Twitter said it’s a “digital town square” & Facebook said “We don’t think we should be the arbiter of what’s true and what’s false”

But now they are censoring content and de-platforming users with zero transparency, due process, or appeal process

Congress must pass legislation to regulate Internet media monopolies Twitter, Facebook, Apple, Google before the next election

Nothing less than our freedom of speech and democracy are at stake
Experts agree Twitter, Facebook, Google are natural monopolies like the electric companies

“The consumer internet is a kind of natural monopoly,” wrote a former Facebook executive “Facebook, Google increase in value when more users use them.”
Some may argue that Facebook and Twitter are not a natural monopolies and that a newcomer, like @parler_app could compete with them

But today, Google removed @parler from its app store & Apple warned that it might do the same
Think about it: if mighty Google, which holds a monopoly over Internet search, and which billions of us had already entrusted with our contacts, could not compete with Facebook and Twitter, (remember Google+?), how could any other company?
Billions of people are simply not going to, en masse, move our contacts, followers, and personal information to an entirely different platform.
“As with telecom, the industry maintains impossibly high barriers to entry. If a new entrepreneur does develop an innovative idea that picks up to a degree, an Internet monopoly can readily acquire/copy it & integrate it into its existing infrastructure”
Facebook and other social media companies enjoy the status of not being legally liable for the content on its web site, unlike traditional news media companies, including newspapers, radio, and television.
In 1996, Congress passed something called the “Communications Decency Act,” which protects social media companies like Facebook and Twitter from legal liability when people post illegal content to their web sites.
The law made sense at the time. Congress was rightly worried that if companies could be sued every time somebody posted an article or photograph that wasn’t their’s, the new media companies wouldn’t survive.
But nearly one-quarter of a century later, it’s clear that Facebook is not a free and open community and Twitter is not a “digital town hall.” Both companies are content regulators and thus, to an increasing extent, content providers, and yet they are as free from regulation.
The same network effects that make Facebook so efficient and economically valuable are the same effects that make it such a threat to free speech, and yet its threat to freedom of speech comes not from its unchecked and unregulated powers, not from its size, per se.
It is not hard to imagine a regulated Twitter & Facebook where efficiency provided by network effects & free speech are both maximized. Regulation would need to be flexible & capable of overseeing fact-checkers, transparency, and an appeals process.
It could have an oversight board comprised of 2 members from each party, and a fifth appointed by the president

It should have broad authority to investigate & make transparent the decisions that companies are making with regard to targeting, algorithms, fact-checking, etc.
There is little reason to believe Facebook, Twitter, and the other companies will voluntarily agree to regulation

Congress will need to require it.

Thus, we will need to demand it

This must be done soon, before the next elections
President-elect @JoeBiden has promised to be president for all of the people.

Americans need to find ways to come together.

Let's work together, Dems & Republicans, to protect our sacred First Amendment.
You can follow @ShellenbergerMD.
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