At a panel at CPAC titled, “The Future of Social Media in the Public Square,” MRC Vice President of Business, Culture, and Techwatch Dan Gainor explained why the tech companies wanted to restrict conservative speech online.
“The reason why conservatives are so powerful online is because they were so badly treated by the traditional media. So conservatives went online,” he told the other people on the panel, including Hillsdale College professor Matthew Spalding, Executive Director of Americans for Tax Reform Chris Butler, Director of Civil Liberties at TechFreedom Ashkhen Kazaryan, and Director for Government Affairs for the American Principles Project Jon Schweppe.
Big Tech, argued Gainor, used to be in favor of freedom of speech. “Take a look at the politics for a second,” he said. “In 2008, Barack Obama won the election with some involvement online in social media, particularly Facebook. In 2012, he had a pretty sophisticated operation, and won again. And that was great. Everybody was singing the praises of free speech.”
That changed when President Donald Trump was elected. Gainor said, “And 2016 rolled around, and Donald Trump won with a combination of social media, Twitter bombacity, Facebook sophistication, and everything freaking changed at that point. And suddenly, the tech world, which loved free speech, turned around and said, ‘Oh, this is bad.’ The major media, which allegedly loved free speech, now wanted the tech world to restrict us. Politicians, the left, everybody suddenly started cracking down.”
Schweppe had said before this that, “We have a concentration of power and a few incredibly large multinational corporations. We’ve seen that these corporations are willing to exert that power to censor or move content that would probably indict every single person in this room.”