Rep. Marsha Blackburn,
I recently saw you speak on TV about your efforts to force the huge social media conglomerates (FB, YouTube, Vimeo and so on.) to be treated as public utilities or in other ways make them responsible for obeying 1st Amendment freedoms of speech and religion established by the U.S. Constitution. They have gotten too big and completely monopolize social media, which should make them subject to governmental oversight as well as to being broken up by the government, just as the robber baron companies of the past were broken up because they monopolized and controlled entire industries. While those companies monopolized prices, today's social media companies monopolize freedom of speech and religion.
This situation is worse because these companies block and prevent the constitutional rights of the people—even selling their private information without their knowledge or consent.
It has gotten so bad that the National Religious Broadcasters has had to inaugurate what they call "Internet Freedom Watch" (internetfreedomwatch.org) to protect organizations from the censorship of our religious freedoms, which is a pillar in the founding of our nation.
As one nonprofit organization that has suffered such censorship because of our faith, we believe in and support what you are proposing to do.
Last year, Vimeo removed all 850 of our ministry videos after we had spent tens of thousands of dollars and almost 10 years establishing ourselves on their platform. They objected to the suggestion that Jesus Christ could heal the brokenness of homosexuals who wanted help. They told us to remove all of the "offending videos" but then refused to tell us which ones, out of the 850 videos, they were (except for two or three examples). In essence, we were being asked to magically divine which videos offended them. Clearly, they wanted our Christian witness off of their platform, even while continuing to allow videos of jihad, rape and pornography. They even have a video of known pedophile Allen Ginsberg.
None of our videos are unkind or judgmental or defaming or demeaning, but that's what they accused us of being. And they didn't stop there. Even after we told them about the countless contacts from people whose lives had been completely transformed (with some reversing decisions to commit suicide) because of our videos, they couldn't have cared less and took them all down.
When we pointed out that the majority of our videos didn't even address homosexuality, but helped bring awareness to and healing for sex trafficking victims, child abuse victims, people trapped in sexual addiction, emotionally broken people, those with father-wounds and more, still they took them all down. This was rank censorship, religious bigotry and the denial of freedom of speech at its most obvious.
There are hundreds of ministries like ours that have suffered censorship of one kind or another by liberal social media platforms that dominate and control discourse on the Internet. Restored Hope Network (restoredhopenetwork.org), for example, that helps rescue people who have been sexually and relationally broken, addicted, bullied and abused, has had its videos removed. Dr. Michael Brown's radio program (askdrbrown.org) has been censored and refused ad space by YouTube and others. I could go on and on.
Rest assured that many stand ready to support your work in this area, and we thank God for your bravery in tackling this anti-trust issue in the face of the vicious attacks that I'm sure you are receiving from the left.
May God give you favor in Congress and in the public square.
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