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Tucker Carlson slams “conservative” think tanks “pandering to tech elite”

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When the Communications Decency Act (CDA) passed in the US in 1996, it was originally met with concern from digital rights advocates. But one portion of it, Section 230, has been hailed as guaranteeing free speech and interactions online by allowing providers and social media platforms to host third-party, user-generated content without making themselves legally liable.

There is no doubt that tech corporations would rather censor speech than go to court to defend it – so without Section 230, the internet would have evolved into a much different place.

But modern-day critics of the way social media networks conduct their business under Section 230 protections argue that they have turned the idea on its head, engaging in political and ideological bias and favoritism, while remaining unaccountable and outside the law thanks to this regulation.

Among those who want this legislation amended is Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who says tech giants are using these legal protections to censor political speech – and points the finger at several foundations and think tanks, including the Heritage Foundation and the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI).

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Carlson alleges some ultimately anti-conservative activities of nominally conservative groups who are said to be funded by Big Tech, resulting in their opposition to any regulation that would defend against the tech industry’s political biases.

“A recent paper by Heritage, entitled ‘Free Enterprise Is the Best Remedy For Online Bias Concerns,’ defends the special privileges that Congress has given to left-wing Silicon Valley monopolies. And if conservatives don’t like it, Heritage says, well they can just start their own Google!”

The two think tanks have now responded to the Fox News host.

The Heritage Foundation said that Carlson is a former employee who is aware of the values and principles the group holds, expressing their disappointment at what they saw as “ad hominem attacks.”

The think tank asserted its long-standing commitment to “empowering consumers rather than government” and mentioned that it strongly criticized Google for leaving the US government’s Project Maven and for cooperating with China’s authorities.

CEI, meanwhile, said they and others were targeted by Carlson for “opposition to using government power to intervene in markets.”

In addition, the think tank said that unlike Big Tech, it spoke against “government interference into technology” during the net neutrality debate, for the sake of protecting competition, innovation, and consumers.

CEI also argued its case as a free-market advocate opposed to anti-trust legislation, and in favor of reforms that would allow greater economic liberty.

Earlier this year it was revealed that The Heritage Foundation were providing op-eds to media organizations opposing big tech regulation but didn’t disclose that they were donors to companies such as Google.

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