Big Tech's bad actors: Digital media are liking their lock on free speech

The yearning for free expression is a thoroughly human aspiration and, unfortunately, so is the desire to control it. Big Tech is up to its prying eyeballs in both — opening new channels for expression it likes and squelching those it doesn’t. The double-dealers have been exposed by their attempts to ensure Republican Donald Trump goes down in defeat to Democrat Joe Biden in next week’s presidential election. Regardless of the outcome, a failure to hold digital media giants accountable for election interference would constitute a stunning loss for America.

Top social media-meisters, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, appeared virtually before the Senate Commerce Committee Wednesday to answer a burning question regarding a key provision of the Communications Decency Act: “Does Section 230’s sweeping immunity enable Big Tech bad behavior?” Given the industry’s inflammatory impact upon an already-combative political season, “bad” is a feeble label.

Congressional Republicans see misbehavior in social media’s desperate efforts to censor a recent bell-ringer in The New York Post. The story unveils details of emails belonging to Hunter Biden alluding to business schemes in Ukraine and China that peddled the influence of father Joe, the former U.S. vice president and current frontrunner for president.

Twitter blocked the newspaper’s account, preventing users from sharing the story until links to the article are deleted. In response to widespread condemnation of apparent censorship, a sheepish Mr. Dorsey tweeted, “Our communication around our actions on the @nypost article was not great.” Senators — and the American people — deserve a better explanation than a retrospective “oops.” For his part, Mr. Zuckerberg displayed his own “bad” conduct by slow-walking the sharing of the bombshell story on Facebook.

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