FLASHBACK: FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Warned that Big Tech ‘Edge Providers’ Are the Censors, Not ISPs

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai at an internet regulation event at the Newseum in Washington, DC on April 25, 2017
AFP

Last year, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai warned that it was Big Tech “edge providers,” such as Google, Twitter, and Facebook, are the real censorship threat, and not Internet Service Providers (ISPs) previously targeted under net neutrality.

In a speech last November, Pai solidified his stance, claiming that large Internet companies, such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter, support net neutrality to “cement their dominance in the Internet economy.”

“Now look: I love Twitter, and I use it all the time. But let’s not kid ourselves; when it comes to an open Internet, Twitter is part of the problem,” Pai proclaimed. “The company has a viewpoint and uses that viewpoint to discriminate… The company appears to have a double standard when it comes to suspending or de-verifying conservative users’ accounts as opposed to those of liberal users. This conduct is many things, but it isn’t fighting for an open Internet.”

“And unfortunately, Twitter isn’t an outlier. Indeed, despite all the talk about the fear that broadband providers could decide what Internet content consumers can see, recent experience shows that so-called edge providers are in fact deciding what content they see,” he continued. “These providers routinely block or discriminate against content they don’t like… The examples from the past year alone are legion.”

Pai went on to list some of the examples, which included, “App stores barring the doors to apps from even cigar aficionados because they are perceived to promote tobacco use. Streaming services restricting videos from the likes of conservative commentator Dennis Prager on subjects he considers ‘important to understanding American values.’Algorithms that decide what content you see (or don’t), but aren’t disclosed themselves. Online platforms secretly editing certain users’ comments. And of course, American companies caving to repressive foreign governments’ demands to block certain speech—conduct that would be repugnant to free expression if it occurred within our borders.”

“In this way, edge providers are a much bigger actual threat to an open Internet than broadband providers, especially when it comes to discrimination on the basis of viewpoint,” Pai concluded.

“The FCC adopted very onerous privacy regulations for internet service providers, where in reality it is not internet service providers who have a great insight into consumer activity,” declared Pai in an April 2017 interview with Breitbart News. “For example, if you’re on your cell phone you might go from your Wi-Fi network to your work Wi-Fi network to a coffee shop’s Wi-Fi network and there could four or five ISPs or even more that only capture a part of your identity, whereas some of the edge providers [e.g. Facebook and Google] have a greater insight across many different platforms and can see what you’re doing.”

Pai’s warnings about the Masters of the Universe in Silicon Valley, which he called “edge providers,” is more accurate this week, as these very edge providers have purged Alex Jones and Infowars from almost every platform within 24 hours.

Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.

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