Some of the responses of America’s tech barons under questioning by Rhode Island’s far-left Democrat Senator Sheldon Whitehouse should raise concerns about the future of freedom in the United States. Of course, we should keep in mind that these are private corporations that can make their own decisions, but they do talk and act as if they’re somehow more fundamental to society than that. And so:
Twitter’s acting general counsel, Sean Edgett, told Whitehouse and other members of the Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on crime and terrorism that detecting foreign-based influence campaigns run through phony shell corporations set up as American companies is a challenge. …
All three witnesses also agreed on the threat presented by shell corporations.
“Anything that prevents us from policing the authenticity of our users is a menace,” said Stretch.
It isn’t difficult to imagine freedom — whether explicit in law or simply part of the fabric of American culture — as just such a “menace.”
We accept that people will use freedom in ways that allow them to take advantage of other people because it’s unavoidable, and it would be unacceptable to give government (or oligarchs) the power to set the line between taking advantage of freedom and simply utilizing it in ways that powerful people don’t like. The fact that powerful people didn’t like the outcome of an electoral contest would be a poor reason to pressure tech companies to set up roadblocks to speech.
Instead, we should seek to educate people sufficiently that a few bogus stories on Facebook won’t dupe enough of them to change the course of history. We should also encourage more-respectable purveyors of news to get their bias under control so that they have the credibility to offer objective resources.