Twitter has too much power, says Republican Rep. Jim Banks, who Tweeted Monday that he is excited that Elon Musk will buy the platform. Banks said in a Tuesday interview that he believes Musk will help reform Twitter, and stop censorship.
“Elon Musk has made it very clear that one of the reasons he wanted to purchase Twitter to begin with is to protect free speech in America,” he said. “He understands that free speech is fundamental to our American rights and who we are as Americans.”
Banks, whose official account was locked last tear because of a Tweet misgendering a high-ranking transgender person (Rachel Levine), against the platform’s rules, said there are many examples of censorship, which he believes were blatant and have been proven inappropriate.
He cited information on the coronavirus vaccine, where people who Tweeted that you could still get the virus after being vaccinated were censored; and the Hunter Biden laptop story.
“I had my account locked down when I called a biological man a man. They demanded that I take my Tweet down to get my account back,” he said. “Twitter and Facebook are the public square of our times and the public square must be protected so that the voice of all Americans can be heard whether you agree with them or not.”
Banks said the assertion that Twitter and Facebook are private companies and can censor what they please doesn’t fly because both are afforded special government protections.
“Section 230 (of the U.S. code) is a special protection granted by the federal law to big tech companies like Twitter and Facebook that recognizes them as publishers not editors,” he said. “But, they crossed that line and become exactly what they stated that they weren’t when they received those protections.”
The section of U.S. Code explained: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/47/230
Banks said that if the companies are so big and powerful that they can censor you, then they’ve become too powerful. He promised that the Musk purchase notwithstanding, he and others in Congress will push for reforms and possibly the break-up of big tech companies.
“A lot of us will continue to push for reforms like taking away 230, like using anti-trust laws to break up these companies,” he said.
He also said it’s sad to him that it takes the “richest man in the world” to purchase the company to force internal reforms.