J.D. Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis and Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate seat from Ohio, said on Tuesday’s edition of the Breitbart News Daily podcast with host Alex Marlow that he practices degrees of self-censorship online to evade digital bans across “social media” platforms.
Vance’s remarks came in the context of a discussion of Twitter and Facebook’s recent deletion of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s (R-GA) online profiles and the world’s largest technology companies’ increasingly broad political censorship and information control.
Vance identified the events of January 6 — dubbed an “insurrection” by leftist and partisan Democrat news media — as one of several subjects aggressively policed by Big Tech to ensure compliance with its associated political narratives.
“There are things on Twitter that I don’t talk about,” he said, “because I know that there are certain issues where if you say what you actually think, it’s going to increase the odds that they censor you, and so you have to kind of — on the one hand — be careful while you’re getting your message out, which is unacceptable.”
Public discourse is corrupted as people engage in self-censorship due to fears of being deplatformed by Big Tech’s enforcement of its sacred cow narratives, Vance observed.
He continued, “That fact that I know that if I ask too many questions – I can tweet a little bit about the January 6 detainees, and I do – but if you ask too many questions, that’s when it gets dangerous, and I think the fact that that goes on in the back of our minds and … the fact that I even have to think about how far over the line I can go before they silence me is basically destroying my ability to reach a big audience, just goes to show these companies are too powerful.”
Vance called for breaking up Big Tech companies to facilitate competition and decentralize control over the digital flow of information and online discourse.
He stated, “Unless you have, basically, the threat of these companies being broken up, the threat of treating these companies as common carriers — if you if you own a private highway in Ohio, you can’t discriminate against people based on their political viewpoints or their race — I think the Internet, the modern information superhighway, should be treated in the same way.”
He continued, “A big part of, what’s a driving the censorship machine with Big Tech is these companies are just too big, and they are too powerful. When you have that much concentrated power, it leads to censorship. It leads to control. I think we should break these companies up. Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp is actually the same company. Those should be at least three separate companies.”
“Amazon controls the entire modern hardware infrastructure of the Internet,” he remarked. “We should not allow that to happen. We should forcibly break them up and create more competition in the same way that Teddy Roosevelt created competition in the steel industry.”
He proposed, “We should be thinking about common carrier regulations for Twitter. If Twitter was subjected to common carrier [regulations], it would not have kicked off a sitting U.S. congresswoman. It would just be illegal. She would have a right of access. She would be able to sue them them in court, say, ‘Reestablish it, give me back my platform. You can’t kick me off.”
Big Tech’s increasing consolidation of control over the Internet is the primary threat to American welfare, Vance held, describing the hazard as an existential risk to free speech and expression.
“If we’re unsuccessful [in defeating Big Tech censorship], it doesn’t matter how secure or unsecure our elections are, doesn’t matter how good our candidates are, doesn’t matter how right we are on the philosophy or on the public policy,” he said. “If we cannot debate our ideas, if our candidates cannot reach their constituents, if voters cannot even hear what we’re saying, then we are never going to win another national or important state election in this country again. This is the issue, in my view, because it covers all the rest.”
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