For too long Americans have watched Big Tech trample on the principles of the First Amendment—free speech, freedom of thought and belief, free assembly and the open exchange of ideas. As more information is filtered through online platforms, the First Amendment is becoming a dead letter. That’s why I’m taking action to hold these corporations accountable.
Today, I’m introducing the 21st Century Foundation for the Right to Express and Engage in Speech Act (or the 21st Century FREE Speech Act), which would restore the Bill of Rights—rather than the whims of big companies—as the guide for what Americans can say or hear in today’s public square.
The modern public square is dominated by ubiquitous platforms facing little meaningful competition. Instead of being accountable to consumers or voters, the companies that dominate communication today use opaque, inconsistent practices to control the information Americans get to see and discuss. As Justice Clarence Thomas noted in a recent Supreme Court opinion, common carriers—such as trains or phone networks, which are essential to everyday goings-on, connecting people and information—have historically been subject “to special regulations, including a general requirement to serve all comers” without discrimination. The same logic should apply today to Big Tech. Senator Bill Hagerty writes in the Wall Street Journal.