Big Tech companies should no longer be immune from lawsuits over “illegal content” on social media sites, Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley told The Heartlander Thursday.
And no amnesty for illegal immigrants should be rushed through Congress this year either, he says.
“My view is, no more blank checks and free lunches for the Big Tech companies. They’ve gotten enough from government already. It’s time to hold them accountable,” Hawley said.
Hawley’s comments on the matter come after his filing of a friend-of-the-court brief saying much the same thing in the current U.S. Supreme Court case Gonzalez v. Google. In that case, the family of a California student killed while studying abroad is suing over YouTube’s allowing Islamic State recruitment videos on its platform prior to the terrorist group’s 2015 attacks in Paris.
The California student, 23-year-old Nohemi Gonzalez, was killed when terrorists opened fire on La Belle Equipe bistro – one of several attacks killing 130 that day which also included other restaurants, the national stadium and the Bataclan theatre.
“This is just about whether or not these big tech companies can put illegal stuff up on their platform and then say, ‘Oh, no, we can’t be sued for it,’” Hawley said. “Right now, the Big Tech companies use federal law as a Get Out of Jail Free card.
“They say, ‘We can censor you. You can’t do anything about it. We can put illegal content that actually incites violence up on our websites. And, ah, it’s not our fault. There’s nothing that you can do. You can’t sue us.’
“I think that’s ridiculous. You should be able to sue them. If there’s illegal content up on their website – I’m talking about death threats, which is what this case is about, terrorist material that’s up on these websites – and people get killed because of it, yeah, Google ought to be able to be sued.”
Hawley also tells The Heartlander he hopes a proposed amnesty bill for illegal immigrants doesn’t survive the current lame-duck session of Congress.
What’s the proposal’s status? We asked the senator.
“Hopefully dead,” he quickly replied. “Listen, I’m not going to support amnesty for 2 million-plus illegal immigrants, particularly when we have a wide-open border. And the idea, by the way, that Republicans ought to (offer a) trade in order to get some basic border enforcement – we should have to trade amnesty for people who are here illegally? No, thank you. Absolutely not.
“So, not only am I not in favor of it, I will do everything I can to block it.”
Missourians he’s hearing from in big numbers agree with him, Hawley says.
“Oh yeah. They don’t like it. Missourians aren’t in favor of amnesty, and they’re not in favor of the border crisis. Why? Because they know that the fentanyl that’s pouring into our state – where’s it coming from? Across the border.
“They know that the meth that is all over our state, where is it coming? Across the border. We are a border state in a very real sense, and not least because the drugs in our state that are finding their way into every school and every community across our towns are coming over that southern border.
“We have got to lock it down and enforce the law. That’s priority No. 1.”
After years of debate over the idea of granting amnesty to illegal immigrants who were brought here as children, it’s suddenly an urgent issue – now that Democrats are about to lose control of the U.S. House of Representatives.
“Well, because the Democrats want amnesty,” Hawley said. “That’s one of their long-term projects, and they’re always looking for some way to try and get Republicans to go along. But this Republican isn’t going to go along, I can promise you.”