UPDATED 12:30 PM PT – Wednesday, February 3, 2021
As conservatives continue to push for free speech for all, members of the left are hopeful the federal government will step in. On Tuesday, a columnist for the New York Times suggested that Joe Biden construct a cross-agency taskforce to regulate the spread of ideas online.
The article went through a list of experts who supported the idea. Some of them even called for a so-called “Truth Commission,” which is a name many online compared to George Orwell’s “Ministry of Truth” in the novel “1984.”
Mainstream media outlets claimed the move would limit the spread of alleged misinformation and its connection to purported domestic extremism. However, while a recent study put out by researchers of New York University tried to claim that one-sided censorship happens online, the same report pointed out that it’s unclear because sites like Twitter don’t share enough data to show it also happens to those on the left.
Critics took aim at the idea of such strong government intervention. They said it sets a dangerous precedent and could hinder free speech. Critics also noted the appointment of a so-called “reality czar” could simply add to the distrust that some Americans have when it comes to Big Tech.
“And the worst part, they change the rules constantly based on whatever they deem to be politically correct at any given point in time,” Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) said. “These rules and standards are often changed without the knowledge of their users, moving the goal post on Floridians and others who use these open forums for discourse and as a source for information. When a social media company applies these standards unequally on users, this is discrimination, pure and simple.”
John Hopkins University Applied Economics Professor Steve Hanke quoted Orwell and said, “who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”
George Orwell: “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.” https://t.co/9Nu5ifKrrn
— Prof. Steve Hanke (@steve_hanke) February 2, 2021
GOP lobbyists suggested a variation of net neutrality be extended to social media and Big Tech to combat anti-conservative bias. Though they recognized the struggle to achieve something of this nature under a Biden administration and with a Democrat-majority Congress, lobbyists said it is enough to put the spotlight on the issue.