Should Big Tech Be More Regulated? Rachel Bovard Debates Neil Chilson. | Opinion

As Big Tech companies have gained more and more control over our lives, a debate—perhaps particularly vigorous within the American political Right—has spawned over the past few years: Is it now time to aggressively begin to rein in these powerful private actors? This debate reached a new crescendo last month, when President Donald Trump signed an executive order to further regulate Big Tech companies under the statutory purview of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

Is Facebook too powerful in its influence over the American electoral process? Is Google too powerful in filtering our search algorithms? Does Twitter employ a political double standard? For our latest Newsweek "Debate," we have two prolific commentators on tech-related issues to duke it all out.

Josh Hammer, Newsweek opinion editor, is also a syndicated columnist, of counsel at First Liberty Institute, a contributor to BlazeTV and a popular campus speaker.

The Time Is Now to Rein in Big Tech

When we think about Big Tech on the American Right, the question very often distills into a binary framing: How can you be a "good" conservative and believe there is a role for the rest of society, or even the government, in the Big Tech debate? Shouldn't we, as "good conservatives," just step aside and wait for the market to self-correct?

This framing, however, ignores the wide-ranging and distorting impacts Big Tech has, not just on the market economy—particularly on small business—but on speech, behavior, elections and individual privacy. These are all things conservatives care about.

American Tech Isn't Broken. Let's Not Break It.

As kids, my brother and I would take a screwdriver to every piece of old electronics we could grab. Inevitably, once reassembled, the VCR or toaster never quite worked right again. And there were always some parts left over.

Maybe we were just bad electricians. But every time I hear calls for government to "fix" American tech, I remember the danger of tearing apart working but complicated systems. As my dad repeatedly said: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Social media apps on smartphone
Social media apps on smartphone OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images