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Big Tech companies should make up their minds. Are they public fora, open to one and all, that faithfully carry an infinite spectrum of messages — much as AT&T phone lines transmit liberal, moderate, and conservative robocalls during election season? Or are they private institutions, exclusively for those with whom they agree — much as Mother Jones peddles the Left and National Review promotes the Right?
Either approach is fine and honorable. But Facebook, Google, YouTube, and their ilk should not do both — especially while morphing into the private/exclusive model, and savoring government protection to boot.
Big Tech’s private-sector censorship has been on vivid display during the COVID-19 crisis. Opinions with which these companies differ simply disappear, as three examples show in just the last week.
Department of Homeland Security scientist William Bryan said at President Donald J. Trump’s April 23 press briefing that ultraviolet light seems to kill COVID-19. Trump wondered aloud, “supposing you brought the light inside the body.” That’s all it took for Hate Trump, Inc. to hammer the president for medical malpractice. (He also mused over the prospect of doctors using disinfectants to treat patients, which the Trump-loathing press wildly inflated into “reports” that he wanted physicians to inject COVID-19 patients with Lysol.)