Government assistance shouldn’t be offered to big tech companies that censor political viewpoints, said Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Miss.) on Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
“If Facebook and Twitter and Google, if they are not going to give conservatives the same treatment as liberals, if they’re going to discriminate on the basis of political speech, then they shouldn’t be getting special deals from government,” Hawley said.
For years, conservatives have accused tech companies of censorship. One poll from the Pew Research Center shows that 85 percent of Republican-leaning people and 62 percent of Democratic-leaning people think social media companies are intentionally censoring political viewpoints.
Data from the subsidy-tracking website Good Jobs First shows that Facebook has received over $370 million in tax breaks and Google over $880 million.
“And now we don’t have a real marketplace because these big tech companies, who are all liberals putting the thumb on the scale against Donald Trump, all of these companies get special deals from government, and that means that there isn’t real free competition,” Hawley said.
However, some companies have disputed claims accusing them of having a bias against conservatives.
This week a judge sided with Google, rejecting claims from PragerU, a conservative nonprofit, that claimed YouTube censored its content for being conservative.
The judge ruled that YouTube was not a public forum and was therefore not subject to First Amendment scrutiny.
House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has said that people’s data should be theirs to control.
“Anything on the Internet that is free, you are not the customer, you are the client because they are using your data and selling it,” said.
Facebook has already taken a hit for violating federal privacy rules. Last year it agreed to pay a record-breaking $5 billion fine to the Federal Trade Commission for deceptive data practices.
The company was ordered to create an independent oversight committee to monitor how Facebook handles its users’ personal data.