Social media platforms have hidden "evils" that make them potentially dangerous for commerce and free speech, Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., said Monday.
Appearing on Newsmax's "John Bachman Now," Buck lamented that conveniences offered by technology are deeply embedded.
"So many people see the convenience of next-day shipping, or they appreciate being able to reach out to their families and communicate with them on a very easy and regular basis," Buck said.
"What they don't see are the dangers behind these companies," he said of social-media giants Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google.
"The fact that Amazon discriminates against its sellers, or the fact that Instagram is using its platform, knowing that it creates depression, and other issues with teenage girls. All these evils are being hidden and yet we just accept the fact that we are in a new era of commerce."
Buck said monopoly laws should be applied to Big Tech.
"I'm a conservative, and I meet with other members of the Freedom Caucus, and we talk about the free market," he said. "And we talk about the fact that we believe that as a company gets too big, it will become inefficient, and other smaller companies will come in and offer a better product and beat that product."
Buck joked that at a hearing at the University of Colorado in Boulder, "I was the only Republican." But he added that he knew then that "free-market answers were the right answers" for the state.
"And when I listened to all of these innovators that presented" at the Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law Subcommittee for which he is the ranking member, "I learned about exactly how big these monopolies are and how they act and how they crush innovation."
Buck said he put those ideas in his new book, "Crushed: Big Tech's War on Free Speech."
"If we're going to stay ahead of China, we're not going to do it by having lower labor costs or lower energy costs," Buck said. "We're going to do it by out-innovating China and these companies that are crushing innovation in America.
"They are doing it in a way that will put us behind in the world economy if we don't address it right now."
In later remarks, Buck noted the rise of powerful companies in e-commerce and social media, saying the rise of Big Tech represented a different kind of economic revolution.
"The Rockefellers, Carnegies, and Mellons all figured out how they could corner the market in their particular area: railroads, oil, other important commodities or services," he said. "We had another economic revolution in the area of e-commerce and social media, and that's happened in the last 30 years as a result of the Internet."
Buck added: "Railroads can affect the price of goods and the quality of goods for consumers. When you control the information in a democracy, you control elections, and that's really fundamentally scary to me, and I think a threat to our free speech and in our system of government."
Buck said China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and North Korea control information.
"We have constitutional protections in this country which prohibit that, and we can go to the courts and challenged the government if it did try to infringe on our free speech rights or association or religion," he said. "But in this case in America, what we have is the Big Tech companies controlling information."
Buck noted a stark example of such control involved the conservative platform Parler.
"During the January 6th riots in the U.S. Capitol, we know protesters were using Parler, within a day or two later," he said. "Apple took Parler off of the App Store and then Amazon reacted by removing the Amazon Web services for Parler — basically shutting down a conservative version of Twitter because they didn't like the viewpoint."
Buck added that Facebook and Twitter were also being used in the U.S. Capitol in the planning stages as well as during the riot, but that "it's only the conservative media social media tool that is shut down."
Buck's advice is for people to take back control in the age of social media.
"People need to take action and take action individually," he said. "One of the great examples of what people can do is just to try to find alternatives — to next-day shipping, find alternatives to the search engine.
"These companies are tracking your every moment you are awake and your phone is moving around. They know where you are. They know that you've searched for a particular kind of pickup truck and they know that you're driving by a dealership, and they're going to message you to let you know that that dealership has a sale on that particular pickup truck.
"It is dangerous how much information these companies have. So turn off those settings so that they can't track you all the time, and, lastly, get involved in the political process."
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