Letter: Protect free speech

(Greg Nash | Pool via AP) Google’s CEO Sundar Pichais appears on a screen as he speaks remotely during a hearing before the Senate Commerce Committee on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020, in Washington. The committee summoned the CEOs of Twitter, Facebook and Google to testify during the hearing.

Free speech is a fundamental right in America, and many Utahns use social media platforms to exercise it. In last month’s Senate Commerce Committee hearing, Sen. Mike Lee and his colleagues questioned tech CEOs over conservative bias in their companies. Proposed solutions to this concern could do more harm than good, and they could ultimately reduce your ability to exercise free speech on social media by eliminating long-held liabilities for tech companies that promote a free exchange of ideas. In light of the Department of Justice’s lawsuit intended to break up big tech companies, Utahns should be wary about an overextended government.

While so many are using tech products during the coronavirus, attacking and breaking up tech companies is not only nonsensical, it hurts every small business that relies on digital tools, impedes our free economy and degrades the breadth of our civil liberties in the digital world. Since the beginning of the pandemic, tech companies have kept our mom-and-pop shops open and allowed us to meaningfully engage with our friends and family. Rather than trying to bring down the industry that is keeping people together, Sen. Lee ought to work with his colleagues to prioritize addressing the very real concerns of the public health crisis and not spend time jeopardizing Americans’ right to engage on social media or their access to needed technology.

Ryan Easton, West Jordan

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