In response to Big Tech’s nearly unified ban on the social media app Parler, conservatives have been sounding the alarm over what it could mean for the future of speech.
Speaking with Maria Bartiromo on “Sunday Morning Futures,” Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) said that the collective attack on Twitter alternative Parler by Amazon, Apple, and Google warrants an investigation for any violations of antitrust laws, civil rights, and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.
“The effect of this is that there is no longer a free and open social media company or site for any American to get on any longer, because these big companies – Apple, Amazon, Google – they have just destroyed a — what was likely — Parler is likely a billion-dollar company,” said Nunes. “Poof, it’s gone. But it’s more than just the financial aspect to that. Republicans have no way to communicate. If — it doesn’t even matter if you’re a Republican or conservative.”
“If you don’t want to be regulated by left-wingers that are at Twitter and Facebook and Instagram, where you get shadowbanned, nobody gets to see you … they get to decide what’s violent or not violent; it’s preposterous,” Nunes continued. “So, I don’t know where the hell the Department of Justice is at right now or the FBI. This is clearly a violation of antitrust, civil rights, the RICO statute. There should be a racketeering investigation on all the people that coordinated this attack on not only a company, but on all of those like us, like me, like you, Maria. I have 3 million followers on Parler. Tonight, I will no longer be able to communicate with those people. And they’re Americans.”
Amazon, Apple, and Google charged that Parler failed to regulate violent speech, which allegedly culminated in the violent riot on Capitol Hill last Wednesday.
“We have received numerous complaints regarding objectionable content in your Parler service, accusations that the Parler app was used to plan, coordinate, and facilitate the illegal activities in Washington D.C. on January 6, 2021 that led (among other things) to loss of life, numerous injuries, and the destruction of property,” Apple wrote in a letter to Parler. “The app also appears to continue to be used to plan and facilitate yet further illegal and dangerous activities.”
Nunes, however, stressed that Parler worked in accordance with the law and would take action against people who engaged in illegal activity on the site.
After Twitter removed President Trump’s personal account from its platform, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) – no friend of President Trump – expressed concern about Big Tech’s power to silence people in the future.
“For months, President Trump has been using social media platforms to seed doubt about the results of the election and to undermine the will of voters. We understand the desire to permanently suspend him now, but it should concern everyone when companies like Facebook and Twitter wield the unchecked power to remove people from platforms that have become indispensable for the speech of billions – especially when political realities make those decisions easier. President Trump can turn to his press team or Fox News to communicate with the public, but others – like the many Black, Brown, and LGBTQ activists who have been censored by social media companies – will not have that luxury. It is our hope that these companies will apply their rules transparently to everyone,” the ACLU wrote.