Conservatives concerned about being silenced by big tech companies

Published: Jan. 16, 2021 at 1:27 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Conservatives said they feel silenced by big tech companies after several social media platforms removed President Trump and tens of thousands of others for inciting violence.

Billboards are propped up around Cedar Rapids sharing that sentiment. Conservatives favored Parler, but it went down after its host, Amazon, said it wasn’t following the rules.

“The American Republican feels like they don’t have a voice,” said Owner and Editor of the conservative publication “The Iowa Standard”, Jacob Hall.

Hall was at the President Trump rally last Wednesday and followed thousands of people to the Capitol building to protest Congress certifying the electorates for President-Elect Joe Biden’s victory. He didn’t go into the building but said he understood why people did. He believes the thousands of people felt silenced at the ballot box, by their elected officials, and by the numerous court filing were thrown out.

“A lot of people there saw police letting people into the building,” said Hall. “Some of them might not even have known they were breaking the law. As for the initial surge into the building, I don’t know. My biggest concern was they knew this was coming. President Trump Twitted about this 2-weeks ago and said it was going to be wild.”

He disagreed with the number of major social media platforms banning the President, along with 70,000 of his supporters who had ties to the conspiracy theory QAnon.

“I think there’s real disdain,” he said. “They are worried about the big tech elites and the Democratic Party wanting to shut them up.”

Black Hawk County State Representative Sandy Salmon shared the same views. The Republican representative said there was a threat there because many social media companies donated to Democratic candidates. That could be verified through the Center for Responsive Politics.

“This has been getting out of hand and has been for a long time,” said Rep. Salmon.

She planned to introduce a bill that would allow Iowans to sue social media companies if they were censored purposefully or through an algorithm for sharing political and religious views. She believed these platforms have gone too far, and should be a place for free speech. She said they should not fact check people or hold people accountable for threats or harassment. She stated that laws were already in place to deal with that.

“Peoples have the responsibility to educate themselves on the issues being discussed,” she said.

Hall said people needed to be more receptive to people who shared different world views.

“Allow room for ideas that differ from your own,” he said.

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