Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) demanded “algorithmic justice” in the wake of billionaire Elon Musk’s successful bid to take control of Twitter.
Markey argued that having a handful of billionaires in control of major social media platforms — like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram — was an unacceptable scenario and called on Congress to act to restrain them.
“Elon Musk and a handful of billionaires now have dangerous influence over the most powerful online platforms,” Markey tweeted on Tuesday afternoon. “They can’t be trusted, and self-regulation has failed. We must pass laws to protect privacy and promote algorithmic justice for internet users, especially for kids.”
Elon Musk and a handful of billionaires now have dangerous influence over the most powerful online platforms. They can't be trusted, and self-regulation has failed. We must pass laws to protect privacy and promote algorithmic justice for internet users, especially for kids.
— Ed Markey (@SenMarkey) April 26, 2022
“New current thing just dropped: ‘algorithmic justice,'” Marc Andreessen commented.
“It’s cute how progressives dig up ever more adjectives to qualify ‘justice,’ none of which mean real justice. ‘Algorithmic justice’ = ‘censorship,'” @irishspy tweeted.
Congressman Dan Bishop (R-NC) pointed out the fact that, prior to Musk’s purchase, billionaires already had control of social media — like Facebook/Instagram’s Mark Zuckerberg.
“But 2 days ago this influence from billionaires was fine?” he asked.
But 2 days ago this influence from billionaires was fine? https://t.co/iX3CmvbQ4t
— Rep. Dan Bishop (@RepDanBishop) April 26, 2022
“I guess before yesterday everything was fine,” communications strategist Tim Murtaugh agreed.
“Washington currently has dangerous influence over the most powerful online platforms. And Washington most certainly can’t be trusted. So we should be very worried when they promise to pass laws, especially in the name of ‘algorithmic justice,'” the Wall Street Journal’s Kimberley Strassel warned.
“What about the past 24 hours has spelled the failure of self-regulation?” @neontaster asked. “Like literally what actually happened in practice? Nothing.”
MSNBC host Ari Melber had a similar reaction during his Monday broadcast, asking what would stop Twitter under Elon Musk from stifling certain voices and amplifying others, particularly in an effort to drive certain political outcomes.
“If you own all of Twitter or Facebook or what have you. You don’t have to explain yourself. You don’t even have to be transparent. You could secretly ban one party’s candidate or all of its candidates, all of its nominees. You could just secretly turn down the reach of their stuff and turn up the reach of something else and the rest of us might not find out until after the election,” Melber said. “Elon Musk says this is all to help people because he is just a free speech, philosophically clear, open-minded helper.”
Critics immediately mocked Melber, noting that Twitter had been doing just that to primarily conservative voices for the past several years. Radio host Clay Travis noted, “MSNBC ‘talent’ suddenly realizes the owners of Twitter can rig the entire site. This is amazing to watch. Does he not realize all of this was already done to Republicans?”