Marco Rubio has called for limits to the power of social media and tech companies, pointing to the silencing of conservative voices and controversial opinions after Facebook last month reversed its policy of removing posts claiming COVID-19 is man-made causes.
Appearing on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show Thursday night, the Florida senator talked about the dangers now posed by “unelected, inexplicably anonymous people who decide what we can say to each other and what we can share.”
Rubio described big tech companies as “the new gatekeepers of the public square in American politics.”
Marco Rubio appeared on Fox News Thursday night to complain about the power of social media and tech companies. He said five companies — Google, Facebook, Apple, Twitter and Amazon — could control who was allowed to voice opinions and who was silenced, as well as control which stories were allowed to spread and which were blocked.
Florida senator Rubio appeared on Sean Hannity’s show Thursday nightavond
Since January, Donald Trump has been banned from most social media platforms out of concerns over his ability to cause unrest, which resulted in the Capitol riots. Other conservative figures such as Steve Bannon, Trump’s 2016 campaign manager and attorney Sidney Powell, who has promoted baseless conspiracy theories about election fraud, have also been removed.
“Five companies in America now have the power to wipe out and silence everyone,” Rubio says.
“Amazon, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Apple – they all come together and decide: we’re going to exterminate someone.”
Rubio said the impact of the social media kickoff was dramatic.
‘You are done. You can’t communicate with the outside world,’ he said.
Trump agrees, telling OAN last month that blocking was an obstacle to fundraising. He has said he plans to launch his own rival social media network. On Wednesday, a blog believed to be a precursor to the new network was closed permanently, its spokesman Jason Miller confirmed.
Rubio said that in addition to silencing people, social media companies also dictated what could be reported and promoted.
Stories about Joe Biden’s son, Hunter (above, pictured in April 2016) were blocked by Twitter
Hunter Biden’s laptop was left in a Delaware repair shop and handed over to reporters before the election. It spawned a series of scathing stories about the haunted businessman’s crack habit, spending on prostitutes and relationships. There were also photos (above) and emails and texts with his dad
Photos, videos and audio recordings of Hunter were discovered last year on his abandoned laptop – including photos of him with a crack pipe (pictured). He says he was so addicted to drugs and alcohol at the time that he doesn’t know if the laptop is his
He referred to articles about Joe Biden’s son Hunter in The New York Post, which were removed from Twitter when the platform believed they had been hacked. The move was made shortly before the election, and Twitter critics said it was intended to protect the Democratic presidential candidate from unflattering stories.
CEO Jack Dorsey later apologized for their mistake and reversed the listing ban.
“They have now put themselves in a position to determine what news can be re-reported,” Rubio says.
“Remember those articles about Hunter Biden?
“They destroyed the New York Post story, they didn’t want to spread it.”
And he noted how last week Facebook reversed its ban on discussions of the “lab leak” theory.
Facebook had previously banned discussions of the “lab leak” theory, suggesting that COVID-19 was escaping a Wuhan lab (pictured), rather than evolving naturally. The ban was introduced because there was previously scientific consensus that the idea of a “lab leak” was a conspiracy theory. Now the idea is gaining legitimacy and last week Facebook reversed the ban on discussion
ORIGIN OF COVID-19: THE THEORIES
US state officials have given impetus to the idea that COVID-19 was either leaked from a lab or created by China as some sort of weapon against humanity.
It was first thought that a wet market in Wuhan was the breeding ground of the virus, where the sale of live, wild animals would have provided the perfect opportunity for the virus to spread naturally between species.
It is thought that the virus first developed in bats before being passed on to a creature such as a pangolin who then came into contact with humans and transmitted the virus.
Once it got into humans, it probably mutated to survive and then got out of control due to an unprepared population.
There are also theories that the virus was genetically manipulated by scientists, or that it has been around for years and has even killed people in the past.
Two high-security labs in the city — the Wuhan Center for Disease Control and the Wuhan Institute of Virology — have been the subject of many conspiracy theories.
President Donald Trump claims he’s seen evidence that the virus, which he blames only on China, comes from the Wuhan Institute of Virology — but he’s not allowed to reveal it.
The Institute has denied the claims from the early days of the outbreak.
In April, Trump said, “We are conducting a very thorough investigation into this terrible situation that has occurred.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed in May that there is “enormous evidence” that the coronavirus outbreak originated in a Chinese lab – but has provided none of the alleged evidence.
“They are going back and lifting a ban on stories about the origins of the COVID-19 virus because they have proven true,” he said.
‘This is the danger here.
“You have unelected, inexplicably anonymous people who decide what we can say to each other and what we can share. That is a very dangerous moment.
“They’ve basically taken over government powers without being accountable to anyone.”
Facebook said in a statement last week that the company would continue to shift its policies based on new information.
“In light of ongoing investigations into the origins of COVID-19 and in consultation with public health experts, we will no longer remove the claim that COVID-19 is man-made from our apps,” spokeswoman Dani Lever said. .
“We will continue to work with health experts to keep pace with the changing nature of the pandemic and update our policies regularly as new facts and trends emerge.”
Critics of the power of Big Tech have seized upon the litany of complaints to call for more regulation.
Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill generally agree that changes should be made to Section 230, a provision in the Communications Decency Act that provides legal protection for social media companies.
It protects social media companies, unlike newspapers and broadcasters, from prosecution for the content posted on their platforms.
Republicans have widely called for reform or repeal of the law over their perception that Silicon Valley powerhouses are biased against conservative views and work to censor conservatives.
Democrats, meanwhile, agree that reforms are needed, arguing that Section 230 prevents social media companies from doing more to moderate their platforms, such as removing or limiting hate speech and misinformation.