Representative Ted Lieu (D., Calif.) said he would “love to regulate the content of speech” but is prevented from doing so by the first amendment during a Wednesday appearance on CNN.
Following Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s hearing before the Judiciary Committee, CNN host Brianna Keilar asked Lieu if he and his colleagues should have spent more time asking about the platform’s efforts to counter the dissemination of conspiracy theories and hate speech.
“It’s a very good point you make,” Lieu said. “I would love if I could have more than five minutes to question witnesses. Unfortunately, I don’t get that opportunity. However, I would love to be able to regulate the content of speech. The First Amendment prevents me from doing so, and that’s simply a function of the First Amendment, but I think over the long run, it’s better the government does not regulate the content of speech.”
During the hearing, Lieu dismissed his colleagues’ concerns about the potential implications of anti-conservative bias among Google employees — and its implications for the operation of the company’s search algorithm — by reading positive and negative stories that he said surfaced when he googled his Republican colleagues’ names. Keilar praised Lieu for the “clever” ploy during the interview.
In a Tuesday tweet sent prior to his CNN appearance, Lieu expressed a similar desire to regulate speech, but also acknowledged that government censorship is harmful in the long term.
I agree there are serious issues, but the speech issues are protected by the First Amendment. Would I like to regulate Fox News? Yes, but I can't because the First Amendment stops me. And that's ultimately a good thing in the long run.
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) December 11, 2018