On Tuesday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) raised concerns surrounding social media platforms having banned former President Donald Trump, expressing worries about large tech companies having too much power.
Sanders’ remarks come after a Trump advisor told Fox News on Sunday that the former president plans to return to “social media in probably about two or three months here, with his own platform”.
Appearing on the “The Ezra Klein Show” podcast, the democratic socialist said that Trump was “a racist, a sexist, a homophobe, a xenophobe, a pathological liar, an authoritarian, somebody who doesn’t believe in the rule of law,” when asked if he thinks “there is truth to the substantive critique […] that liberals have become too censorious and too willing to use their cultural, and corporate, and political power to censor or suppress ideas and products that offend them”.
However, Sanders added that he didn’t “feel particularly comfortable” about the former president not being able to “express his views on Twitter”.
In January, Twitter permanently suspended Trump’s widely followed account after a mob of his supporters violently stormed the U.S. Capitol, with the company citing a “risk of further incitement of violence”. Likewise, sites such as Facebook, YouTube, and others also suspended the then-president’s accounts.
The senator continued, saying that social media sites should not permit “hate speech and conspiracy theories” on their platforms and that the World Wide Web should not be used for “authoritarian purposes and insurrection.” Despite this, he admitted that he didn’t have an answer for how to balance free speech and combatting online hate acts.
“Yesterday it was Donald Trump who was banned,” Sanders added, “and tomorrow it could be somebody else who has a very different point of view.”
“I don’t like giving that much power to a handful of high tech people,” he also told host Ezra Klein, “but the devil is obviously in the details and it’s something we’re going to have to think long and hard on, and that is how you preserve First Amendment rights without moving this country into a big lie mentality and conspiracy theories.”
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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Historic House Vote Expels Rep. George Santos Amidst Scandal
In a turn of events, the House of Representatives made history on Friday with a vote to expel Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.), marking the first such expulsion in over two decades. A moment fraught with gravity unfolded as Speaker Mike Johnson wielded his gavel to formalize Santos’ removal, setting a precedent in congressional annals.
Santos, indicted on 23 counts related to wire fraud, identity theft, and other charges, has not faced conviction but stands accused of misusing campaign funds for opulent purchases. The bipartisan vote, tallying 311 to 114, signaled robust support for expulsion, with a marginally higher number of Republicans opting to retain Santos.
Questions loomed as Speaker Johnson left the chamber, his silence leaving the fate of the ongoing government spending battle uncertain. According to reports from Fox News, Democratic Rep. Steny Hoyer emphasized the non-partisan nature of the decision, asserting that members concluded Santos had tarnished the House’s reputation and was unfit for representation.
Within the GOP, conflicting opinions emerged, with Rep. Darrell Issa arguing against expulsion, citing the presumption of innocence. The tight-lipped stance of the House Ethics Committee played a pivotal role in the deliberations.
Conversely, members of the New York Republican delegation, led by Rep. Marc Molinaro, asserted Santos’ commission of crimes, justifying expulsion based on a comprehensive investigation.
Santos himself predicted the outcome in an exclusive morning interview on “FOX & Friends.” This vote not only underlines the House’s rare use of expulsion powers but also sets a critical precedent in handling members facing severe legal challenges.
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