Lankford Takes on Big Tech at CPAC 2022
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ORLANDO, FL – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) took the stage at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) 2022 in a panel discussion about the hypocrisy and censorship from Big Tech companies who arbitrarily apply their subjective rules, which has stifled conservative voices. Lankford was joined in the discussion by Sean Davis, co-founder of The Federalist, and Rachel Bovard, The Federalist's senior tech columnist and the senior director of policy at the Conservative Partnership Institute.
Lankford cited examples of social media platforms and Big Tech giants like Twitter that suspend conservative accounts and advertisements while allowing authoritarian dictators, the Chinese Communist Party, and the Kremlin to remain on and spread their propaganda. You can view and download Lankford’s side-by-side slides from his presentation HERE.
Lankford leads the Senate in advocacy for religious liberty and free speech for all. Last year, Lankford demanded answers from the Google CEO, Sundar Pichai, on Google’s double standard of censoring pro-life Abortion Pill Reversal (APR) advertisements while allowing ads for deadly abortion pills. Lankford sent a letter to the head of Amazon asking why “Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in His Own Words,” a documentary about the life of US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, was removed from their streaming service. Lankford sent a letter to The Walt Disney Company’s Chief Executive Officer, Bob Chapek, asking about Disney’s cooperation with elements of the Chinese Communist Party’s security and propaganda authorities to make the live-action version of Mulan.
On Google censorship of how to save babies from abortion while promoting mail-order chemical abortion ads
Lankford: So this is what’s happened with Google. There’s something called ‘Live Action.” Are any of y’all familiar with Live Action? Amazing work that they do on exposing lots of different areas. Live Action is putting out information because right now the biggest push on abortion is abortion pills. It’s chemical abortions, where they’ll literally mail-order people an abortion. So multiple entities are promoting chemical abortions and how you can be mailed this stuff. Live Action’s also saying, ‘If you take the first pill in this, there is a way to reverse that and actually save the life of the child.’ So Live Action’s actually putting out the information, saying, “Here’s how to save your child, if you choose to do that.’ Google is allowing the ads to be able to get an abortion but not allowing the ads to be able to save the life of the child. So, if you want to take the life of your child, you can run that ad. If you want to protect the life of your child, you cannot.
On Facebook’s arbitrary application of its rules
Lankford: It’s against their rules to promote anything unlawful. That should make sense. If you’re going to promote something unlawful, you can’t do that—except if it’s illegally crossing our southern border. They will help you facilitate illegally crossing our southern border—that includes individuals reaching out to human smugglers Now this is directly from Meta itself, from Facebook, to say, if people are reaching out to human smugglers and want to get in contact with them to be able to illegally cross the border, that is allowable under Facebook rules but everything else they say ‘illegal’ is not allowable. If you ever want to get into context about what we’re up against. This is what we’re up against. It’s completely subjective. It’s what they feel like at the moment. It allows one group to be able to speak out in a constitutionally protected speech and another group to just be ignored or wiped out or blocked.
On Section 230
Lankford: Section 230—we need to rip it out and start all over again on it. The Section 230 was created in the earliest days of the internet to be able to make sure that we could go after child porn, that we could go after those things, that if any of those entities show up, we have the opportunity to be able to get those things out. And then we encourage those companies, in fact requires those companies to be able to get it. Now it’s become a shield that they hide behind in the process, and it has to be addressed.
We just used the Section 230 piece a couple of years ago to deal with a group called Backpage. Backpage was online literally sex trafficking children through their site saying, ‘Not our problem. Not our problem’ when it was clearly that’s what the whole thing was designed to do was to be able to traffic children into all kinds of horrible stuff… we’ve got to be able to have real legislative pieces that they can’t come through and say…‘This is constitutionally protected speech, but I don’t like this particular version of it,” or ‘This is illegal activity, but I’m going to look the other way when it’s illegal activity in China because I want to be able to sell to a billion people in China but then I’m going to promote illegal activity of crossing the border.’
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