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‘Biggest Bait And Switch In History’: Attorney General Barr Slams Tech Giants For How They Gained Power

By  Daily Wire News
   DailyWire.com
William Barr, U.S. attorney general, adjusts his glasses during a roundtable discussion with law enforcement in Wichita, Kansas, U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019. Barr, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, and President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani have all been drawn into a House impeachment inquiry after details of the administration's foreign contacts emerged.
Nick Oxford/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Attorney General William Barr told “Verdict with Ted Cruz” this week that the way that the big tech companies obtained the overwhelming level of power that they have was through “the biggest bait and switch in history,” arguing that they gained power by allowing diverse views on their platforms and once they became dominate in the market, they started censoring views they didn’t like.

“We have antitrust investigation of all the major Internet platforms or most of the major Internet platforms, and that’s very much underway,” Barr said on the show, which is co-hosted by Daily Wire podcast host Michael Knowles. “I expect to be making decisions in the next few weeks about actions on that. I think during the summer we’ll see some developments. But this issue of censorship is very troubling because our country was based and the Framers, as you know, believed the thing that would ultimately keep us free and keep a majority from repressing the minority is a lot of diversity of voices out there — a robust marketplace.”

“But these behemoths have gotten vast, strong control over the expression of views and the public forum here in the United States. And they got there and I’ve said this is the biggest bait and switch in history,” Barr continued. “They got there by saying, ‘Hey, we’re going to be open to all views, you know, come join us because then you can have your views.’ So they built up this powerful network, very strong market power based on the representation that they were sort of open to all, as a sort of a bulletin board. But then when they got that market power, now they’re censoring views just like the example you gave. And they’re now censoring views. And so we’re getting increasingly monolithic viewpoints being presented to the American people rather than the kind of robust debate.”

“So one thing we’re doing there is we’re saying that Rule 230, which is a rule that gave immunity to companies for taking down things and didn’t, therefore, convert them into a publisher where they’d be responsible for everything that appears on their site, we want to modify that so that they have to have clear terms of service,” Barr concluded on the subject. “They have to show that what they took down they had reasonable grounds for saying it violated their terms of service. And they have to give notice and process to people’s whose content they take down. That’s one of the things that we’re proposing.”

Video and transcript below:

 

 

CO-HOST MICHAEL KNOWLES: “[They] played an important role in that one too. On this point of enforcing the law and going after these people who are causing violence – the place that the president announced this policy was, as one might expect, on Twitter. Then Twitter censored the president’s tweet. So the president said we are going to enforce the law against people committing crimes. And Twitter said this violated the policy. I know, Senator, you have been talking about this kind of thing for years, at this point. I think it ties into another question people are asking of the DOJ: what are we going to do about abuses at big technology companies?”

ATTORNEY GENERAL WILLIAM BARR: “Well, there’s sort of a couple of lines being pursued. We have antitrust investigation of all the major Internet platforms or most of the major Internet platforms, and that’s very much underway. I expect to be making decisions in the next few weeks about actions on that. I think during the summer we’ll see some developments. But this issue of censorship is very troubling because our country was based and the Framers, as you know, believed the thing that would ultimately keep us free and keep a majority from repressing the minority is a lot of diversity of voices out there — a robust marketplace. But these behemoths have gotten vast, strong control over the expression of views and the public forum here in the United States. And they got there and I’ve said this is the biggest bait and switch in history. They got there by saying, ‘Hey, we’re going to be open to all views, you know, come join us because then you can have your views.’ So they built up this powerful network, very strong market power based on the representation that they were sort of open to all, as a sort of a bulletin board. But then when they got that market power, now they’re censoring views just like the example you gave. And they’re now censoring views. And so we’re getting increasingly monolithic viewpoints being presented to the American people rather than the kind of robust debate. So one thing we’re doing there is we’re saying that Rule 230, which is a rule that gave immunity to companies for taking down things and didn’t, therefore, convert them into a publisher where they’d be responsible for everything that appears on their site, we want to modify that so that they have to have clear terms of service. They have to show that what they took down they had reasonable grounds for saying it violated their terms of service. And they have to give notice and process to people’s whose content they take down. That’s one of the things that we’re proposing.”

KNOWLES: “This is perfectly reasonable to me. And yet, Senator, I know when you’ve brought up Rule 230 that people have harangued you for it, and said this is absolutely not the right way to go and just leave Twitter alone and leave Google alone and let them control the flow of information on the Internet.”

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): “Well, look, there’s good news on this in that I think there’s a growing and even bipartisan frustration with Big Tech, that you’ve got a handful of Silicon Valley billionaires that are the new colossus and they behave as if they’re untouchable. Let’s use the Twitter example from this week. You don’t have to go back very far. So the President of the United States sent out a tweet that if violent anarchists try to set up a lawless autonomous zone in Washington, D.C., that law enforcement will stop them. Twitter blocked that tweet. And said it was abusive for the president to say, ‘We’re not going to let violent anarchists take over our capital.’ I assume you’ve got a Silicon Valley billionaire on his yacht saying, ‘No, no. Silence, little one.’ And by the way, if they have the right to do that, if they can silence the president, if they can silence media outlets, what hope does an ordinary citizen have? The president at least has a pretty big megaphone, even if they do silence him. He doesn’t have difficulty being heard. How about the rest of us? And the absolute brazenness of it. Another example from this week, Google went after The Federalist, a conservative media outlet. Called them up and said, ‘Okay. Our problem is actually not with your content.’ They said, ‘We’re going to demonetize you because there’s some comments on your comment section that are objectionable.’ I don’t know if they identified the comments.”

KNOWLES: “So they’re going to take this news organization off of the advertising platform, which the advertising is what allows the news organization to exist. If you kick them off, you’re bankrupting the news.”

CRUZ: “It is doing exactly that. It is sucking the oxygen out. And a quick perusal of liberal websites show a bunch of them have comments sites, and you can find all sorts of obnoxious and offensive comments on the liberal websites. They’re not imposing that on them. And this is an interesting development, actually, for the DOJ investigation. One place you find comments is YouTube. Now, YouTube is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Google. It’s an incredibly profitable subsidiary of Google. I guarantee you could go right now today on YouTube, take a look at the comments and you will find racists, you will find profane, you will find offensive comments all over YouTube.”

KNOWLES: “And that’s just what they write to us. That’s just what they say about us. Imagine all the other people.”

CRUZ: “And Google is not imposing those terms on its wholly-owned YouTube, but is instead using, and this is where the censorship and free speech and issues intersect with antitrust laws. Because they’re a monopoly power, imposing differential standards on their competitors than they are on their own wholly-owned subsidiary.”

BARR: “Also, just think of the hypocrisy. The point that these big companies are saying is, ‘Look, we shouldn’t be held responsible for third party content on our website.’ So YouTube says, ‘If people say things that are defamatory on our website, we shouldn’t be held accountable for that because it’s good to have this kind of forum for people to come in.’ And yet when someone comes in on their website, they’re saying, ‘The rules that we want applied to us don’t apply to you. You’re responsible for what’s on your comments section.’”

The Daily Wire, headed by bestselling author and popular podcast host Ben Shapiro, is a leading provider of conservative news, cutting through the mainstream media’s rhetoric to provide readers the most important, relevant, and engaging stories of the day. Get inside access to The Daily Wire by becoming a member.

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