This is pretty surprising – in an interview with Breitbart News, Ted Cruz said that he would consider bringing up an anti-trust action against Facebook and other tech companies, and bust them up like we did to Standard Oil a hundred years ago.
Cruz also considered the use f [sic] antitrust laws to curb technology companies’ power. He remarked, “A second remedy is considering using anti-trust laws. By any measure, Facebook is larger and more powerful than Standard Oil was the antitrust laws broke it up. It’s larger and more power than AT&T was when antitrust laws broke it up and given that, I think we need to have serious consideration about the massive power we’re seeing of these tech companies to subvert our democratic process.”
Before that he said he was thinking about making Facebook susceptible to libel laws as well – something that Trump was talking about before the election:
Cruz considered exposing technology firms to libel lawsuits to curb their political manipulation of the availability of information on their platforms. He said, “Now your question is a hard one and a good one. What remedies are there? I would say there are principally two. Number one, the question I asked Mark Zuckerberg, the opening question was, ‘Does Facebook consider itself a neutral public form?’ He danced around and refused to answer that. The reason the question matters is much, is under current law, Facebook and other tech companies have immunity from liability, so if someone posts something on their site, they can’t be sued for it, and it’s under what’s called the Communications Decency Act, section 230. The entire reason Congress enacted section 230 was under the assumption these tech sites would be neutral public forums, [that] they would allow people to be speaking. So the reasoning was, we’ll protect you from being sued because it’s not you speaking, it’s somebody else. Well, if Facebook and the other tech companies are going to choose instead to be partisan political speakers, they have a right to do that. They’ve got a First Amendment to become and to be partisan political speakers, but there’s no reason on Earth they should get a special immunity from liability from Congress.”
Cruz really went after Mark Zuckerberg during his testimony before Congress, so I guess this shouldn’t be too surprising, but on the other hand, it seems out of character for a freedom-lovin’ Texan to advocate for the state to bust up a private business…