Last Updated on January 14, 2021
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced Wednesday that he has issued civil investigative demands (CIDs) to Facebook, Twitter, Google, Amazon Web Services, and Apple following the Big Tech monopolies’ most recent wave of politically motivated crackdowns on President Donald Trump and his supporters.
In a statement released by Paxton’s office, the Texas AG stated that the CIDs issued this week “are asking the companies for their policies and practices regarding content moderation and, more specifically, for information related to Parler, a social media application recently terminated or blocked by Google, Amazon, and Apple.”
“First Amendment rights and transparency must be maintained for a free online community to operate and thrive,” Paxton said in the statement. “However, the seemingly coordinated de-platforming of the President of the United States and several leading voices not only chills free speech, it wholly silences those whose speech and political beliefs do not align with leaders of Big Tech companies.”
The statement went on to reference the purge of President Trump: “For years, these Big Tech companies have silenced voices in the social media sphere and shut down competing companies and platforms. It has only grown worse in recent months. And just last week, this discriminatory action included the unprecedented step of removing and blocking President Donald Trump from online media platforms.”
Paxton added, “Every American should be concerned about this large-scale silencing and the effects it will have on the future of free speech.”
Though Paxton remains hopeful that hopeful that “these companies will set aside partisan politics and cooperate with these CIDs,” it is unclear how effective the request for transparency will be against Big Tech monopolies.
U.S. lawmakers have repeatedly failed to create any substantive policies that check the power of Big Tech to restrict free speech.
Meanwhile, countries such as Poland and Uganda have taken far more effectual action to protect free speech.
This week, Facebook and Twitter were humiliated when Uganda blocked the platforms from ISPs for interfering in local elections, with Twitter calling the move a “violation of basic human rights.”