Gaetz: 'Excited' to See Bipartisan Efforts Against Big Tech
Rep. Matt Gaetz said Thursday that he is "excited" that Democrats and Republicans appear to want to work together on pushing back against the nation's big technology companies and their hold on the United States when CEOs from Apple, Facebook, Google, and Amazon testified before Congress Wednesday.
"Whether it's Amazon stealing products, Facebook spying on their users, or Google refusing to work with the U.S. military and then jumping overseas to advantage the targeting capabilities of Chinese fighter jets, I think it's right for us to ask not what America can do for our technology companies, but perhaps what our technology companies can do for America," the Florida Republican, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, said on Fox Business' "Mornings With Maria."
He said that he is excited that there is a bipartisan effort that will "define the future and how users will interface with our major technology platforms."
The Telecommunications Act of 1996 gave digital platforms liability protections that they still enjoy under the "auspices that they are neutral," said Gaetz. "Those protections have allowed these companies to grow very large but we haven't always seen neutrality. What we learned from the hearing yesterday is that particularly with Google and Facebook, the people that work at those companies have the ability to go and manipulate what you see and what you think because they want to control how you act."
But such protections will go away if the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice engages in aggressive litigation to showcase the lack of neutrality, but that won't happen, said Gaetz.
"Far too much of Congress is bought off by Big Tech, whether it's through PAC donations or whether, frankly, a lot of Big Tech goes and hires up everybody's staff to work for them and it's quite an incestuous process," said Gaetz. "If we have gumption at the DOJ, I think we can force the transparency that will animate changes that will allow us to be able to use online platforms in a way that allows users to seek the information they want rather than being socially controlled by Silicon Valley Big Tech overlords."