Hillary Clinton calls for a ‘global reckoning’ with disinformation as she joins Donald Trump in demanding an end to big tech’s unprecedented power
- Former first lady railed against ‘lack of accountability’ of social media giants
- Hillary Clinton says traditional media must also end ‘both sidesism’ that allowed former President Donald Trump to spread unfounded claims
- It follows Facebook’s decision to uphold ban on Trump
- Clinton’s comments illustrate how both left and right are united in demanding changes to the way big tech operates
Former first lady and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton demanded a ‘global reckoning’ with internet giants such as Facebook on Friday as she railed against the untrammeled power of social media platforms.
Although she singles out the way the far right has been able to spread disinformation online, it puts her on the same side of the debate as former President Donald Trump in calling for an end to their monopolistic power.
This week Facebook upheld its ban on Trump, reigniting the debate on whether private companies had the right to effectively silence a former president.
Hillary Clinton railed against the power of social media platforms in an interview in which she said it was time for a ‘global reckoning’ on disinformation and called for internet platforms to be held to account
Clinton said it was time to rein in the power of social media giants.
‘The technology platforms are so much more powerful than any organ of the so-called mainstream press, and I do think that there has to be not just an American reckoning but a global reckoning with the disinformation, with the monopolistic power and control, with the lack of accountability that the platforms currently enjoy,’ she told the Guardian.
In 2016, Clinton became the first woman nominated to be chosen by either major party for presidential candidate.
So governments are going to have to decide right now that the platforms have to be held to some kind of standard, and it’s tricky.’
However, it later emerged that Moscow helped fuel a social media campaign against her that included the ‘Pizzagate’ conspiracy theory that claimed she ran a sex trafficking ring.
And she criticized the traditional media for treating her missteps – such as maintaining a private email server – as equivalent to Trump’s controversial business dealings and allegations of sexual impropriety.
Clinton said Trump’s unfounded claims of election fraud and the attack on the U.S. Capitol showed the old approach of showing both sides of the story no longer worked.
‘They’ve got to rid themselves of both-sidesism,’ said Clinton.
In the interview, Clinton criticized Trump’s attacks on the traditional media but found herself on the same side as the former president in demanding social media platforms have their power trimmed
‘It is not the same to say something critical of somebody on the other side of the aisle and to instigate an attack on the Capitol and to vote against certifying the election.
‘Those are not comparable, and it goes back to the problem of the press actually coming to grips with how out of bounds and dangerous the new political philosophy on the right happens to be.’
She blamed the big social media companies for a growing amount of misleading material online.
‘In particular Facebook, which has the worst track record for enabling mistruths, misinformation, extremism, conspiracy, for goodness’ sake, even genocide in Myanmar against the Rohingya,’ she said, referring to a brutal crackdown against the Muslim ethnic minority.
‘So governments are going to have to decide right now that the platforms have to be held to some kind of standard, and it’s tricky.’
Twitter founder Jack Dorsey (left), Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg find themselves in the public firing line, attacked by politicians on both left and right who accuse their creations of wielding power without accountability
President Joe Biden and the U.S. Congress have signaled they are prepared to take a tougher line on the online giants – particularly in the wake of COVID-19 misinformation.
But her stance also puts her in line with Trump, who last year tried to water down protections for platforms.
‘We’re here today to defend free speech from one of the greatest dangers it has faced in American history,’ he said in the Oval Office as he signed an executive order intended to water down a law that prevents social media companies being sued for user content.
This week, he claimed social media companies would pay a price after Facebook upheld his ban.
‘The people of our country will not stand for it,’ he said. ‘These corrupt social media companies must pay a political price, and must never again be allowed to destroy and decimate our electoral process.’