In his speech on Net Neutrality reform today, FCC chairman Ajit Pai called out Twitter, YouTube and other Silicon Valley giants for their long track record of censoring conservative viewpoints.
Pai specifically called out a number of big tech companies, including Twitter, for opposing Net Neutrality reform on the grounds that it threatens a “free and open internet,” while engaging in widespread censorship on their own platforms.
“I love Twitter, and I use it all the time” said Pai. “But let’s not kid ourselves; when it comes to an open Internet, Twitter is part of the problem. The company has a viewpoint and uses that viewpoint to discriminate.”
In further comments, the FCC chairman specifically called out the censorship of Rep. Marsha Blackburn’s pro-life ad, which was blocked by Twitter for “inflammatory speech.”
Two months ago, Twitter blocked Representative Marsha Blackburn from advertising her Senate campaign launch video because it featured a pro-life message. Before that, during the so-called Day of Action, Twitter warned users that a link to a statement by one company on the topic of Internet regulation “may be unsafe.”
Pai also called attention to Twitter’s “double standard when it comes to suspending or de-verifying conservative users’ accounts as opposed to those of liberal users,” an issue which has been extensively documented by Breitbart Tech over the past two years.
Stating that Twitter is “not an outlier,” the FCC chairman also drew attention to YouTube’s decision to censor videos from conservative commentator Dennis Prager. Prager is currently suing Google and YouTube over their decision to censor his videos.
Pai continued through a list of examples of content-blocking on the part of big tech companies, including app stores banning apps from “cigar aficionados” because they are “perceived to promote tobacco use,” online platforms secretly editing users’ comments (Reddit’s CEO has admitted to doing this), and the use of opaque algorithms to decide what users can or cannot see.
More seriously, the FCC chairman called out Silicon Valley companies for “caving to repressive foreign governments’ demands to block certain speech.”
Pai concluded by declaring web companies to be “a much bigger actual threat to an open Internet than broadband providers, especially when it comes to discrimination on the basis of viewpoint.”
He also cited the comments of the CEO of Cloudflare, made after his company helped kick a neo-Nazi website off the internet, in which he stated that “what I know is not the right answer is that a cabal of ten tech executives with names like Matthew, Mark, Jack, . . . Jeff are the ones choosing what content goes online and what content doesn’t go online.”
Although the FCC chairman delivered these remarks in the context of Net Neutrality reform as opposed to the regulation of big tech companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter, his comments represent one of the strongest repudiations of Silicon Valley made by the Trump administration so far.
The examples highlighted by Pai, including Twitter’s censorship and de-verification of conservatives, YouTube’s censorship of Dennis Prager, the tech elite’s war on user comments, and Cloudflare’s controversial decision to help remove a website from the internet, have all been covered extensively by Breitbart Tech. The steady growth of Silicon Valley’s political censorship is a topic that, more than any other, has been at the forefront of our coverage since this vertical was founded two years ago. With the FCC now calling them out as well, Silicon Valley’s day of reckoning appears to be drawing closer.