Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said Big Tech platforms do not have to respect the First Amendment’s free speech provisions – which is true. But he accused social media platforms of being “too lax and lazy about enforcing their own terms of service” and called for more censorship.
“The tech companies have been far too lax and lazy about enforcing their own terms of service,” said Greenblatt, speaking during a congressional hearing. “They do not, as businesses, have to abide by the First Amendment.”
He said that tech companies should do more to handle content that incites violence. He acknowledged the steps taken over the past months but noted the removals should have been done a long time ago.
“But even then, freedom of expression isn’t the freedom to incite violence,” he explained. “And what’s happened in the past 30 days – taking off the worst actors – it should have happened years ago.”
Greenblatt was also asked if the “presidential rhetoric” played a role in fostering hate over the past four years.
“Fighting hate previously was not a Republican issue or Democratic issue, it was a bipartisan issue. That changed in the last four years,” Greenblatt said. “The prior president, indeed… from the rhetoric he used on the campaign in 2015 and 2016… when he would retweet white supremacists, and he would use their language, terms like ‘globalists,’ or whatnot, and ‘George Soros.’”
“That created the conditions in which they felt encouraged,” he added.
“The extremists felt emboldened, congresswoman [Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY)], and they leapt into the vacuum that he created, and they recruited, they did more public events, they ran for office, and they really exploited social media,” said the ADL CEO. “So they felt emboldened.”