On December 14, Federal Communications Commission Commissioners voted to enact Chairman Ajit Pai’s proposal to roll back “net neutrality,” officially repealing Obama’s oppressive regulations which not only stifled growth in broadband investments but effectively allowed edge providers like Google, Facebook, and Twitter to operate with little to no accountability. Truly, the rule’s repeal is a win, not only for citizens of the internet, but for every American’s right to free speech.
Under ‘net neutrality,’ internet services providers were turned into government-regulated utilities. They were heavily supervised, with supporters of the rules arguing that their services had become an essential part of life, a basic service like water or electricity. Blaringly missing from the regulation, however, was any mention of edge providers — the Googles, Facebooks, and Twitters of the world. They were left to do as they pleased, while their competitors were chained up with red tape and overregulation.
In fact, these aforementioned tech-giants, not coincidently, played an instrumental role in crafting the rules themselves. Teaming with the Obama administration and well-known leftist activist and billionaire George Soros, Silicon Valley’s titans colluded to make sure that while internet service providers, their competitors, would be heavily regulated, they themselves would not. And in the past two years since those rules were put in place, those same tech companies have run rampant, censoring voices on their platforms that they ideologically do not agree with, overwhelmingly of the conservative variety. It has created an uneven playing field at a time when political tensions are hitting a fever pitch and open conversations are more important than ever.
For example, when Google recently opposed the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA), a bill aimed at curbing illicit and vile acts like sex-trafficking that would hold websites accountable for the actions users take on them, it altered search results for the bill to prioritize pages explaining why the bill was bad. In October, Twitter temporarily blocked a campaign video posted by Congressman Marsha Blackburn from promotion on the grounds that it was “inflammatory” and “negative.” The video contained little more than Blackburn speaking to her political beliefs. Similarly, conservative educational website PragerU found that Google’s YouTube was restricting some of their videos on the grounds that they were “inappropriate” for some viewers. These examples are just the tip of the iceberg — countless others exist.
So as we celebrate the FCC’s move to roll back these oppressive regulations, it is important to keep in mind the true significance of the move. It is not just a boon for free enterprise, entrepreneurship, and the continued expansion of access to broadband for all, but a tremendous win for the future preservation of free speech in America. As our conversations have moved to the internet, edge providers like Facebook and Twitter have become more important than ever to the exchange of ideas and political discourse. These platforms, whether we like it or not, have grown so large and essential as forums for our conversations that they are now integral to American society. And if they are to be integral to American society, they must play by the rules of American society — and rule number one, as stated in the First Amendment, is the promise of free speech for everyone.
Christie-Lee McNally is the founder of Free Our Internet. She was the Maine Statewide Director for Donald J. Trump for President in 2016, is a concealed weapons permit holder, and a USAW Certified Olympic Lifting Coach. To read more of her reports — Click Here Now.
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