Gillibrand: ‘You Don’t Have to Regulate Speech, You Can Regulate Misinformation’ So People Don’t ‘Develop Such Hatred’ as Buffalo Shooter

During an interview on MSNBC on Monday, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) argued that social media platforms should be regulated, but “You don’t have to regulate speech, you can regulate misinformation. You could say, you can’t yell ‘Fire!’ in a theater.” There are “many ways you can abrogate speech rights that are consistent with the Constitution.” And that for “an 18-year-old to develop such hatred in his heart through media platforms that do not have any regulation is a problem. And so, we need commonsense, thoughtful regulation.”

Gillibrand stated, “The problem is, you have a mentally ill 18-year-old who had this kind of ideation, who falls into rabbit holes within our social media platforms that aren’t regulated and have no basis, in terms –.”

Host Katy Tur then cut in to ask, “Should they be regulated?” Gillibrand responded, “Yes, they should.”

Tur continued, “Let’s talk about the social media platforms, going to 4chan, but it’s not even just in 4chan any longer, this idea of the great replacement theory, which –.”

Gillibrand cut in to say, “It’s not about free speech, so let’s be clear.”

Tur continued her statement, “It’s also in the mainstream now, an attenuated version on Fox News with Tucker Carlson, within a lot of the Republican Party.”

Gillibrand then said, “It’s about misinformation. It’s about radicalizing someone as young as 18 years old to such a degree that he has so much hate in his heart that he wants to go out and kill black people, that he targets a whole community, that he drives over 200 miles to commit those murders. What did he see in his lifetime — his very short lifetime that would make him so hateful? Well, we had a president, when he was 15 years old, that stood on a national stage after Charlottesville and said, good people on both sides. … So, we have messages streaming out from Republicans in power today that what happened on January 6 was okay.”

Later, Tur asked, “Can you regulate speech on the Internet without violating free speech?”

Gillibrand answered, “You don’t have to regulate speech, you can regulate misinformation. You could say, you can’t yell ‘Fire!’ in a theater. You can — there [are] many ways you can abrogate speech rights that are consistent with the Constitution. And for, again, an 18-year-old to develop such hatred in his heart through media platforms that do not have any regulation is a problem. And so, we need commonsense, thoughtful regulation. We need a data protection agency that keeps our data private, that can create frameworks where this makes sense.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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