AT&T Calls for Legislation to Prevent Unfair Censorship on Google, Facebook

AT&T asked for an “Internet Bill of Rights” and contended that Facebook and Google should also be subjected to rules that would prevent unfair censorship on their platforms.

AT&T’s rather vague proposal is that the telco wants this law to apply to website operators in addition to Internet service providers

AT&T, one of the largest telecommunications businesses, called for Congress to establish an “Internet Bill of Rights” which would subject Facebook, Google, and other content providers to rules that would prevent unfair censorship on Internet Service Providers (ISPs) such as Comcast or AT&T as well as content providers such as Facebook and Google.

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson wroteCongressional action is needed to establish an ‘Internet Bill of Rights’ that applies to all internet companies and guarantees neutrality, transparency, openness, non-discrimination and privacy protection for all internet users.”

Stephenson posted the ad in the New York Times, Washington Post, and other national news outlets on Wednesday.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai repealed the agency’s 2015 net neutrality order which prohibited ISPs from blocking, throttling, or discriminating against content. Proponents of net neutrality argue that America needs the regulation to prevent ISPs such as Comcast or AT&T from unfairly blocking or censoring the Internet, however, the FCC and Breitbart News’s Allum Bokhari argued that under net neutrality, content providers such as Facebook and Google have censored the Internet, stifled conservative and alternative voices, and serve as a greater threat to free speech compared to ISPs.

In one speech in 2017, Pai specially called out the censorship of Rep. Marsha Blackburn’s (R-TN) pro-life ad, which was blocked by Twitter for “inflammatory speech.”

The FCC’s “Restoring Internet Freedom Order,” which repealed net neutrality, also required that ISPs disclose their practices on blocking, throttling, and content discrimination.

Congresswoman Blackburn introduced the Open Internet Preservation Act, which would enshrine the principles of a free and open Internet after the FCC repealed the net neutrality rules.

Rep. Blackburn also suggested in an exclusive interview with Breitbart News that Congress should discuss the idea of requiring content providers such as Facebook and Google to similar transparency requirements about their blocking and censorship practices.

Blackburn asked, “They can block a campaign video and they can block Chairman Pai, but they will not block sex traffickers?”

“These companies want to control what you think, what you read, prioritization – look at how Google prioritizes search,” Blackburn charged.

AT&T promises that it will be heavily involved in the legislative process.

“[W]e intend to work with Congress, other Internet companies and consumer groups in the coming months to push for an ‘Internet Bill of Rights’ that permanently protects the open Internet for all users and encourages continued investment for the next generation of Internet innovation,” Stephenson wrote.

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