There are concerns over Big Tech policing itself and putting freedom of speech at risk, but what about overregulation from the government and calls for treating social media companies like utilities? 

“We have to be very wary when it comes to proposals to empower the government to govern private spaces because while it might sound good in theory when your people are in charge, you always have to think about when the shoe is on the other foot,” said James Czerniawski, senior policy analyst, American for Prosperity. “I don’t think government regulation is your solution. It’s investing in institutions, setting up a future economy to make sure that we can have answers, but it takes time.” 

At the recent Carolina Liberty Conference in Raleigh, Czerniawski joined a panel of experts on the regulations and big tech. Stephen Kent, Director of Operations, Echelon Insights, and author of “How the Force Can Fix the World,” Kara Frederick, research fellow in technology policy, The Heritage Foundation, and Peter Kaliner, talk show host, WBT-Radio all joined the discussion, led by Brooke Medina, VP of communications for the John Locke Foundation. 

Czerniawski said it would be a mistake to treat social media companies like utilities, despite a desire for quick solutions. 

“There is this strange desire to treat this digital ecosystem similar to the normal offline world and that’s a mistake because it truly is a unique experience,” Czerniawski said. “The internet in terms of how we are experiencing it today at 26 years old is something that has benefitted conservatives quite greatly similar to when we eliminated the Fairness Doctrine under the Reagan administration and we saw the rise of Rush Limbaugh.” 

The creation and investment in the internet and investing led to the centralization and cutting away from the mainstream media and led to the rise of personalities as Dennis Prager and Ben Shapiro. If the internet was treated as utility, it could not functionally perform in the same way.  

Czerniawski warned of the unintended consequences of regulation when we are looking at social media.

“I think there are questions when you do so that you are putting pressure further down the stack of the internet ecosystem and we’ll be looking at things like AWS or ATT again and revisiting the net neutrality debates of 2012 and 2014 with Obama,” he said. 

Kent has hosted Al Jazeera’s first Libertarian themed talk show for the past year.  

“Anything that comes to the regulatory environment and taking some hard stances that challenge our pro-liberty principles, these are areas where we are going to have to defend ourselves,” said Kent