Ex-Facebook exec suggests way to block Big Tech collusion with government to 'police speech'

"It's time for aggressive and meaningful reforms that will ensure all Americans are guaranteed freedom of expression and access in the digital space," says Kara Frederick, now a technology policy research fellow at the Heritage Foundation.

Updated: February 9, 2022 - 11:36pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Former Facebook executive Kara Frederick, now a technology policy research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, has released a new report on ways policymakers can prevent Big Tech from working "hand-in-glove" with governments to police free speech on their platforms. 

Frederick "helped create and lead Facebook's Global Security Counterterrorism Analysis Program," according to her official biography.

Frederick said the recommendations in the report, Combating Big Tech’s Totalitarianism: A Road Map, "give policymakers at all levels of government a roadmap on how to end Big Tech's pernicious influence as we know it and its ability to work hand-in-glove with governments to police speech."

The recommendations include:

  • "enforcement of antitrust law and reform or modernize antitrust laws where necessary"; 
  • removing section 230 "liability protection if tech companies censor based on views protected by the Constitution (with clearly outlined exceptions) or favoring or disfavoring speech based on viewpoint";
  • permitting American citizens to "hold tech companies accountable for inconsistent application of policies via the judicial system."

The report also suggests requiring public "transparency on algorithmic impacts and content moderation" on Big Tech platforms, passing data privacy legislation in Congress, requiring Big Tech platforms to "establish parental controls for minors," and prohibiting "the government from using social media platforms as their agents to chill speech."

Congress should "consider legislation requiring data portability for those who wish to transfer to competing platforms" and prohibit Big Tech from "entering joint ventures with companies directly tied to or beholden" to the Chinese Communist Party, according to a summary of the report's recommendations,

"It's time for aggressive and meaningful reforms that will ensure all Americans are guaranteed freedom of expression and access in the digital space," Frederick said. "Big Tech has increasingly and systematically exercised control of information and access to the digital space in ways that undermine our republic. Heritage's recommendations go right to the heart of this influence.”