Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-TN) said on Tuesday’s edition of SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Daily with host Alex Marlow that his sponsored legislation, the FREE Speech Act, would end Facebook’s political censorship of Breitbart News and other media outlets by repealing Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and regulating Big Tech companies as “common carriers.”
Marlow invited Hagerty’s assessment of recent revelations of internal Facebook documents quantifying the digital platform’s suppression of Breitbart News’s reach.
“This is a giant coordinated leak that’s orchestrated by ex-Obama personnel and left-wing activists who are trying to get Facebook to be more censorious than they already are,” Marlow observed. “These leaks … proved what we all knew, which is that Facebook discriminates [against] and censors conservative content, and they’ve been doing so for a long time.”
Hagerty replied, “My first reaction is that right Breitbart is featured most prominently in these articles. You seem to be the target, because you’re the most active and conservative voice that we have, and I just want to say how much I appreciate everything that you and your colleagues do to continue to carry our message forward despite the challenges that have been articulated here.”
Hagerty advised “taking the industry and beginning to regulate them as a common carrier” to combat Big Tech’s leftist political censorship.
He remarked, “[The FREE Speech Act] takes Section 230 and blows it up. My legislation would do away with that, and if people want to regulate their content, they would have to be very clear and articulate about the reasons and the actual criteria they use.”
Hagerty noted the labyrinthine and Kafkaesque nature of Big Tech companies’ censorship and continuously revised terms of service. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act allows for such political abuses given the law’s subjective provision of censorship powers to digital platforms on the basis of “objectionable” content.
He explained, “There is a clause in Section 230 [that] talks about ‘obscenity’ [and] ‘violence,’ but it then closes by saying content that the carrier — pick your cherry, Facebook, for example — deems ‘otherwise objectionable’ [can be censored]. That is the subjective perspective that they’re driving a Mack truck through.”
He continued, “They don’t have to articulate it. They don’t have to make it clear. It is what they feel it is at the time, and that’s what they’ve used to allow them to select conservative messages and suppress them while not doing the same to their own liberal perspective. My legislation would do away with that.”
The FREE Speech Act would require Big Tech companies to implement standards of user conduct that are “clear,” “articulate,” “not vague” and to be applied equally across all political positions,” Hagerty stated.
“Regulate them like a common carrier that would grant unfettered access to all customers, the same way you would a railroad … or a phone,” he concluded.
Breitbart News Daily broadcasts live on SiriusXM Patriot 125 weekdays from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Eastern.