With Twitter and Facebook’s foolish attempt to censor the New York Post’s latest story on Hunter Biden’s corruption, conservatives have been quick once again to call for regulation of social media companies. They should be careful what they wish for.
The regulation conversation focuses mostly on Twitter — perhaps justifiably so. Jack Dorsey’s platform is known for making rules on the fly, almost always aimed at the right. There is no transparency in the process, nor is there any consistency. Many have pointed out that the standard Twitter applied to this story has not been applied to, say, the New York Times story on President Trump’s taxes.
It appears Dorsey is going to be hauled in front of Congress. It’s difficult to feel sympathy for him, given that he has brought it on himself. Twitter is a mess of conspiracy theories, misinformation, and harassment campaigns; plucking the New York Post out of the bunch for punishment is absurd. And yet, conservatives should remember that any regulatory powers they want to impose will be wielded by Democrats as well.
Yes, Twitter (and Facebook) tried to censor the New York Post’s story. But the keyword is tried. Thanks to the attempted censorship, what was simply another story in the category of Hunter Biden’s corruption has blown up. Tucker Carlson, the most-watched cable news host in the country, opened his program with it. The Trump campaign turned it into an advertisement, and the temporary suspensions of the GOP House Judiciary Committee and White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany Twitter accounts have added fuel to the flames.
This isn’t to say regulation isn’t warranted. Twitter, in particular, has spawned into an instantaneous distributor of information, one that has changed the dynamics of foreign policy. But it is a warning: A Democratic administration will be the one enforcing these regulations at some point.
What do you think Twitter would look like under a President Kamala Harris? What would happen to coronavirus coverage under a rumored Attorney General Andrew Cuomo? Any push to regulate by GOP members of Congress and conservative pundits should begin with these questions.
Maybe the answer to Twitter’s behavior is regulation. Maybe it isn’t. But the golden rule of politics is to consider what your political opponents do with the power you give them. Democrats have been learning this lesson for years now with Supreme Court appointments. Conservatives should be careful not to make the same mistakes with Big Tech.
This post first appeared on Here