The decision by social media giants to censor Russian content following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine is hypocritical and could be aimed at Americans in the future, conservatives warn, the Washington Examiner reported on Tuesday.
"We're seeing Russia being globally deplatformed across the board, and so it's impossible not to look at that and think it won't happen to others in America and elsewhere," said Dan Gainor, vice president at the Media Research Center, a conservative media watchdog that monitors censorship on Big Tech platforms.
Gainor added that "a group of people, the global mob, have decided to target Russia, but they're fine with genocides in China. How is that acceptable? There are no rules, and the few that exist keep changing."
He also stressed that there was no consistency to Russia currently being censored when the Kremlin had invaded other areas previously without similar consequences.
YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter, have all reduced Russian propaganda and disinformation on their platforms by banning or restricting content from such Russian state media outlets as RT and Sputnik, the Washington Examiner reported.
The decision by social media giants to curb Russian disinformation is due to pressure from users and government officials worldwide, something that worries some Republicans in Congress.
"In a very limited way, the tech companies should squash Russian disinformation, but they're now public utilities that are essentially extended realms of the government, which gives me pause," Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, one of the most conservative Republicans in Congress, told the Washington Examiner. "I have a dubious, skeptical eye on what the tech companies have chosen to do, which is part of why we need to revisit the laws around tech legal shields."
Libertarians contend that the reason there is social media censorship of Russia and not other nations is because there is less money to be lost by cutting off Russians than, for example, the Chinese.
"The censorship decisions are mostly a business decision. They're responding to what consumers want or not and trying to hit their bottom line," said Ari Cohn, free speech counsel at TechFreedom, a libertarian-leaning technology think tank. He added that "I feel a certain level of discomfort that we're all collectively saying we don't want certain content from one place."
However, Carl Szabo, vice president at NetChoice, a tech trade group that represents social media giants such as Facebook and Google, countered that "the marketplace is providing the solutions we want in terms of alternative platforms like Truth Social and others. If you're not getting a square deal with one platform, you can always go to another thanks to competition."
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