Law professor, former Trump official, and communications law expert Adam Candeub joined Alex Marlow on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Daily today, arguing that Republican voters need to pressure their state legislators if they want local bills to rein in Big Tech to succeed.
Candeub, who worked on President Trump’s efforts to regulate Big Tech (the former President left office before they could be implemented), and who fought free speech cases against Twitter, said that states must categorize social media companies as common carriers or places of public accommodation if they want to stop censorship.
“DeSantis definitely deserves all the kudos in the world — he outlined and planned a really aggressive take on Big Tech that really warms the heart of not just conservatives, but everyone across the country who’s really concerned by the role that these companies are playing in our politics.”
“As a general matter, state legislators can’t tell companies what they can and cannot say. However, there is an exception. And actually, Justice [Clarence] Thomas in a recent concurrence, set this forth, in a really clear way, [he] gave direction to the states.”
“He said look, if you want to stop this problem, you have to say that social media companies are common carriers like the telephone companies.”
“In addition, the state could say look, these are places of public accommodation like restaurants and rest counters in the south. And the notion of places of public accommodation is very very broad. States have said insurance companies, and country clubs, and all sorts of things are places of public accommodation. And if they are so classified, then they have to serve all as well.”
Candeub went on to call the Florida Big Tech bill, in its current form, a “real missed opportunity” for failing to put social media companies into either the common carrier or the public accommodation category.
“It’s going to have real constitutional challenges because it just wasn’t drafted in the right way… You’re going to get another ‘L’ for conservatives. And the Big Tech companies and all the liberal commentators will be saying ‘oh, you can’t regulate Big Tech, it’s against the First Amendment!’ and it’s simply because the statute wasn’t written in the right way. But nonetheless, they’ll have their little talking points, and when the next state tries to do this, they’ll be able to say ‘oh, this doesn’t work.’ And that’s a real problem. Big Tech is extremely sophisticated, they have their lobbyists everywhere, and they are able to make their points in a somewhat technical and complicated area of the law to state legislators.”
“The states can play a major role here… Recent court opinions in the court of appeals have actually given… the states a new role, a new power to regulate common carriers. So they really have the power to regulate the social media companies as common carriers as they wish. And similarly, they’ve always had the ability to regulate them under the anti-discrimination laws of public accommodation. So if the states come forward and do this, they really can.”
“We’ve seen 20 or so bills that have been introduced at the state level, but what we’ve been seeing is that they’ve been killed, smothered in their crib like babies — probably with pillow stuffed with Big Tech cash — and as conservatives, we have to watch our state legislators, say what’s going on here, why aren’t you passing these bills that are being killed in committee? It only takes one. If you get one state to say look, Google can’t discriminate, Facebook can’t discriminate. What is Facebook going to do? Is it going to cut off the state of Texas? Cut off the state of Oklahoma? No. They will institute change. It really requires conservatives to step up at the state level, to put pressure on the state legislators to do the right thing.”
Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. He is the author of #DELETED: Big Tech’s Battle to Erase the Trump Movement and Steal The Election.