Big Tech Gives Violent Extremists a Megaphone. Congress Must Act.
Black lives matter more than Facebook’s profits. The safety of ethnic, gender, and religious minorities counts more than Google’s cash flow. America’s democracy is more important than Amazon’s bottom line.
As concerned Americans representing big cities and rural towns, we call on Congress and the Biden administration to hold Big Tech accountable – with legislation requiring platforms to adopt and enforce real moderation standards; restrict disinformation and misinformation; reject paid and targeted advertising that spreads extremist rhetoric; and end the marketing of hate merchandise.
This month, white supremacists, empowered and emboldened by lies spread on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook, and clad in Proud Boys garb sold on Amazon, used these platforms to launch a violent assault on the United States Capitol and our democracy that left five people dead, including a police officer.
We are not surprised by Big Tech’s role in this insurrection. This summer, at the height of racial justice demonstrations, Amazon was selling hats with the slogan “Black Lives Don’t Matter,” and glorifying mass shooters. These companies have become wealthy and powerful by relentlessly pursuing profit at the expense of common-sense standards, humanity, and decency. Unless regulated by Congress, they will do whatever it takes to drive revenue: spread disinformation, peddle dangerous products, facilitate communications among violent extremists, and hand hate speech a global megaphone.
After the attack on the Capitol, Big Tech once again responded with too little, late. Platforms have proven over and over that they will not address the widespread harm caused by their revenue and growth obsessions. Another tech-driven tragedy is inevitable unless our leaders recognize the damage these companies have done. We call on Congress and the Biden Administration to create and vigorously enforce meaningful regulation for Big Tech and do everything in their power to protect our nation, our democracy, and our brothers and sisters who have been put further at risk due to the failures of these companies. This is an imperative step that must be taken by our elected leaders in order to begin healing the United States and her people.
American Family Voices
Change the Ref
Fund for Reparations Now
National African American Reparations Commission
People for the American Way
Dr. Abdul El-Sayed