Senator Josh Hawley (pictured above on Capitol Hill on Wednesday) wants to ‘break up’ tech companies that he says have grown too powerful and pose a ‘threat’ to liberty in America
Senator Josh Hawley says the most powerful tech companies like Facebook, Google, and Amazon are working to ‘transform America’ and pose the ‘gravest threat’ to liberty – and thus need to be broken up.
The Republican senator from Missouri is promoting his new book, The Tyranny of Big Tech, as one that ‘corporate press, corporate media, and corporate monopolies’ want ‘canceled.’
The book goes on sale on Tuesday.
Hawley was referring to the decision by publishing house Simon & Schuster to drop the book after the MAGA riot at the US Capitol on January 6.
Hawley and other Republicans objected to certifying the results of the November 3 presidential election, which was won by Joe Biden.
The senator was seen entering the US Capitol before the riot, raising his fist in a gesture to MAGA supporters.
After the violence that ensued, Hawley was slammed for encouraging an insurrection and inciting protesters to storm the Capitol. Newspaper editorials condemned him and there was a social media campaign to ban his book.
‘The irony is, the book is about the control Big Tech has over our politics, and over our society, and it was Big Tech that led the effort to get this canceled,’ the senator told Fox News.
Hawley has blasted social media giants like Facebook (left) and Twitter (right) for misusing personal data as well as ‘throttling’ news stories like the New York Post article about the Hunter Biden saga
Hawley also wants to enact legislation that he says would strip Amazon of unfair competitive advantages that it holds over other retailers
Hawley hit out at tech giant Google for also owning YouTube as well as GMail
In explaining its decision not to publish the book, Simon and Schuster said that it ‘cannot support Senator Hawley after his role in what became a dangerous threat.’
Hawley said of the decision by the publisher: ‘I think it was a petition drive that started on Twitter – certainly was amplified by Twitter, that caused the corporate publisher to say we ought to back away from this.’
Hawley’s book was eventually picked up by another publisher, Regnery. The senator said that he was ‘grateful there are still independent publishers.’
‘This is a book that corporate leftists don’t want anybody to read, and for good reason,’ Hawley said.
‘This is all about how big tech and mega corporations are working hand-in-hand with big government to try to run our country, silence our speech, and take over our government.’
‘And we have to stop them.’
The senator said the large tech conglomerates – Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Twitter – are ‘so ubiquitous, so powerful, they are more powerful by the day.’
Hawley accused tech firms of having ‘interfered big time’ in the 2020 presidential election.
Hawley’s book, The Tyranny of Big Tech, goes on sale on Tuesday
He specifically cited the controversial decision this past October by Twitter and Facebook to limit the circulation of a New York Post article about Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings.
The Post story was based on emails between the president’s son and an executive at Ukrainian energy firm Burisma Holdings. Twitter took down the story initially because it was obtained through ‘hacked materials.’
Two weeks later, Twitter, which had placed a lock on the Post’s account, removed the lock and allowed the story to be shared freely on its platform.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey told lawmakers in late April that the firm’s move to censor the story was a ‘mistake’ and that the company erred.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said that the social network throttled the spread of the Post’s Hunter Biden story after it received a warning from law enforcement officials to be on ‘heightened alert’ about ‘hack and leak operations.’
Hawley also criticized the large tech firms for ‘de-platforming’ former President Donald Trump after the events of January 6.
In an unprecedented step, Facebook and Twitter suspended Trump from posting to their platforms hours after the storming of the Capitol by his supporters.
Twitter locked Trump out of his account for 12 hours and said that future violations by Trump could result in a permanent suspension.
The company required the removal of three of Trump’s tweets, including a short video in which he urged those supporters to ‘go home’ while also repeating falsehoods about the integrity of the presidential election.
Trump’s account deleted those posts, Twitter said; had they remained, Twitter had threatened to extend his suspension.
Facebook and Instagram, which Facebook owns, followed up in the evening, announcing that Trump wouldn’t be able to post for 24 hours following two violations of its policies. He remains banned from those platforms and has appealed to Facebook’s supposedly independent ‘Oversight Board’ to be readmitted.
While some cheered the platforms’ actions, experts noted that the companies’ actions follow years of hemming and hawing on Trump and his supporters spreading dangerous misinformation and encouraging violence that have contributed to Wednesday’s violence.
Hawley blasted Twitter and Facebook for preventing the circulation of a link to a New York Post article about Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings in October
Twitter reversed its prior demand that the Post delete tweets linking to the Biden articles, after CEO Jack Dorsey faced excoriation in a Senate hearing in late October
Civil liberties advocates have argued that large tech firms wield too much power in determining what information the public can be exposed to and whether it is permissible to censor unpopular views from the internet.
‘These are folks that want to try to impose their agenda – and it is a leftist, woke agenda – on the country,’ Hawley said.
The senator warned that the tech industry ‘wants to tell people what you can post, wants to control the news, control what people read and what journalism looks like.’
‘This is really about information control,’ Hawley said.
‘These companies want to do all of that, and they have the power to do all of that, increasingly, and we need to do something about it.’
Hawley said that the Republican Party should lead the way in trying to ‘break companies up.’
‘Facebook currently owns Facebook, but also Instagram, and they also want to have their own currency, or something like it,’ Hawley said.
‘Google owns not just Google search, but Gmail, and all of these other products, and cloud computing services, and they own YouTube.
‘One company should not be allowed to have all of these different platforms,’ Hawley said.
He also mentioned the fact that Amazon, the online retailer, generates significant revenue from its ‘huge cloud computing system’ – Amazon Web Services.
‘They shouldn’t be able to do all of that simultaneously and control so much of the internet,’ Hawley said.
Last month, Hawley put forward legislation titled the ‘Bust Up Big Tech Act,’ which would bar internet companies that own search engines or online marketplaces from also hosting their own computing services.
Hawley faced backlash after objecting to the Electoral College results on January 6 and as an image went viral of him holding up a fist – appearing to encourage the pro-Trump mob as they descended on Capitol Hill
Former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said that the image of Sen. Josh Hawley raising his fist in support would become a ‘symbol of sedition’
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted the image of Hawley and called on the Missouri Republican to ‘resign immediately’
Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier set up around the U.S. Capitol Building to protect lawmakers as they certify the Electoral College results
Democratic Coalition co-founder Scott Dworkin said Hawley ‘needs to be arrested for his treason’
Trump supporters gathered outside the Capitol and were given a show of support from Hawley before breaking into the building in a chaotic display for several hours Wednesday
The bill would ban Amazon from selling Amazon-branded products on its own marketplace, which is used by other competitors. It would also prevent Amazon from owning the cloud computing services that other companies rely on for e-commerce.
Hawley said that if the law passed, social media would return to serve in the function that was originally intended.
‘I think if social media were truly social media, if it were really about communicating with each other, forming friend groups – think about Facebook before it introduced the newsfeed and algorithms that try to determine what we see and what we do, try to push advertising at us based on our behavior – before that, I think there could be a great benefit to having social media,’ Hawley said.
Hawley accused Facebook and Twitter of abusing the privacy of their users.
The two companies ‘take our data and personal information without our consent or knowledge, and then they try to use that in order to control what we see, sell stuff to us, and are constantly using artificial intelligence to push stories at us to get us to click on this, to buy that, to read that.’
‘I think that constant manipulation, which has become synonymous now with social media, I think that’s dangerous.
‘I think that’s bad, and I think the government shouldn’t be subsidizing it.’
Hawley said that if the public ‘can get to a place where we’re not being constantly manipulated by the companies, I think there can be great value in that.
‘I would say it is time we take back control over our own social communications from these companies, and practically speaking, people spend less time on the platforms, and do as much of our lives as we can with actual relationships, old fashioned meeting face-to-face, calling, texting,’ Hawley said.
‘But moving off the platforms so that they don’t control every aspect of our lives.’