Facebook to Face the Music: Feds, 46 States Sue

By Royal Alexander/Opinion

The Federal Trade Commission and 46 states sued Facebook, Inc., this past week alleging that the huge social media platform has engaged in buying and freezing out small start-up businesses in order to eliminate competition. Specifically, the broad antitrust case is being brought to force Facebook to sell and/or unload its acquisitions of WhatsApp and Instagram. The lawsuits allege that the lack of competition, in and of itself, has damaged customers, including with weakened privacy protections.

(I note that a few weeks ago the DOJ also brought a case alleging that Google had, through unfair trade practices and monopolistic activities, illegally created a monopoly in its search engine business).

I find these developments to be positive and encouraging both for the reasons alleged in the respective lawsuits, and for others.

In addition to unfair trade practices and antitrust conduct, the censorship we have witnessed from Facebook (and Twitter, for that matter) is stunning. Recall that only a few days before the presidential election, Facebook (and Twitter) blocked access to damaging news regarding Hunter Biden, the son of presidential candidate, Joe Biden, simply because Facebook principals favored Biden for president. The news story involved the discovery of credible evidence in the form of emails revealing that Hunter Biden clearly leveraged his dad’s then-position as VP by gaining favors from his dad that benefited the Ukrainian energy company, Burisma.

Regardless, Facebook immediately stated that it “was reducing [the New York Post article’s] distribution on our platform.” What this really means is Facebook would tweak and alter its algorithms to limit the ability of users to view, discuss or share the Biden article.

(Note, this past week YouTube, the video streaming giant, stated it will remove from its platform all new content that alleges that widespread fraud changed the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. More censorship).

These are perfect examples of why millions of Americans trust neither the national media nor social media. This is the behavior of totalitarian regimes and dictatorships. Not America.

It’s simply insufficient to say that no duty of fairness and evenhandedness is owed by Facebook (as well as Twitter and Google) because the First Amendment only applies to government, not private, actors. Government censorship of speech is not the only kind. Private sector suppression of speech is equally threatening, chilling, and damaging. Democracy can only function with a free exchange of information. These tech giants may not be government actors, but they are quasi-public entities, and they are behemoths. They are essentially monopolies and possess enormous leverage as a result.

Facebook owes a duty of fairness for many reasons, not least because Facebook (and Twitter) directly benefit from a valuable legal advantage contained in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. This law protects it from any legal liability for content published on its site, much of which may be defamatory. Facebook should not be allowed to receive valuable federal benefits on the one hand then also take the position that “we are a private company so we can suppress speech whenever we like.”

Facebook is no longer, if it ever was, a neutral arbiter simply operating an information exchange platform. It has become the equivalent of a media company that regularly makes editorial decisions in the composition of its news feed and in so doing, reflects a distinctly Leftist bent. It remains legally unaccountable for damage done by the content on its platform and has broad discretion to censor 3rd party speech. This is too much. I am hopeful changes to Section 230 will be made to limit the legal protections of Facebook and other social media companies.

Given its special status, Facebook has an obligation to act in the public interest and it is not doing so. I support the Feds either breaking it up on grounds of antitrust and monopoly or Congress removing its Section 230 advantage and regulating it as a public utility. It’s the best way to ensure that free market competition and innovation succeed.

The views and opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Natchitoches Parish Journal.  If you have an article or story of interest for publishing consideration by the NPJ, please send it to NPJNatLa@gmail.com.

63 thoughts on “Facebook to Face the Music: Feds, 46 States Sue

  1. Immediate job openings. Only the “best” need apply. Guilty plea or not. Must sign loyalty pledge and NDA. Must have own bank to launder money. Experience in tax evasion a must. Court experiences as defendant not necessary but preferred. Willingness to spread pandemic. Russian contacts a plus. We will discuss other qualifications in my basement. Contact via back channels.

  2. The sooner Coup-vid Donnie is gone, the better our country and the world will be. He isn’t about our country, he isn’t about Americans, he is about HIMSELF and staying out of jail. Please stay well. Try to have Happy Holidays amid this pandemic.

    • You are completely ate up with stupid! If the president gets those 2k I want to see I want to see a pic of you ripping yours up! Because I’m sure with your hatred for him will keep you from cashing it! Right?

  3. Old RN why don’t you check out Mitch McConnell’s wife? Check out her family! She is in President Trump’s cabinet! In case you don’t know she is Chinese! She’s the hook that Trump have in McConnell! She and her family is the real money behind Mitch McConnell! What do you think of that?

    • Randy I wasn’t aware of that. Very troubling indeed.
      I will google that.
      I guess what concerns me the most is all the America haters that are being elected by democrats more and more. Now we have to watch REV. Warnock get elected.
      There are now 70,000 people who have moved to Georgia. Why?
      Do you love America Randy? I do. It has it’s sins: but may God help us ALL if America is taken down. Slowly but surely our cities are being destroyed. So what is next?
      Have a nice Sunday Randy.

      • Old RN I have always loved America! However as a Black man America have not always loved me! I love America because even with our faults this is the greatest country on Earth! Peace! Merry Christmas!

        • As a black man in America, you have been hurt. There are still some bigots and racists. but on the bright side, they are dying out.
          There are people who do love you and all or you, as fellow Americans. Nurses fight every day they work to help every one in their care without bias. Many cops help your ethnic race as well. Sometimes a cop is all they have to help them. I have seen teachers as well as other school personnel going the extra mile for kids. it will take time for this to continue to get better. Sometimes I think your own race is your worst enemy. If only BLM would take the money they have and give it to indigent families to help with house repairs, new shoes for the children, fixing their cars or whatever they need instead of hate driven violence. Violence will do no one any good.
          One of the most beautiful acts of love was when the New Orleans Saints helped the poor residents of NOLA after Katrina. The team went on to grant the wish they wanted most of all: a super bowl win. The amount of work the team had to do was enormous. I love that story because it is a story of love.
          I cannot see that you were better off with Obama as president. He now is worth 13,000,000. What has he done? Do you know? Are you any better off? I think you may see the same thing with Biden. Does he really care or did he use you for votes? Only time can tell.
          Bless you Randy, and remember this Christmas, God loves you and hears your cries and He will deliver you.

      • From your channel on Dec 1… “In a speech on Nov. 7 to the Bay County Florida Republican Party, Florida attorney Bill Price announced he was “moving” to Georgia to vote for Republican Senate candidates in order in to help Republicans keep the Senate majority.”
        I hope you now know who is encouraging certain people to move to Georgia to vote. Wishing everyone Happy Holidays. Please wear a mask. Stay well.

        • Young women who marry old unattractive men who are of high esteem are rarely trustworthy. They tend to use the old men for advancement of self. Not all of course are like this.
          Google said Chao is from Taiwan. Father has shipping business who deals with China.
          True, so far she has been totally innocent of scandal and that is a good thing. Just hope you are right MEWHP.

          • Old RN look at her stock portfolio! Look at companies her and her family have invested in! She is in conflict with her position with the Department of Transportation! Especially her investment of a company that provides building materials for roads and highways! She tried to arrange a trip to China for her and her family on taxpayers funds! She had to be advised that it would be too blatant! Why would the Transportation Secretary need to go to China? Maybe because I been in media (newspaper business) I have many sources of information that the average citizen don’t get! Peace! Merry Christmas!

          • RN, I just noticed you said “Google said” and I have to tell you if you haven’t heard, that Google picks and chooses what you can use to find information on the internet. I first heard this when a conservative site said Google had basically removed them from their search unless someone specifically typed in the name of the site. But if you were looking for info on Joe Biden, you would not find this conservative site listed. I did research and found that a lot of people use a strange sounding search engine when doing research. DuckDuckGo is one of the top engines listed and the give both liberal and conservative sites where you can find info on anything you are searching for. I switched to DuckDuckGo a few months back and I’m very happy to finally be able to see everything I want to see on a subject. Give it a try if you haven’t already. Google and Facebook both want to stop you from seeing the whole truth.

    • Randy Stelly
      , do you not know your geography, or not know your facts. You should be ashamed of yourself by spreading the rumor that Mitch McConnell’s wife is Chinese. Check your facts before stirring up a stink. First of all, At present, the nation of “China” is represented by two separate authorities: the Republic of China (commonly referred to as Taiwan) and the People’s Republic of China (in mainland China and commonly referred to as just China). There are problems between Taiwan and China. Tensions are high between China, Taiwan and the United States. This comes after the U.S. said it would move forward with a deal to sell advanced weapons systems to Taiwan. Chinese leader Xi Jinping visited a military base and gave a speech to Chinese Marines to, quote, “focus your minds and energy on preparing to go to war.” Now, China claims Taiwan as its territory and has vowed to bring the nation under its own rule. Taiwan doesn’t want to be any part of China.

      Now, as for Mitch McConnell’s wife, Elaine Lan Chao. She is an American politician who serves as the United States Secretary of Transportation, having assumed office on January 31, 2017. A member of the Republican Party, Chao was previously Secretary of Labor under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2009.Wikipedia gives us more information on her. She was born:Elaine Lan Chao, March 26, 1953, in Taipei, Taiwan. Her family immigrated to the United States when she was 8 years old and she became US citizen when she was 19 years old. Her family does have money, and lots of it. At least she had money going into government work, and didn’t make it while in office, involved in escapades that are really close to illegal. She is NOT Chinese.

      So Randy, are you sure you are not on here just to stir up a stink, and you wonder why I think you are a liberal. When I looked in the dictionary, and I declare they had a picture of you in that jaunty little hat you wear. So please forgive me if I’m wrong about that, However, I do believe you owe a woman that I respect highly, an apology for misrepresenting the facts to her. My favorite RN is a person who does her research and it bothers me when someone blatantly lies to her or anyone who actually believes things that comes out of your mouth.

        • The “American Oversight Committee” is a bunch of hack lawyers from the Clinton and Obama campaigns. This committee is NOT a government agency, and have no standing. The only thing they do is file ‘Freedom of Information Requests’. They claim to be non-partisan, but that is far from the truth.

      • MEWHP once again! Blessed is the person who having nothing to say abstain from giving wordy evidence of the fact! Peace! Merry Christmas!

        • Randy, your pious attitude is showing again, and trust me, it is not attractive at all. Sometimes it’s best if you have been smoking the weed again, that you keep your mouth shut.

      • MEWHP Thanks for the tip. I will use DuckDuckGo now to check on a company named SunGard aka Solar Winds or Silverlake in an article by National File.
        Solar Winds is a company that is situated on 200 Commerce St. virtually located where the Christmas bombing took place. It is an IT company or data center with close ties to the Chinese.
        National File has confirmed that Dominion Voting Systems in fact uses at least one of Solar Winds’ products.
        This bombing was quickly solved. Seems it was all too easy to me. I just can’t trust the new administration.

    • If this new covid-19 relief fund isnt corrected all that supports it need to be removed from office immediately! This thing is a crime,the people that came up with it need to be jailed. But look at the one man that’s going to fight to get more help from it for the American people!! DONALD TRUMP!

      • Funny you’d say that. Dems tried in April to get $2000 put in the relief bill. Once again Dems passed this in the House bill in April. Repubs of course thought it was too much to give struggling Americans. Happy Holidays folks. Please stay well.

        • I could say funny you see it that way, but it isn’t funny at all. But it is wrong as usual. Nancy and her crew wanted to throw in some money to put on buildings that they wanted fixed up and a few other things like that. For once, just once, could you get your facts straight. Dems have never been for the struggling American worker. The only thing they are for is what will put more money into their pockets. They are the ones that blocked stimulus money because they would not approve it without all the extras that had nothing to do with covid in it. Dems held it up also because they wanted old Joe to get the credit, just as they wanted to hold up the vaccine for Covid. Old Joe is just loosing out on getting the credit for all that. He will have to actually WORK to get credit for good things for America.

          • Joe will get credit for getting this pandemic under control. That’s something Individual 1 didnt even try to do. In fact what Has he tried to do besides help himself and his cohorts? Ones like myself with connected brain cells have a few ideas as to why that is..

        • Wrong again they were trying to block all the bs that the Dems were trying to add! Just like this time,they actually have millions going to a country to a gender study a freaking gender study!!!

      • Why didnt he fight for Americans earlier in the year when Dems asked for $2000 in the relief bill? Guess spineless Repubs figured there wasn’t enough money after they and their ultrariche bunch got their “cut”. Personally I think when there is a bill it should contain that 1 priority. Zero pork. I think we could all agree on that.

  4. Natchitoches people are funny. Your opinion is supposed to matter and you’ve done nothing to earn it. Hahahaha

  5. I think there may be people on here who have been living on another planet for a few years, and know absolutely nothing about what has been going on in the world.

  6. Vicki
    Yes Russians have hacked into our cybersecurity. That doesn’t mean anyone in the WH had any ties to that. Nothing has shown that. Hackers can hack without any one’s help..

    China has links to the Democrats in power now and in the past. As I mentioned earlier, China is the greatest risk because of their power, and the human abuse of those they feel are inferior.
    I know this is wasted on you, and I am so sorry I ever tried to communicate with you on these issues. You are a lost cause.

    Have good Christmas Vicki.

    • From your channel 2 days ago.. “U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday said this week’s cyber attack — dubbed by one U.S. official as “the worst hacking case in the history of America” — was “pretty clearly” the work of Russians.” Happy Holidays. Wear a mask. Stay well.

  7. And look at us now.. highest unemployment since the Great Depression. More people dying every day than on Sept 11, 2001. Should I go on? Russia not only knocked at our door, they are in our House. And they are very much welcomed in by the (not for long) resident. Twice the popular vote loser by a large margin. Impeached. He pulled $617M from the campaign fund, largest campaign fraud in history. Instead of being a man, accepting and conceding to his real landslide defeat like every other loser of a race, he will not attend the swearing in of Joe Biden as President of The United States. He instead will hold another rabble rousing. Immature, sore loser at best. He’s gotten caught in his own trap. Now he’s not only trying to chew off his own leg, he’s chewing off the legs of a lot of others. How much more destruction will he wreak on our government, our country and our people? Please wear a mask. Stay well.

    • Vicki, I have never read anything written by anyone who is as delusional as you. Russia may have hacked into the computer system of the US government, but I don’t think you understand what that means. Do you understand the word “hack”? Someone break into your computer system and you don’t know about it. It’s not like when Obama was in the oval office and hired all the the Muslim Brotherhood members to work for him. Now that was a real classy way to give American secrets away. There was no hack needed, all they had to do was say thank you as they walked out the door. Now I know this example of the Muslim Brotherhood is embellishing the truth, but they were hired to work in the White House and in jobs where they were privy to the secrets of our country.

      Now as for President Trump not going to the swearing in of Joe Biden. I think that is probably fine with old Joe also. They don’t like each other. And if you remember, the dems didn’t go to Trumps swearing in. As for conceding the election, have you forgotten how long it took Al Gore to concede. And not that long ago, we were watching your high priestess, Hillary telling old Joe that if he lost, do not concede the election no matter what. Now why would she say that that? And since she did tell Biden to do it, what is wrong with Trump doing it. The dems have been rude to President Trump since he was elected. You say they did not fight the results of the election. My take on things is that Hillary fought tooth and nail to have that election thrown out. And as the libs gripe and complain that Trump is not giving a concession speech in a timely manner, they need to think back on Al Gore who thought there was no way he could have lost that election.

      You are so blind to what really happens when those of your party lose. Have you not seen them pout and throw temper tantrums for the past 4 years. They refuse to work on anything with the conservative group. Their theory always seems to be, pitch a fit, they will back down and we will have our way! The far left has corrupted the Democratic party to the point, it is not no longer recognizable. They are an embarrassment to our great nation. The riots, burning, and the murder of innocent people is terrible, and you can be sure if it were a Republican doing all of that in order to destroy any part of the USA, the libs would be up in arms, calling for the lynching of anyone involved with the mob scene. But the liberals can only describe their horrendous actions of the past four years as peaceful demonstrations. They are blind to their own actions but will lie about what they think the Republications have done.

        • Your are certainly delusional Vicki. How did Pfizer and BioNtech make the vaccine possible? They are distributors only. They created absolutely NOTHING. ‘ Had Mr. Trump not created the initiative, appointed as its leader a man who knows the vaccine development world, and given him license to spend $10 billion outside normal contracting procedures, Covid-19 vaccines would still be only works in progress. Even after they were finally approved, the vaccines’ distribution could have been long delayed. Imagine a world in which Mr. Trump had not appointed as deputy head of the operation a general who knows logistics and had the authority to write contracts with FedEx and UPS to book space on their airplanes and in their network of distribution centers.

          So as Americans now look forward to getting vaccinated and resuming our normal lives, we should pause to give thanks to a REMARKABLE GROUP OF SCIENTISTS and entrepreneurs whose capitalism-fed competitive drive pushed them to venture into the unknown—for fortune and fame.’ The man, your President Donald J. Trump who you are so critical of certainly did a damn good thing in this case. Don’t you agree????

          • BarS your argument almost sounds like you know what you’re talking about, except Pfizer did not accept government money and was not part of that program

          • Pfizer and BioNtech researched and developed the vaccine. BioNtech started with designing an RNA vaccine in Jan. Pfizer started designing a vaccine early in the year as well. They each researched, designed, collaborated, developed to put out a vaccine in record time. They were the only companies that only took money for production and distribution. I doubt they saw Covid Donnie in the lab.

  8. Sone on here want to pass on more lies while Russia has hacked into our govt. Not a word spoken of it by disinterested parties. Not only did they hack into our most sensitive networks but they also may have control of them. Can’t blame it on Barack or Joe. This is completely, entirely, totally under this badministration’s “watch”. And if course someone hacked into his Twitter acct using his password, maga2020. Who woulda thunk it? What other parting “gifts” will they leave us with. Happy holidays folks. Please stay well.

    • Well as many libpukes complain the Russians hacked the 2016 election!
      Who was in charge then?
      For 4 years now we have heard the election was rigged and that Russia was responsible,BUT now all we hear is that it’s impossible to rig the presidential election!! WHICH IS IT VICKI?

      Vicki facts! Stock market highest in history, unemployment lowest in history, unemployment among minority’s lowest in history. First president that hasn’t gotten the U.S. in a war or conflict. That’s in 4 years with the democratics fighting him all the way!

      • China. Now the greatest threat to US security and freedom. More and more keeps surfacing about the democrats and their dealings with China.
        A spy who was an aid working in the Intelligence Agency under Stalwell.

        From the Epoch Times: Billions SECRENTLY given to top rated universities.

        The Hunter Biden issue- money, money given to Biden’ son for unknown reasons,
        President Trump put China in its place and now the democrats will undo all of that.

        American jobs to go back to China again: a country that has the greatest defense budget, and is second in military strength in the world. And Biden wants to minimize our military so we will be back to the Benghazi days, and then let China have the number one spot in military strength.

        . Concentration camps for a million Uighurs. with all kinds of human abuse because they are considered inferior.

        Being indebted to China is terrifying.

        So Vicki, stop with the Russia lie Where were you when the hearings with Mueller were on TV for days? With you head in the sand?

      • Thank you Mike for attempting to set her straight, futile as it may be. Where she comes up with all this death and destruction stuff is beyond me, maybe breathing her own CO2 from wearing her mask 24/7. I don’t know how anyone can say they aren’t better off than they were 4 years ago. Stock market up, non-COVID employment up (she’s lying on that one,) and foreign relations working nicely. But, when you have an agenda of hate, you ignore facts and create your own.

    • Joe 1. So where did the money come from for Pfizer? I’ve always heard of the federal government issuing research grants to drug companies. Just asking.

      • The money Pfizer received was from the German government. BioNtech had already come up with the covid19 genome and tried to share with our country. Guess who refused it. Pfizer teamed up with BioNtech to produce the vaccine. Our news channels tell us this news and more. The articles we read tell us this news. We’ve had this info since much earlier in the year. Have a Happy New Year. Please wear your mask. I hope to hear from you folks again in 2021.

        • Yes. I did see that Pfizer did not use any NIH research grants. I was wrong in assuming so. Anyway lets get vaccinated if we qualify.

          • Definitely! My hubby has COPD and is in the older age range. Late Jan or Feb I think will be when he can get his injection. My COPD isnt as bad so I’ll be later. I hope everyone will see that the very virulent strain has made it to the States. I heard up to 100,000 more deaths in Jan alone predicted. Not good. Folks please wear your mask. Please stay well. Please get the vaccine when your turn comes. It is important for everyone to be protected.

  9. I have never been on fb or twitter. I do hear they finally started pointing out all the lies and great exaggerations coming from certain places. Very good. You can’t yell fire in a crowded area over and over without consequences.

    • They aren’t pointing out lies Mary. They are censoring folks. Plain and simple. If it is a liberal viewpoint, you can talk about anything. If it is a conservative viewpoint, it gets censored. It doesn’t matter how stupid your viewpoint is or what you want to spout off about, this is America. It is anyone’s right to talk about anything no matter how ignorant or stupid. It’s straight up China or North Korea bs.

      • Just tell the truth. Aren’t you tired of all the lies Individual 1 has told just this year about covid? Guess not. Fortunately there are some of us that learned how to do our own investigation from reputable sources. We know the difference. What he and others are doing is dangerous and of course plays right into Russia’s hands. Just like the Russian hacking..crickets from the one in “charge”. Never done anything to stop the cyber attacks. Maybe handing our country over to Russia is his reimbursement of all the millions he owes them. Corruption is his game. He’ll have to be dragged kicking and whining from our White House. So many lawsuits, plenty of evidence and plenty of time… Disinfection needed on aisle 45 please.

        • And at the same time decide what room you’re going to pad to keep in the old sniffer in when he forgets where he is. Is he going to be able to sniff little girls in the oval office or will he have a special place for that Vicki?

        • Vicki. our country is far more likely to be turned over to Communist China! Please just stop talking about Trump and Russia. That was THE lie of the century. I am sick of hearing that
          Trump is gone, so there is no need to hear this anymore.
          Hell yes plenty of time to watch what these NEW politicians are going to do. God, please help this country.

  10. “This is the behavior of a dictatorship”. So now who is it that is labelled fascists? Ummmm, how much more of a dictatorship are we in for? Now we have to think about abortion at the end of pregnancy because of the appointee of the HHS. The procedures for these abortions are heinous and inhuman. And some babies survive the abortion. They are viable.
    We are going to be forced to use wind power and solar power as an alternative to fossil fuel energy. These things don”t supply all the energy you need and require a lot of oil to keep them maintained. (from someone who already has this). Our oil and gas jobs will go for this and we will not be energy independent any more.
    We will continue to lose our religious freedoms because of dictators refusing to let us have these rights.
    We will be dictated to let these men go into girls bathrooms and play on girls sports.
    Socialized medicine- doctors and hospitals will be dictated to by the gov. as to what procedures can be done and how much they can charge.
    Schools will be dictated to as to what to teach in terms of history and civics, and inclusiveness (whatever that means)
    . This administration will be indebted to China, Ukraine, and Antifa and BLM organizations and other contributors. (probably Facebook and Twitter).. They will have their debts called in, so what will this do to our freedoms?
    Our corporations will be taxed and regulated (dictated to) and our jobs will land back out of the country. Unions will increase their demands, which are often excessive.
    Our taxes- well, just wait and see how much the rich are going to pay their fair share.
    Housing- what will they dictate as to your personal property?
    Guns- another loss of freedom.
    So, leftists, how are republicans Fascists?

  11. “These are perfect examples of why millions of Americans trust neither the national media nor social media”…or the federal government!!!

  12. Its people such as yourself that have enabled Facebook to continue posting “right wing” lies, and Donald Trump distortion of the truth. You and your followers who need incompetents to explain the news, rather than read it. Actors with makeup, reading from a Teleprompter what has been written for them, Posts with lies and distortions make up the daily fair. No different than a failed President’s tweets. I left Facebook two years ago, the lies and distortions were obvious then, and more so now.

    • Social media posts got your guy off of a lot of things too. I mean there is tons of video of Biden sniffing, kissing, hugging, groping 10 year old girls chests, and somehow it all just vanished into thin air. Even after women came forward, there were so many stories about how he is just “touchy feely” and no one should pay attention to it. Don’t even get me started on his junky son. So the left has made out like bandits with it too. Social Media will be the demise of civilization. Too many stupid people in the world that believe any crap they ready. ON BOTH SIDES!!!

    • You been missing a lot over that last 2 years!! Positive Trump post are removed daily, while at the same time negitive post about Biden gets you blocked for a few days. Same thing happens with most positive police post!

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