Republican Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn penned a letter to Attorney General William Barr Monday urging the Department of Justice to conduct a thorough antitrust investigation into Google’s monopolistic power over the internet after the tech giant’s recent attack on The Federalist.
“As your antitrust investigation of Google intensified, I urge you to thoroughly scrutinize how the company’s anticompetitive practices could lead to the crippling of journalistic freedom,” Blackburn wrote. “I also ask that your probe examine abuses in both the online advertising and online search markets, and to take enforcement action swiftly before further economic harm results.”
The letter comes just less than a week after Google threatened to ban The Federalist from profiting on the search engine’s ad revenue based on an NBC report compiled with a foreign left-wing think tank charging Federalist reporting with violating Google’s terms of service. The reporting in question, while not publicly known, likely centers on a piece from Federalist Political Editor John Davidson exposing the legacy media’s dishonest coverage of recent riots engulfing the nation. NBC’s “Verification Unit,” in collusion with the United Kingdom’s “Center for Countering Digital Hate” claimed that Federalist journalism was racially insensitive.
Google later released a statement on the same day NBC News broke the story that The Federalist had been demonetized, clarifying that no action had been taken against the conservative website and instead merely threatened sanctions not for its published content but for information in its comment section which have since been temporarily disabled. Federalist executives have pledged however, that the comment section will come back. Meanwhile, Google-owned YouTube’s infamous comment sections well-known for nefarious content have continued to operate uncensored.
Blackburn, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Tech Task Force praised Barr’s move to ramp up DOJ efforts to curb liability protections to the Silicon Valley tech giants provided in Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act in light of Google’s most recent episode of selective censorship but pushed the Justice Department to do more. A Daily Caller analysis of the Justice Department’s current probe into Google published Sunday shows that federal investigators appear to be ignoring bias claims in Google’s search algorithms even as its search engine dominates roughly 90 percent of the entire internet.
“They are not an infant business,” Blackburn said, arguing they no longer need broad government protections. “They are some of the biggest corporations in this country, and they should not be given protections that other businesses or private citizens are not given.”
Get a recap of NBC’s failed attempt to de-platform The Federalist on Google here.