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After Google decided to nix its AI advisory board when employees objected to the addition of Heritage President Kay Coles James, Heritage experts spoke out about how trends in the Big Tech world are jeopardizing liberty.

Klon Kitchen, Heritage’s senior fellow for technology and science policy, laid out some of the conservative recommendations that James would have made had Google not dissolved the advisory board. Find out what they are here.

Helle Dale, Heritage’s senior fellow in public diplomacy, warned that tech titans “end up undermining the very ideals on which they were founded when they cave to pressure from left-wing ideologues who cannot abide diversity of opinion.” You can read her new commentary piece in the Daily Signal.

Arthur Milikh, research fellow and associate director of Heritage’s Simon Center, explained how Big Tech companies justify censorship through their embrace of the concept of “Freedom of Expression” instead of “Freedom of Speech.” Learn about this important distinction here.

With private companies increasingly choosing the information that is allowed on their platforms, should conservatives let the market work and find alternatives, or should the government intervene to prevent corporate censorship? 

Comments (85)

Tom Crowell - April 26, 2019

Let the free market respond to anti-free speech behavior. Getting the government involved will only make it worse.

Duane O’Connor - April 26, 2019

The game has changed. We have never seen the speech-limiting power of the social media giants in the history of this country. Does the leveling of the playing field require a different approach? I hate the idea, but I think regulation may be the only answer.

Leta Fry - April 26, 2019

I would not recommend that government step in. We conservatives need to step up with alternatives to counter these losses of freedom. As we near Jesus’ return things will get uglier and more restrictive including private enterprise and governments.

Casey Quinn - April 26, 2019

This is about the only time I would recommend the Government come in and regulate the industry. Big Tech is out of control and needs to be reined in or broken up.

Bill Johnson - April 26, 2019

The tactic are fascist bullying. If Government officials don’t move quickly enough we lose our freedom. That not we the people must make a stand for Liberty.

Scott Wegner - April 26, 2019

Protection of our Constitutional 1st and 2nd Amendment rights should be upheld by all legal measures possible.
Additionally, citizens should have free market access to alternatives to Google, Facebook, etc. All voices should have freedom of expression and privacy protection from big businesses and governments.

Kate Keep - April 26, 2019

My gosh, WHO wants more government?
Establish a new department in DC to help with this…it will never go away and under progressives would be used against us. Conservatives blew liberals out of the water with talk radio and TV. We can do the same with this!

Ed Rosenblum - April 26, 2019

Although private competition is philosophically the right position, you must accept the fact that the social media platforms are among the richest and most powerful companies in the world and private competition would simply fail.

The only practical way is for the government to regulate the platforms as public utilities–open to all.

Betty Stone - April 26, 2019

My choice is never to use so-called social media;no Facebook,no twitter,& none of the others;Hard to avoid using Google
but never look up “facts” there are other methods to get information! I do think some control of content is needed,as many rely on them for information.

DAN - April 26, 2019

The Federal government needs to get involved. There are too many free market giants covertly support and practice anti-free speech behavior. Also too many Universities do the same and should loose all federal funding. Look at how the EU got results ( big big fines are the only way to get results). That requires legislative action.

steve j - April 26, 2019

Any buisness with 40% or more market share must be regulated or broken up.

Kathleen Parr - April 26, 2019

In My thoughts Kay, I have asked My Family just to get feedback …when FB locked me out because I found religious pictures that made me sick and I posted them…well lo and behold the other Administrator of President Trumps Group (I was also Administrator) told me off and asked me to leave…so much for Unity so FB was Hooked up with SMS…I couldn’t use that either I had messages I wanted to keep I couldn’t keep anything not even from My Grandchildren…We cannot give in to Social Media Somehow We have to Overtake them or they will take over the Government Google knows where are Grandchildren are all the time and even if you start a Conservative Media Our Grandchildren aren’t going to give up what they have…I mentioned at the last Tea Party Meeting We should all get back on Twitter I will never go back on FB after what I put up with I have quite a bit to say about FB…I am waiting for the right time…as far as Rinos go did they ever have any problem on Social Media …No they didn’t and did Congress help the Trump Supporters …No …were any Democrats thrown off FB…No …Look at the caravans they all have cell phones …how do they get them charged…There are 3 main Production Companies Universal MGM and Paramount…Are they helping…No…
I Stand With My President Trump!

Larry D. Butler, PhD. - April 26, 2019

The title of your briefing today was: “Make your vote count”. My vote no longer matters and will not be counted, because my state is controlled in the grip of Democrats! Furthermore, our new Governor just gave away all the votes of citizens in our state to more populous states like New York and California…without the permission of the voters of the state. By “giving away” all our states “electoral votes”! He just did it! Conservatives have no vote or voice in our state, because those like myself, who live in rural areas are outvoted by the large liberal cities in the Denver areas. So, being a corrupt liberal Democrat, our new Governor, does as he pleases and the Constitution and our laws don’t matter to him and those in our Democrat controlled legislature! Conservatives have no voice and when you try to raise the issue your ignored!

TJ Larson - April 26, 2019

Getting the government involved is useless, as government can’t seem to do anything “right.” (Only “left.”) Laws and court rulings should be enforced, but the WILL NOT be, by those who disagree. Ultimately it seems like the free market – conservatives who have the resources to create competition – will be the means of setting things straight.

David Johnson - April 26, 2019

The damage caused by censorship cannot wait for the market to recognize it, and then take action.

Martin W. Howser - April 26, 2019

1. Break up the companies along logical lines particularly if they used their assets to buy up competition.

2. Go with the free market and watch out for ruiness competition. If found jail sentences and heavy fines.

The problem with the two suggestions is that the big techs Google and Facebook will turn loose the K street crowd to protect their interests.

William Lafferty - April 26, 2019

Why aren’t they labeled “racist” or guilty of “discrimination” for what they did to you? How DARE someone in this day & age complain about a woman of color on that board – how will that ever lead to a meeting of the minds? “Divided we fall.” Shame on FB for being so cowardly!

THOMAS M GISLER - April 26, 2019

It is governments responsibility to ensure that freedom of speech is not censored by tech giants or anywhere in public society.

Michael Rose - April 26, 2019

Pursue alternatives. The left is already in control of those companies and will NEVER relent.
The government will screw it up. AND the regulators will be bought by the regulated companies.
We have to BEAT them with free market alternatives, like we do in talk radio.

Molly Mariani - April 26, 2019

Big Tech companies and their censorship of anything conservative is a very troubling situation. I’m really not sure how to go about changing the attack on free thought and free speech. One observation I’ve made is “if the federal government gets involved, the problem gets worse and very expensive”. My humble opinion… keep the feds out.

Colleen - April 26, 2019

We do not need the government controlling anything else in our lives. We can step up and use new initiatives in a common sense and respectful manner.
We likely have many capable people who would love the challenge.

Pat Ellis - April 26, 2019

Facebook, Google, Twitter, Internet Providers and almost every online service have analytical companies reading, sharing and using their customer’s data!!!!!!! ALL of it – you Social Security number, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, etc…. Nothing is private anymore. I spent two months trying to opt-out from AT&T Internet Provider to discover that they had 134 analytical companies using my data and 14 of them would NOT let me opt-out and the rest of them probably lied about it. If you have a cell phone or computer attached to the Internet, you have NO PRIVACY!!!!!!

David Young - April 26, 2019

I agree with Leta in that our friends are NOT corporatists and big government but don’t think we punt on influencing the government to work right and enforce the Bill of Rights. The less we engage, the more the ugly Satan driven mob will take over and tyranny will advance. That said, I agree with Leta that Jesus is on the throne and it is His battle that we are supporting.

Jaime L. Manzano - April 26, 2019

Mass media is not licensed to lie, spy, or defame, without penalty. They should be required to cite sources, including opinions. Unsourced material should be attributed to the outlet, and be subject o being sued for damages. And consideration should be given to broadening the reach of libel laws, eliminating protected speech by politicians.

David Valcore - April 26, 2019

Despite it being against our conservative beliefs the increasing assault on our rights will only get worse without some limited governmental intervention. I would point out past benefits of anti-trust limits on the unbridled greed/ power of free enterprise. Mankind needs wise legal restrictions to counter sin nature. Even with our counter media positive effects we have a more polarized more ultra-left younger gens because we waited too long to push back.

Dave Bloomer - April 26, 2019

Let’s have Congress formally remove the special legal protections the Big Tech companies were granted at their birth. They’ve long since outgrown the need for that. Time for more open market exposure and competition.

Rebecca - April 26, 2019

This is a huge problem, and very disturbing. It is how other countries control the narrative, and it looks like we only THINK that we live in a free country! I believe that we need to have alternatives, and make the liberal guys feel it in the pocket book, but I also think regulation is called for….as much as I HATE the fact.

Patrick (Jake) Wren - April 26, 2019

Gov SHOULD stop violations of free speech rights-violations of the 1st Amendment in other words!

M L McGee - April 26, 2019

Since the other party wants to ‘help’ we, real citizens, they should shut down any censorship activities allowed by any of the non-conservatives groups. technology should be open to all.

William Grey - April 26, 2019

I am not a fan of big government regulating the private sector. That being said, we have learned that some regulation is necessary I.e. health requirements for restaurants, food quality and drugs, just to mention a few. Free speech is the First Amendment of our Constitution. It is therefore the governments job to ensure our access to free speech is not infringed. As is our 2nd Amendment right to bare arms.

Robert Burckes - April 26, 2019

As easy as it is today to suggest that government step in and create even more regulations, finding or creating other venues for conservative voices to be heard is a much better option. Many already exist and we can learn to be creative when using social media venues that attempt to silence us.

Norman Abler - April 26, 2019

We need the free market to give us alternatives..
Getting government involved in fixing it would only give us more of what we already are facing.

Martin Christopher - April 26, 2019

Censorship is an attack on freedom of speech ! No doubt about it ! I am in complete agreement with Willian Grey.

Brian - April 26, 2019

Govt. must intervene by requiring equal access to all US Citizens.

Lynnette Huston - April 26, 2019

I usually don’t like the gov’t regulating especially if Democrats are in charge. Conservative need another platform so we can go there. Then Google and others will suffer. Gov’t regulation gets out of hand by power hungry people. But Google is SO big they believe they can do what they want. I’m still not sure gov’t regulation is the answer.

William Coates - April 26, 2019

Government intervention will become favoritism due to lobbyists. It will take some time for alternatives to develop, just keep trying to outsmart the censors.

Sylvia M Mohr - April 26, 2019

I believe that Big Tech HAS to be brought up short. It’s simple…if you are incorporated or based in AMERICA, you MUST support the constitutional standard of FREEDOM OF SPEECH…or quit being based in the US. However, I would also love to see Christians and Conservatives offer us an alternative to these platforms…are their no Christian Conservatives who have the money and the know-how to create a counter Google, a counter Facebook — say God’sBook?, a counter Twitter, a counter Instagram. How about the Founding Father’s Speakbook?

Jane Adams - April 26, 2019

Since this is a pervading issue, and is now so big and ugly, it is my opinion that it will take the might of the government to corral it.

Barbara Wenders - April 26, 2019

Big Tech. co. are already too powerful. I hate it when they censor what people say just because they say, :the content is offensive to some.” I must say, a lot of things presented on Google are offensive to me, but they could care less! I hate it that they collect information about us and sell it to other merchants w/o telling us!!!! I feel they are acting illegally and unconstitutionally and should be fined billions and forced to accept all comments or continue to be fined until they stop.

Piet Van de Mark - April 26, 2019

Hey, Capitalism works! Supply and demand, right?. We believe it, and I see more Americans every day becoming aware and stepping up to act on such decisions. Let’s demonstrate our World View to Corporate America with our words and our dollars. And be sure to tell your friends politely what you believe; and remember: PC is passé!


Jamie Kim - April 26, 2019

Techs including google/apple/FB are more likely to close to left/liberal because of the nature of their business. They mainly target to young people who are less experienced and are easy to brain-washed. This is more obvious in movie and entertainment business. Conservatism should be more organized and do more business such as propaganda and advertisement focusing on young generations.

Steve Miller - April 26, 2019

Trust the market, the government always go’s too far. Every time we ask the government to help (no matter how justified our cause is) we end up loosing more of our freedoms.

Carl Malberg - April 26, 2019

Government meddling has produced the notion that we must all be Politically Correct at all times. Another way of fostering freedom of expression while killing freedom of speech. Let the market decide.

Mike Randall - April 26, 2019

Free Market, please… it may take time, but wherever there is a significant need, trust that free enterprise will respond. There is a legitimate role for government – to assure that the free market can function. Beyond that, let’s invest in and buy from companies that provide the services we want and that don’t engage in propaganda!

A.B. - April 26, 2019

Hit them where it hurts them the most, their pocket books. Seek out and where they don’t exist create fairer options. The same goes for radio and TV programs, movies, books, etc. Consumer discretion is the key to change.

Stephanie Hanchett - April 26, 2019

I agree that we do not need more government regulation surely that is one of the good things that President Trump has worked so hard to eliminate so that our country can move forward in many areas. However, I feel that getting the word out ,educating and informing Americans who may not know what the Democrats are doing and proposing is so important. Those are those that frequent Google Facebook Twitter etc. Would it not be “preaching to the choir” if these disgusting suppressions were ignored and only Conservative alternatives were developed? Difficult situation…huh? I am not impressed by governments ability to do much of anything well? . Being realistic I sincerely feel that these multi media mammoths MUST be regulated in the constitutional Freedom of Speech America has established …which most other countries around the world do not enjoy… Without that great allowance these mammoths would not have been permitted to exist!

Eleanor Allert - April 27, 2019

If government gets involved there will be a tug-of-war between conservative and liberal forces. On the other hand, if conservatives find alternatives of their own, we will communicate only with each other, but will have freedom of expression as well as freedom of speech. I think this is the course we should take at this time, though I expect that ultimately we will be censored there as well.

Marilyn - April 27, 2019


Robert Stockman - April 27, 2019

Let the free market police itself. People are not stupid and will deal with companies who are enablers rather than tirants. I am personally not happy with Google, Microsoft and similar companies who are gouging their customers because they believe there is not real competition, primarily because they are so big. I am watching for a new start-up competitor to enter the market where some of the “big” companies feel so secure. I will move in a minute.

Gordon L Converse - April 27, 2019

Let the market work!! The frigging government very seldom does anything right and business, who is going to like what and how it’s controlled, is something the damn gov should not stick their noses in. Just witness how they waste money! With the taxes they take in, if they were so astute, they would be running a surplus!

Fritz Beiermeister - April 27, 2019

This is an anti-trust issue when a single company effectively controls an industry. Rather than censor a private company, the government should break Google up as they did with ATT. Gmail could be split off as could Youtube, servers and data could be a separate business and available to any and all and the advertising/marketing business could be split off and made to compete with other such companies.

Eric Nordin - April 27, 2019

Please, no more government solutions. If big tech companies can’t abide by our founding principles then haven’t they opened the door to competitors who will honor those principles? We can’t afford to become desensitized to loss of real freedom. Patrick Henry went so far as to declare these immortal words, “Give me liberty or give me death!” So, now we must find ways to defend our Republic. Competition is an excellent tool.

Jon Kirsch - April 27, 2019

Government regulations MUST not be the fix for this. Every time government gets involved, the issue is made worse. I do NOT know enough about the internal workings of google, the internet, and artificial intelligence to suggest a fix. I suggest very careful monitoring of what is happening and at the same time create team that will study this issue, suggest an alternative that will counter the problems now being seen and implement that alternative. Is there a platform other than google that we can use, that IS not as bad??

Sharon Smith - April 27, 2019

Our problems today are complex. Quite often there is not one answer to any one problem. To truly solve a problem you must identifying those complexities and deal with each one.

Janet Scaruffi - April 27, 2019

FREE MARKET and Government enact the 1st. Amendment is all the regulation needed. by the government otherwise the regulation will be used against us. I agree the companies have gotten too big and powerful they are now controlling citizens like a 3rd. world country.

Eva Dearing - April 27, 2019

I’m not on Facebook anymore because a couple of years ago I was hacked and I felt like it was because I was a conservative that supports president TRUMP, and I was selling my hand made leather holsters on there, long story short, Amazon, Google, Facebook, ect. Now are a monopoly and we do need alternatives for conservatives to feel free to voice their opinions. But in the meantime I really wish there was a way to stop them from their discriminating against Christian’s and conservatives. Which I am both.

Douglas Ralph - April 27, 2019

I believe that online censorship is part of a larger problem. The left seems to be in general trying to use private companies to hamper us in many areas. An example of this is NY governor Cuomo trying to destroy the NRA by getting banks and insurance companies to stop doing business with the NRA. If he succeeds he will go after other organizations and so will other governors. A general public accommodations law that applied to all publicly traded companies could stop this kind of nonsense by forcing large companies to accept all business with restrictions based only on criteria that directly affected the business service involved. Such a law wouldn’t fix Facebook and Google but it could prevent worse abuses from occurring.

William Bugg - April 27, 2019

I would say “let the market work and find alternatives” for a defined period of time. Maintain government oversight and at the end of the defined period if there is not the needed improvement then government must intervene.

Tom Lawrence - April 27, 2019

Let the free market handle the free speech problem. Hopefully enough of us will boycott their platforms that the tech giants will handle the issue.

I think the Government involvement should be to determine if these giants have gotten so big and powerful that a breakup is required.

Keith Estes - April 27, 2019

We need conservative versions of every big tech communication company. We definitely don’t need the government getting involved. I can only imagine what would happen were another Obama, or God forbid, AOC, to come to power and use enhanced government authority to control speech.

Thalia Cohen - April 27, 2019

Keep up the good work. I agree with Heritage.

Sandra Aleman - April 27, 2019

The big private tech companies are pretty much like the big private media companies. We don’t have a really good solution, but I don’t think we can solve it with government. Hopefully there will arise a more even-handed competitor.

Jerry Jones - April 27, 2019

We need to work within the free market system. Government regulation often results in the same problem of censure only from the perspective of government liberals. The biggest thing that has to change is the corporate structure that allows such things to happen. CEO’s need to understand there just as many conservative customers as liberal customers. They need to STAND UP!

Gerrish Samuel - April 27, 2019

should the government intervene to prevent corporate censorship?


Ted Fotinos - April 27, 2019

Let the market work. Government intervention even when well intended always has unintended negative consequences and poor outcomes.
All markets need more diversity of ideas not just leftist dogma.

Henry Williamson - April 27, 2019

Ms. James,

Thank you for your involvement in our conservative movement, it is appreciated and much needed. To answer your questions posed in your April 27, 2019 email, I’d like to offer my opinion.
1. Should the government intervene to prevent corporate censorship?
If a corporation wishes to prevent corporate censorship, it will find a way. Government intervention would tend to exasperate the situation. In other words, we should never support government intervention in private affairs.
2. With private companies increasingly choosing the information that is allowed on their platforms, should conservatives let the market work and find alternatives?

First, Corporations choose to select information allowed on their platforms. When the other side (liberal/progressive) is aggressive in their pursuit of squashing knowledge of any conservative advancement, they usually win. Unfortunately, in the past, conservatives have sat back and allowed our view to be censored. Result: the other side wins, that’s the reason we have lost ground in our attempt to address and highlight conservative views.
3. Second, we need to be aggressive in our attempt to support truth (the hallmark of conservatism) and, not censor the other side, rather highlight the cause of their objection of seeking the truth. We need to be aggressive in our approach, at the same time we need to follow the lead of our president. What I mean by that is, be unorthodox to the point the other side will be uncertain as to how to respond. In other words, we should push our economy (let the market work”) aggressively. When we find our proposals are working as expected: continue. On the other hand, always be seeking an alternative. Finally, If and/or when the other side responds to our aggression; if we do it correctly, their their response will provide us an upper hand.

Warm regards,
Henry W

LeAnne Tillar - April 27, 2019

Another election will be here soon. Let’s be mouthpieces for encouraging people to vote and elect officials who will begin to create laws via Congress (but not Cabinet-level bureaucracies) to force obedience to our Constitution–that would be the Article that allows FREE SPEECH–not freedom of expression. What does that mean??

George Doane - April 27, 2019

Hate the idea of more government regulation, but if things do not change soon, that may be necessary. We need to explore all alternatives prior to taking this step.

Geert de Vries - April 27, 2019

Both are needed. Social media is the poison and should be curbed if not dismanteled. It is often like the sewers being opened and allowed to run down the streets. It would have to be a ‘better’ government effort than in autocratic but leftist Europe with its ineffectual fines. Since I can’t see how to achieve its complete discontinuation – the social media rot is too deep now – a conservative effort (financed by what?) would additionally be necessary to counteract the present disinformation and speech suppression to complement said government effort. That will pose the problem on how to ensure that such conservative counter effort does not go off the rails in turn. On the extreme right also lurk crazy opinions that are equally objectionable as the extreme and crazy opinions on the left which at present have unchecked free rein.

Mary Johnson - April 27, 2019

Never, ever, let govt get involved in free speech. They ruin everything they touch. Start our own sites. We have better and bigger ideas. We are wiser, and always attempt to do/say what is good and right.

Helen Hansen - April 27, 2019

Government should intervene, soon. I feel fortunate that I never got involved with social media—primarily because of the people who attempted to get me to engage. I feel blessed!

James Samuel Carlyle - April 28, 2019

All well and good, let the Government intervene in the market–just who in the Government can be trusted to be impartial and unbiased?? Apparently not the Justice Department nor the Supreme Court based on current evaluations.

Louis Costanza - April 28, 2019

Let conservatives find and promote alternative platforms and websites while at the same time calling attention to censureship of conservative viewpoints on platforms like Google and pursuing litigation if appropriate.

Gordon Yoder - April 28, 2019

As John Finch remarked in the 1880’s: “Your right to swing your arm leaves off where my right not to have my nose struck begins.” I think that remark clearly identifies the difference between the “limits on expression” versus the “rights of free speech”. I expect the courts could provide boundaries for the first, encourage the latter, and keep the government out of it!

L BOCHETI - April 28, 2019

gov’t stay out of this, let the private sector police their own house , without using our money, TO DO IT

Ed Makowski - April 29, 2019

We need to weed out the communists from our schools. This has been coordinated to educate our children toward communism since WWII.

Charlyn Miller - April 29, 2019

I’m waiting for a replacement for Google. They should be fought in the market place, not controlled by the government.

Tom Over - April 29, 2019

I think we should utilize the free market&start conservative alternatives to Facebook & Twitter so that our viewpoints can’t be censored! Why did we ever let the left monopolize the internet in the first place?

Roger - April 29, 2019

I echo Tom Cromwell-“Let the free market respond to anti-free speech behavior. Getting the government involved will only make it worse.”

Cameron Carey - April 29, 2019

If conservative consumers of governence voice their points of view many times a week, the Free Market will work.

Let’s not push more power into the hands of government where there is no immediate competition.
Cameron Carey

Anne Sherrill - April 29, 2019

We need a fair an unbiased avenue for information. The free market will take its course and we will let our wallets speak for us. Having said that, creating an alternative resource that can be trusted is not out of the realm of possibilities or desired.

A. L. - April 30, 2019

I’m not for more regulation, as much regulation lately is anti-constitutional. But in this case, the government should step in to protect the first amendment and free speech rights that are supposed to be “guaranteed” in our country. Along with that, market forces should also be in play as well.

P Todd Lippe - May 1, 2019

The government can not be the executor of honesty in journalism. Let the free market prevail. Even hate speech is an absurd concept that allows for torture of women of a particular faith. We can’t legislate morality but we can let the truth be told. Demand will insure its’ supply.

Margo - May 14, 2019

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Michael Hall - May 15, 2019

A tripartite strategy as Citizenry, who is the Government of this Blessed Land. 1)Primary recognition that it is already an immutable Law, darkness flees from Light; we must CALL on HIS NAME; The Heavenly FATHER of The LORD, MESSIAH JESUS who has established HIMSELF as the G-d of the United States of America. 2) As salt and light, assume the position of Watchman and sound the alarm to our neighbors and Leaders who have not awakened to realize the plight of our Republic and It’s inherent Freedoms. 3) Pray for and expect and encourage the Gifted developers to establish a conservative platform to replace that which has become sources of censorship.

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