A warning about government policing of social media

Kevin Williamson of National Review Online raises a red flag about conservatives who think government should do something about political bias in social media.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is convening a meeting of state attorneys general to consider whether Facebook, Google, Twitter, and other social-media companies are “intentionally stifling the free exchange of ideas.” The honorable gentleman from Alabama should stick to his brief.

Two quick questions asked and answered. One: Do these companies treat conservatives unfairly? Yes, they do. Two: Is that any business of the attorney general of the United States of America? No, it isn’t. …

… [T]his is not about political content, and it isn’t even really about political bias: Facebook, Google, et al. operate in an almost uniformly Left-Democratic culture, and they heard a great deal from both organized and semi-organized efforts from progressives and left-wing organizations whose sole purpose in life is trying to discredit conservative figures and exclude conservatives from public discourse. But they are not responding to concerns about “safety,” and they are not ordinarily responding to concerns about possible legal issues. They are responding to peer pressure. What the Left has discovered is that the bosses at Facebook and Google and Twitter can be embarrassed, and that figures such as Alex Jones embarrass them in a way that figures such as Louis Farrakhan do not. …

… Peer pressure is not a problem that is likely to be effectively solved through the careful ministrations of the U.S. Department of Justice, or by the attentions of state prosecutors. And Republicans here are coming dangerously close to the Democrats’ game: abusing prosecutorial powers to bully their political opponents on issues such as climate change, under the transparent and risible pretense that they are investigating securities fraud or consumer-safety laws.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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