5 Big Tech Firms Warned Not to Tilt Scales in Election

5 Big Tech Firms Warned Not to Tilt Scales in Election

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West Virginia’s top election official is threatening consequences for Big Tech platforms–including one owned by former President Donald Trump–if they aren’t neutral in the 2024 elections. 

West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner, a Republican, announced Thursday that he sent letters to five online companies asserting that unequal treatment of political candidates would subject them to the state’s campaign finance laws, including disclosure and regulation.

The five companies are Meta, parent company of Facebook; X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter; Google, the largest online search engine; Rumble, a video posting site; and Trump’s Truth Social.  

Facebook and Google lean left; Rumble and Truth Social lean conservative. Entrepreneur Elon Musk, who bought and renamed Twitter, has said he would move X toward the middle.

“When it comes to elections, online platforms have a responsibility to ensure equal treatment and fairness to all users,” Warner says in the letter to the five. “Online platforms must be neutral, or they should disclose their activities that have no reasonable interpretation other than [to] sway users’ perceptions about elections and candidates.” 

Election meddling by Big Tech companies was a significant factor in the 2020 presidential election, when platforms such as Facebook and Twitter suppressed the New York Post’s coverage  of the contents of Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop. The Post’s coverage included information from the laptop suggesting that then-presidential candidate Joe Biden was involved in overseas business deals with his son Hunter Biden. 

Notably, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg—who received one of the West Virginia official’s letters—contributed about $400 million for localities’ election administration in 2020. Those donations, Republicans say, ended up driving up the Democrat vote in battleground states. 

In 2022, Musk purchasedTwitter and vowed to make it more open to free speech. He later renamed it X.

Trump’s social media platform, Truth Social, started in late 2021. 

The Daily Signal reached out to all five companies Thursday about Warner’s letter. None immediately responded, but Google, Rumble, and Twitter acknowledged receiving the inquiry.

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About the Author

Tony Beasley
Tony Beasley writes for the Local News, US and the World Section of ANH.