Obama Calls Big Tech ‘Biggest Threat’ to Democracy, Calls for Censorship

November 16th, 2020 12:08 PM

Former President Barack Obama condemned Big Tech for allowing conservatives to undermine the liberal establishment and called for social media to be regulated.

Obama told The Atlantic that the current information landscape of Big Tech platforms “is the single biggest threat to our democracy.” He then made a key distinction: “Donald Trump is a creature of this, but he did not create it.”  Obama then called for regulations to crack down on speech he finds threatening:

“At the end of the day, we’re going to have to find a combination of government regulations and corporate practices that address this, because it’s going to get worse. If you can perpetrate crazy lies and conspiracy theories just with texts, imagine what you can do when you can make it look like you or me saying anything on video. We’re pretty close to that now.”

Obama went on to snipe at Big Tech from angles both liberals and conservatives can appreciate. On one hand, he torched the idea that Big Tech companies are neutral in how they moderate their platforms:

“The degree to which these companies are insisting that they are more like a phone company than they are like The Atlantic, I do not think is tenable. They are making editorial choices, whether they’ve buried them in algorithms or not.”

By contrast, Obama attempted to provide cover for Big Tech by citing the First Amendment as a shield for censorship: “The First Amendment doesn’t require private companies to provide a platform for any view that is out there.”

In an interview with CBS News "60 Minutes" Obama made similar comments. He suggested that the modern information landscape has enabled President Donald Trump and the rise of "truth decay" in American politics. Obama proposed that his allies need to “work with the media and with the tech companies to find ways to inform the public better about the issues and to-- bolster the standards that ensure we can separate truth from fiction.”

This is an unfortunate departure from Obama’s past. 

Obama spoke at a fundraiser in Nov. 2019 where he declared that censorship was un-American. “I believe in free speech — and we can’t resort to Chinese-style monitoring of the correctness of every position on every blast that is sent out via social media,” he said regarding Big Tech censorship. “So the way for us to deal with that, is that we need to inoculate the body politic[] by getting our own accurate information out. We have to combat falsehood with truth. And that’s hard to do.”

Conservatives are under attack. Contact your local representative and demand that Big Tech be held to account to mirror the First Amendment while providing transparency, clarity on “hate speech” and equal footing for conservatives. If you have been censored, contact us at the Media Research Center contact form and help us hold Big Tech accountable.