Thursday on Fox News Channel’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) warned of the perils of waiting to confront Big Tech and its efforts to play a role in politics as we approach the November elections.
According to the Florida Republican, social media company, Twitter was interfering in the election. He explained his intentions to file a complaint with the Federal Election Commission.
“Big Tech buys off Congress, so as to maintain special privileges that local newspapers and television stations don’t enjoy,” Gaetz said. “That’s why the President’s executive order today is one very important next step because if we just wait around, Big tech will steal this election from Donald Trump and the American people. In 2016, we won three Rust Belt states by a point each. And that was win nobody thought Donald Trump could win. In 2020, we’ve lost the element of surprise. And so, we have to be as aggressive as they are. That means bills like Senator [Josh] Hawley and I have filed to change Section 230 as to out these entities as publishers and not the unbiased platforms they [say they] are. It means an executive order like the President has issued.”
“It also means getting the other elements of government to enforce existing law,” he continued. “The Federal Election Commission needs to get off their duff. Twitter is interfering with an election. I heard Democrats saying for three years Russia was interfering with an election. That was a hoax. We have domestic election interference going on right now. I’ll be filing a complaint with the Federal Election Commission tomorrow because of what they’ve done to President Trump. And as a voter, I have the standing to do it. President Trump should call for a decision on the Federal Election Commission questions that are before them so that these tech companies get flushed out of the bushes.”
When asked how to curb abuses by tech companies without outright stripping them of their abilities to act with protections under Section 230, Gaetz suggested it was time to consider regulating social media platforms as utilities.
“Again, Big Tech companies have a tremendous amount of influence over Congress,” he said. “It’s one reason I don’t take their PAC money or anyone else’s federal PAC money. But on the question of what has to be done — I agree with you. But if someone is going to assert they are a non-biased neutral platform, we should not take that as an article of faith. We actually have to have investigative work done, transparency, disclosures. If we’re going to give these folks the privileges you would give a public utility company, maybe we should start regulating these companies like the public utilities they are.”
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