AZ Senate Candidate Blake Masters On Big Tech: No ‘Platform Immunity’ If You’re ‘Censoring Content And Acting Like A Publisher’


In July, 35-year-old Blake Masters, who is Chief Operating Officer of Thiel Capital and president of The Thiel Foundation, announced his candidacy for Senate in Arizona.

Should Masters win the Republican primary next August, he will face off against Democratic Senator Mark Kelley in November 2022. According to a third-quarter Federal Elections Commission (FEC) filing, Masters has raised more than $1.1 million.

On Monday, I had the opportunity to speak with Masters about a variety of topics, including big tech censorship. I also spoke with Masters about the border, which you can check out here (and the full Blake Masters interview will be released on Sunday).

With some politicians wanting to eliminate Section 230, others wanting to refine it, and still others who believe that anti-trust is the answer to big tech regulation, I asked Masters what he believes should be done about the issue.

He replied, stating that a radical reformation of Section 230, or stripping “the protection from liability from these companies,” is not off the table.

“If they want to act like publishers, we’ll treat them like publishers,” Masters said. “You don’t get platform immunity if you’re actually putting your thumb on the scale and censoring content and acting like a publisher.”

The Senate candidate then spoke about anti-trust:

Facebook is going to be this giant multinational corporation; if they’re going to actively intervene in elections, either because their founder is spending $400 million, you know, to distribute to various nonprofits in obvious partisan fashion — and then Facebook itself is censoring information about Joe Biden, about Hunter Biden in the weeks before the election. Unclear that any company should be able to have that much power. I don’t think you get to swing elections because you’re a giant multinational corporation. And so it’s unclear to me that Facebook should be allowed to have Facebook classic and Instagram and WhatsApp — and own these discrete businesses that each efficiently mine all this data about people to roll it up into one central location just so it can turn around and use that data against people to serve them targeted advertising.

Adding that “corporate concentration of power can violate people’s liberties just as much as government can,” Masters stated that he would like “more visibility” into “the algorithms” that companies like Google use.

“We know what Facebook did in the 2020 election, and that’s bad enough. But we know because their censorship was transparent. I really worry about Google, and their search engine algorithms, which are not transparent,” Masters said. “The government doesn’t know how they may or may not change those algorithms in the weeks before an election. But you could imagine if they’re subtle enough — could they boost pro-Biden content and suppress pro-Trump content? Absolutely, they could. They’ve got the motive; they’ve got the opportunity.”

He continued, saying that if we don’t get ahold of big tech, “we’re not going to have free and fair elections in this country; we’re not going to have a First Amendment in this country going forward.”

In a follow-up, I asked Masters the following question: “If Section 230 is revised to treat these tech companies as publishers rather than platforms, could they simply purge their systems of any content that isn’t left-leaning?”

He replied:

Yeah … I mean, if they did that, I don’t think they’d be able to maintain the massive network effect that they have. If Facebook just wants to become transparently left-wing, I think its user base would shrink dramatically.

The danger is, it is the monopoly, it is the only game in town, and they pretend to be neutral while at the same time censoring conservatives so that you can’t even get an alternative built, right? These network effects are very powerful. If you start treating them as publishers, make them liable for the content that they’re hosting, I think they basically wouldn’t do what you just suggested. I don’t think they want to become some left-wing online ghetto. Facebook only works as a business if everybody’s on Facebook.

Listen to the full exchange here:

Check back with The Daily Wire on Sunday for the full Blake Masters interview.

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