According to a an early draft of an Executive Order (EO), the White House will instruct federal law enforcement and antitrust agencies to launch investigations into the business practices of Facebook, Google and other social media companies, according to Bloomberg which says it has seen the draft.
While not specifically calling out companies by name, the document orders US antitrust officials to “thoroughly investigate whether any online platform has acted in violation of the antitrust laws,” while instructing other agencies to return recommendations within a month of Trump signing the EO which could potentially “protect competition among online platforms and address online platform bias.”
The document doesn’t name any specific companies. If signed, the order would represent a significant escalation of Trump’s antipathy toward Google, Facebook, Twitter and other social media companies, whom he has publicly accused of silencing conservative voices and news sources online.
The draft order directs that any actions federal agencies take should be “consistent with other laws” — an apparent nod to concerns that it could threaten the traditional independence of U.S. law enforcement or conflict with the First Amendment, which protects political views from government regulation. –Bloomberg – READ MORE
Google has created a prototype search engine for China that would blacklist terms associated with dissent and alert the government whenever any citizen attempted to search for those terms.
This news may have been published this past weekend, but the concerns over Google and other tech giants’ relationship with China has been cause for concern for more than a decade.
Twelve years ago, in 2006, a congressional hearing on the Internet in China took major tech companies — Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, and Cisco — to task for partnering with Beijing in censoring its citizens.
Then-Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA), the only Holocaust survivor to ever serve in Congress, railed against the companies in his opening statements, in what now sounds like an eerie forecast of what would only become worse.
“Instead of using their power and creativity to bring openness and free speech to China, they have caved in to Beijing’s outrageous but predictable demands simply for the sake of profits,” Lantos said. “These captains of industry should have been developing new technologies to bypass the sickening censorship of government and repugnant barriers to the Internet. Instead, they enthusiastically volunteered for the Chinese censorship brigade.” – READ MORE