“You created these platforms,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) informed the top legal minds at Facebook, Twitter, and Google, “and now they’re being misused.”
“And you have to be the ones who do something about it — or we will.”
Take that as a threat.
But also take it as the grand moment when the Establishment showed its hand.
Consider: Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube (a Google product) are “media platforms.” So are books, libraries, newspapers and newsstands. Imagine being a king right after Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press. Very quickly, the world changed.
People thought differently. And they began demanding change from government. The sovereigns had to make room for subjects-turned-citizens.
Royalty and aristocracy did try to regulate the new platforms of information and opinion. Censorship was all-too-common. The rulers killed upstarts for writing the wrong things, saying the wrong things.
So, which side would you be on, Mrs. Feinstein?
That is Scott Shackford’s basic take on this. I’m with him.
I just wish to expand: in my lifetime the media platforms of newspapers and television were regulated. Heavily. Mergers and business purchases were subject to government permission; the electromagnetic spectrum was licensed rather than treated as private property, and the actual content of radio and TV shows were regulated by the FCC.
And the Feinsteins of Washington got awfully secure in their positions. Had the regulation of American media done its trick?
Enter new media, uncorking the bottle of opinion.
No wonder the Establishment is scared.
We shouldn’t let them regulate political content on the Internet. Demand, instead, the opposite: a complete repeal of the regulation of business management — and non-criminal content regulation — of all media platforms
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.