Twitter’s more like traveling circus than public square

SACRAMENTO – Until fairly recently – namely around the time that the world’s richest man, Elon Musk, bought Twitter – conservatives have been hyperventilating about the threat that social media posed to “free speech.” Republicans proposed various big-government solutions to the problem, including having the feds commandeer these private companies and turn them into public utilities.

This led to proposed federal and state laws that ranged from mandating what these platforms must publish to micromanaging the details of their business relationships (e.g., forcing Apple to open its app stores to all comers). Big Tech foes’ motivation wasn’t principle, but pique. They were upset at content-moderation policies that they said discriminates against conservatives.

“We’re trying to end the influence of Big Tech on American society as we know it, because … the Big Tech companies are enemies of the people,” said the Heritage Foundation’s President Kevin Roberts. “We want to always perpetuate free-market principles, but subsumed by this really important role, and that is our ability to operate in the public square using our natural rights.”

The idea of perpetuating free-market principles by advocating the use of government to undermine “enemies” is an odd position for the president of a conservative think tank. It reminds me of when George W. Bush defended $8.5 trillion in economic bailouts by saying, “I’ve abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system.” They’re not really principles if you abandon them at the first sight of discomfort.

The Right defends its assault on the First Amendment – “Congress shall make no law …” – by depicting social-media firms as monopolies, even though anyone (even Donald Trump) is capable of starting a competitor. It’s hard to start a successful one, though. But now Republicans have grown quieter after Musk overpaid for Twitter and seems to have set himself up as the …read more

Source:: Los Angeles Daily News

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