Why Antitrust Can’t Solve Online Bias or Hate Speech

Casey Mattox and I have a new paper: [The] Breakup Speech: Can Antitrust Fix the Relationship Between Platforms and Free Speech Values? The paper is part of a terrific symposium by the Knight First Amendment Institute. We argue that if private platform power over the speech environment is a problem, antitrust is the wrong solution. Even worse, using antitrust could actually threaten free speech values. 

As Katy Glen Bass from the Knight Institute summarizes,

“[Neil and Casey] make a strong & straightforward case that antitrust is the wrong solution to complaints about content moderation practices – whether the complaint is about perceived bias, concern that too much is taken down, or too little. In fact, they argue, unleashing antitrust regulators to pursue non-competition-related goals would threaten free speech values: antitrust’s powerful tools have a history of abusive and arbitrary use, and removing key constraints on use would weaken antitrust’s ability to protect the competitive process and increase the risk that governments and others will abuse such tools to interfere with speech.” (emphasis added)

Read the full paper here: https://knightcolumbia.org/content/the-breakup-speech-can-antitrust-fix-the-relationship-between-platforms-and-free-speech-values

Below is a short video where I summarize one of the key points of the paper:

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