lack of work by the FTC to rein in Big Tech's abuse of power and increase transparency for consumers of Big Tech's products. Highlights of his line of questioning are below.
WATCH: Sen. Cruz: The Federal Trade Commission Should Do More to Rein in Big Tech
On Big Tech's unchecked monopoly power, Sen. Cruz said:
"I think Big Tech today represents the greatest accumulation of power - market power and monopoly power - over information that the world has ever seen. The players and Big Tech are getting more and more brazen. They behave as if they are completely unaccountable. And at times they behave more like nation states than private companies. I think the commission has not done nearly enough to rein in the abuse of power of Big Tech.
"When it comes to content moderation, they're absolutely a ‘black box.' They refuse to answer questions. In the Senate, we have promulgated questions to Big Tech over and over again about their content, moderation, decisions. [...] We saw, before the prior election, Big Tech take an even greater step and block the New York Post. Shut down the nation's fourth largest print newspaper because Big Tech disagreed with a story that they had put out. That market power with zero transparency and zero accountability, I think is dangerous. It is dangerous for free speech. It is dangerous for free and fair elections."
On actions the FTC should take to rein in Big Tech's abuse of power, Sen. Cruz said:
"I think there's particular value the commission can add in terms of transparency, in terms of addressing the ‘black box.' So, for example, Big Tech claims there's not political bias. Well, they happen to have a monopoly on all the information and data you would look to assess whether there's political bias. I've asked repeatedly in the 2020 election cycle: How many Republican candidates for office did you block posts from? How many Democratic candidates? There's an answer. It's a concrete number. They have it. They refused to give it. Simply making that information public for multiple cycles of what they're doing, I think, would be incredibly beneficial, reining in the abuse of power. And I think the commission has ample authority to require those disclosures right now."
Sen. Cruz has long warned that Big Tech censorship is "the single greatest threat to democracy." As ranking member of the Senate Judiciary's Subcommittee on The Constitution and a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, Sen. Cruz is working to hold Big Tech accountable to the American people:
- 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 then-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 to ban 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.