Former Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) told the Washington Post during an online seminar that social media companies were right to suspend President Donald Trump, and that conservative complaints about censorship should not be taken seriously.
The Post, which pushed the false “Russia collusion” hoax for several years during the Trump presidency, hosted a seminar on the “disinformation crisis” in American media Tuesday, sponsored by left-wing tycoon Pierre Omidyar.
The discussion featured Hurd and British Conservative MP Damien Collins.
Omidyar has backed efforts to urge the federal government to control online speech, and allegedly helped efforts to use private funding to help Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s effort turn out the vote in Democrat-heavy counties in key swing states like Georgia.
Hurd, a former CIA officer, did note that many of the people “propagating” disinformation online were those with “blue check” verified badges from Twitter, noting that some disinformation came from mainstream sources, not from the fringes.
Asked whether he agreed with social media companies suspending former President Donald Trump, Hurd agreed, saying that the companies had terms of service, and he and others “have been violating those terms, so yes, the companies should have the ability to do that.”
Asked whether he agreed with conservative complaints about social media censorship, Hurd said that certain conservative media companies “have way more following than a lot of the mainstream media” on Facebook, and therefore it could not be argued that conservative views were being censored on social media.
Collins, founder of the International Grand Committee on Disinformation, which he said was partly inspired by a meeting in Washington with members of the Canadian parliament and the Atlantic Council think tank. He called new regulations on “disinformation” a “leveling-up process” in which regulations gradually advanced across different countries.
He said the coronavirus pandemic had demonstrated the danger of disinformation, given anti-vaccine propaganda and misinformation about alternative treatments. He cited “drinking bleach to cure COVID” as an example of bad media advice, although that particular case is a hoax propagated by the mainstream media, which claimed falsely that then-President Trump had recommended it.
The seminar also discussed the testimony last year of so-called Facebook “whistleblower” Frances Haugen, who is also backed by Omidyar.
Both Hurd and Collins said they agreed with some reforms to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which shields online platforms from the liability they would be exposed to if they were considered publishers, not platforms.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.