Social media platforms are "common carriers," not just private companies, and must be regulated in about the same way utilities are, Sen. John Kennedy insisted Wednesday while responding to the news that an oversight board has ruled that Facebook's block on former President Donald Trump will remain in place for now.
"I have a private company that supplies my electricity here at my house," the Louisiana Republican said on Fox News' "America's Newsroom." "It is a good company. But that company is a common carrier. It is a private company but they can't call me up and say 'Kennedy, we're shutting off your electricity because we don't like your politics' ... we need to regulate them just like we regulate telephone companies and internet and utility companies. And those are the facts."
Kennedy further claimed that people who run social media platforms are "Bolsheviks" who would never censor someone like progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., like they would Trump or even House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
"Everybody says well, they are private companies and they can do what they want," said Kennedy. "Yes, they are private companies. I am not saying that Facebook's politics are right or wrong. I'm saying they shouldn't have politics. And the only way to get this straight is to either properly regulate them or break them up ... everybody knows their politics are to the left and they act on it. It has nothing to do with Trump or Sen. Sanders. That's just wrong."
Kennedy said lawmakers have been talking about what to do about social media companies for all four years since he was elected to the Senate, and "Congress needs to get up off its ice-cold lazy butt and face this issue head-on."
Lawmakers from both parties know something is wrong, and if Republicans take back the House and/or the Senate in 2022, "we are going to face this issue head-on," said Kennedy.
"My Democratic friends, not all of them, but many of them, they profess to be upset but their people are in control of these social media platforms," said Kennedy. "If they want to be a bunch of Russians, they meaning the heads of Facebook and Twitter, that's their right as an American but they can't act on it. They can't start censoring people because they are common carriers. They can't do it any more than my electrical power company can cut off my power because they don't like my politics. It's wrong and it is hurting America."
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Vice President Kamala Harris, while talking about the border situation and how El Salvador comes into play, said there is a lack of independent judiciary in that country and claimed climate change and a lack of economic opportunity are leading people to leave for the border.
Kennedy, though, said that's not why the border "is a mess."
"(It's) because Vice President Harris and President (Joe) Biden believe in open borders," he said. "Now, I've heard the vice president talk about 'well, we need to give money to the Central American countries and they will be made well and stop wanting to come to America.'"
Those countries are run by autocrats, he continued.
"The way to get control of the border is to go back to December and enforce America's immigration laws," said Kennedy. "Vice President Harris, who is a good friend of mine, I served on the Judiciary Committee with her, knows that. And if I have 10 seconds I'll say this while I have a chance to say it to my friend Vice President Harris. Black lives have mattered to Americans for a long time. Madam vice president, you need to give the American people some credit for the racial progress we have made in this country. What you are saying about this country in many respects is hurting us."
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